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Pen Avey

“Kids love to laugh,” says Avey. “As a parent and a grandparent, I know how it feels when you’re reading a book to a kid and you both think it’s funny. It’s such a magical moment when you have a good giggle together. That’s what I want to replicate with my writing. There’s enough serious stuff out there today. I only want to write funny stuff.” Avey lives in Norfolk, United Kingdom. While this is her first published book, she’s always been a writer. She’s written poetry and short stories for years and even spent some time working as a screenwriter. “It’s difficult to get things produced for television in the U.K.,” Avey says. “I was writing sketches and sitcoms but it was a struggle. I thought that writing children’s books might be a bit easier and more fun than writing for a children’s television series, and I was right. Now I think I’ve found my niche.”

FEATURE

get a lot of humor from the similarities of children’s lives between the two planets,” says Avey. For example, a popular video game on Earth is Mortal Combat, but Dethbert is fond of a video game called Mortal Wombat. Dethbert’s best friend, a robot named Andi Social, features prominently in his letters, as does his pet chickensnail, Precious, who was created by his father. “His dad’s an inventor,” says Avey. “He set out to make a chicken that would have her own hen house with her at all times, so he crossed a chicken with a snail.” Avey says she hopes Dethbert’s unusual pet will serve as another springboard for readers to exercise their minds. “I want my readers to think about what other unusual animal combinations they can come up with,” says Avey. “I want them to use their imaginations. I think that’s what a good children’s book does—it gets kids thinking and keeps them thinking even after they’ve put it down.”

When Avey started writing Dear Earthling: Cosmic Correspondent, she came up with the idea of a story about a boy writing to a pen pal first, and then the idea that the pen pal would be from space. “I thought long and hard about where the coolest place to have a pen pal would be,” she says. “I remember my children always wanted to have pen pals from different countries. Eventually I realized that having a pen pal from another planet would be the absolute best place possible.” In the book, Dethbert has joined Crank’s Space Cadets program. “It’s similar to the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts programs we have here on Earth,” Avey explains. “Dethbert needs to have a pen pal from another planet in order to earn his Cosmic Correspondent badge.” In Dear Earthling: Cosmic Correspondent, readers are privy to the letters Dethbert writes to his pen pal. “There are no letters from the earthling to Dethbert,” Avey says. “I did that intentionally because I want the reader to imagine that they are Dethbert’s pen pal on Earth. I hope readers will think about how they would respond to Dethbert’s letters and what questions they might have for him about his life on Crank, and what they would want him to know about life on Earth. What would they write to Dethbert?” Children will recognize many aspects of Dethbert’s life, despite the fact that he’s an alien. “I thought I could

photo by Adi Thompson

StoryMonsters.com | June 2019 | Story Monsters Ink

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Profile for Story Monsters Ink

Story Monsters Ink® - June 2019  

This month's issue includes interviews with NBA legend Kobe Bryant, SNL alum Vanessa Bayer, Mickey Rapkin, Zack Bush, Symonne Harrison, Timo...

Story Monsters Ink® - June 2019  

This month's issue includes interviews with NBA legend Kobe Bryant, SNL alum Vanessa Bayer, Mickey Rapkin, Zack Bush, Symonne Harrison, Timo...