Interview with Jonathan Brandstater

What are your five favorite books, and why?
My favorite books include the Hitchhiker's Trilogy by the late Douglas Adams. I enjoyed the books because of their humor.
The same goes for The Worst Band in the Universe, by Graeme Base.
Blueberries for Sal remains a favorite since childhood. The story is simple and at the same time very endearing. I also enjoyed looking at the illustrations.
Then there is Make way for Ducklings. The location of the book is significant to me: Boston. Boston is where many of my relatives live or used to live.
Last but not least is Dr. Seuss's The Cat in the Hat, even though many other books by the same author vie for that place. I enjoyed looking at the illustrations and reading the text. The story seems to have an important message about responsibility and I find that signficant.
What do you read for pleasure?
I read children's books for pleasure. I think and feel there is much to be learned from them.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I have an iPad but have a Kindle available as well. iPads have larger screens--a plus in my humble opinion.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Word of mouth remains the most effective marketing technique.
Describe your desk
My desk has a computer, printer and telephone on the surface. I also have a drawing device with stylus so I can draw my own illustrations.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Stamford, Connecticut. It seems i did very well with writing courses at the University of Connecticut, where I earned a Bachelor's degree in Psychology.
When did you first start writing?
I know I first started really writing for myself around the age of fourteen. Then I read a book written as a journal by a young girl of about the same age. I was inspired to write my own journals. There were precursors, if that is the appropriate word. When I was in fourth grade, a substitute teacher urged us students to write a story using five words. I think I was proud of the story I wrote at the time but if I reread it now, I know plenty of revisions would be necessary!
What's the story behind your latest book?
I wrote the latest book for the fun of it, as a sort of challenge. Some time ago, I read a book by another author. He advised the reader, "Write about what you love." This is different from the advice, "Write about what you know." It so happens I love to draw my own cartoons so decided to include them in my latest book. Three such cartoons have long histories. I first thought them up as a twelve year old in sixth grade. Since then , I have created a variety of other characters. Many of them are depicted in Jonathan's Cartoon Critters, my first book on this site.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
It took online courses to motivate me to become an indie author. For many years, I was discouraged about the idea of being a writer because many of my efforts had been rejected by familiar (to me) mainstream offline book and magazine publishers. Also, the idea of spending money, energy and effort on Vanity publishers did not appeal to me. Attending "MOOCs" opened my eyes to alternatives, such as self-publishing.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
The process of writing, editing and publishing ebooks is a lot smoother and easier than on other sites. Also, I have the option of offering books for free. In addition, I have the option of just writing ebooks, without necessarily going through the hassle of a printed version. It is a matter of economics. Print copies can be expensive, especially when ordered in bulk.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The greatest joy of writing for me is knowing what I have written has a positive impact on other people's lives. Seeing people's faces light up when they read my books is priceless. Then again, so is seeing and hearing them laugh at my humor.
Published 2014-10-22.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Lizards On the Loose: A Collection of Dinosaur Cartoons
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 140. Language: American English. Published: July 27, 2017. Categories: Nonfiction » Entertainment » Humor and satire
Lizards On the Loose: A Collection of Dinosaur Cartoons, includes a series of twenty-seven illustrations showing cartoon dinosaurs engaged in a variety of activities such as diving, playing football and dancing. Each illustration is accompanied by a humorous caption. This book may be appropriate for primary school aged children, especially boys, between seven and ten years old.
Where's SQ?
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 40. Language: American English. Published: April 24, 2017. Categories: Nonfiction » Children's Books » Humor / Comic Strips & Cartoons, Nonfiction » Comics (nonfictional)
Where's SQ s a variation of the Where's Waldo (TM) series. The book includes a series of illustrations, each showing the title character, a cartoon grey squirrel. In each picture, SQ is lost in a crowd of other characters. Each picture is a sort of puzzle or game. The object is to find SQ.
Jonathan's Funny Funky Fish: A Spot the Differences Book
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 60. Language: American English. Published: April 5, 2017. Categories: Nonfiction » Children's Books » Activity Books, Nonfiction » Children's Books » Humor / Comic Strips & Cartoons
Jonathan's Funny Funky Fish: A spot the differences book, is 32 pages long. It consists of fourteen pairs of illustrations, plus additional illustrations for solutions. This book is interactive by nature and encourages the reader to find the differences between each pair of illustrations. Children between the ages of seven and eleven may appreciate the humor in this book, especially the puns.
Clay Mice
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 10. Language: American English. Published: January 5, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Graphic novels & comics » Comics, Fiction » Humor & comedy » Satire
Clay mice is a humorous picture book showing clay mice in various situations. The book is created in the style of a comic book, complete with thought and speech bubbles, as well as narration boxes. Word play such as puns, alliteration and rhyme is prevalent throughout the book. The characters are made from a variety of materials, including polymer clay, kiln firing clay and modeling material.
Jonathan's Cartoon Characters: Book 2
Price: Free! Words: 480. Language: American English. Published: November 12, 2014. Categories: Nonfiction » Comics (nonfictional), Nonfiction » Comics (nonfictional)
This book includes a brief introduction and a series of humorous illustrations and captions.
Jonathan's Cartoon Characters
Price: Free! Words: 440. Language: American English. Published: October 22, 2014. Categories: Nonfiction » Children's Books » Humor / Jokes & Riddles, Nonfiction » Children's Books » Humor / Comic Strips & Cartoons
Jonathan’s Cartoon Characters is a collection of humorous illustrations drawn by the author. The book is suitable for adults, as well as for children between the ages of seven and twelve.