Interview by Shipwreckers Authors Scott Peterson and Josh Pruett

SCOTT: Hmmm? The two dozen books in print? The fifteen years writing animation? The two Emmy nominations? The constant laughter of everyone who points at me as I walk by? Wait. Strike that last one. 

JOSHUA: How old were you when you discovered you could make people laugh? Make jokes? Has it worked at all yet? Have you made anyone laugh lately?

SCOTT: I was funny as early as second or third grade, but I was the only one who thought so. I guess I was ahead of my time. It wasn’t until junior high that people actually started laughing at my jokes instead of staring at me with confused looks on their faces. 

JOSHUA: You have a background in visual effects, how did that inspire or impact your transition to writing as a career? Is it true you have credits on both the remake of THE BLOB and THE MIGHTY MORPHIN POWER RANGERS MOVIE (from the nineties)?

SCOTT: My visual effects career was instrumental in that I hated it! Every day I dreaded going in to work. It was that intense loathing that inspired me to quit my well-paying industry job to sit at home and write until I could start making money at it.

JOSHUA: How many naps do you take in a given day?

SCOTT: Always one. Sometimes two. Don’t judge me. A rested brain is a creative brain.

JOSHUA: Do you enjoy your own work as much as I do? I really like my own ideas. Is it difficult to collaborate with me? Or am I the gift to the world my Mom always says I am (Hi Mom!)?

SCOTT: I honestly believe we make a great writing team. We each have different skills and ideas that we bring to a project. I have the reputation, writing chops, and creative abilities and you have a boyish enthusiasm that drags me kicking and screaming from my pit of solitude!

JOSHUA: Your wife Cindy (who is wonderful) comes from a Mexican family and your kids are half Mexican and half whatever it is you are (old white guy). Was that an influence on how you approached Mike and Dani?

SCOTT: I would like to think that I am open-minded and inclusive when I write, but I think it’s very common for a writer to write about what he or she knows. In my case, I’m a white male, so a lot of my characters start as white males unless I make a conscious decision to push outside that narrow box. My wife and her family help keep the importance of inclusiveness and casual representation at the forefront of my mind.

JOSHUA: What is your personal writing process like? Give us an idea of an average day:

SCOTT: Oh, this is embarrassing because I hardly ever get to write any more. I’m working more than full time as the producer of a new animated show on Netflix called “The Last Kids on Earth” so even when I do have a little free time, I rarely jump onto a writing project. When I was writing, it was about stealing an hour during the day, grabbing an hour at night, and putting in a good chunk of time on the weekends. I like to write a really rough first draft with no expectations – that helps eliminate the inevitable fear of it not being perfect – and then go back and do LOTS of rewrites. 

JOSHUA: You’ve worked with me in TV and books for almost ten years now? Why in the world would anyone do that?

SCOTT: Masochism (noun) gratification gained from pain, deprivation, degradation, etc., inflicted or imposed on oneself, either as a result of one’s own actions or the actions of others.

JOSHUA: If you weren’t a writer, what else would you be doing? Do you have any other skills or is telling bad jokes in print and on TV pretty much it?

SCOTT: The three H’s: Halloween, Horror, and Haunts. Since I was young, spooky things have been a big part of my life and as an adult, I built home haunts and professional haunts to raise money for charity. Even though it’s still in entertainment, physically making a haunted environment uses a different part of my brain and is a lot of fun. So I guess I’d be doing that full time.

JOSHUA: Back when you were a kid, when dinosaurs were still around, what kinds of books and movies and TV shows were you into? What inspired you to be a writer?

SCOTT: I’ve known since I was in third grade that I wanted to be a writer. I loved books and I was good at writing (for a third grader). It didn’t occur to me until later that people actually MADE movies and TV shows (I guess I thought they just appeared out of the ether) so I took a bit of a diversion into making movie magic, but writing was always key. My favorite books in elementary school were Phantom Tollbooth, the Great Brain, Encyclopedia Brown, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. (This was pre-Harry Potter days.)  And tons of comic books of course. Then in junior high I discovered that books could be funny, ACTUALLY funny, with Hitchhiker’s Guide. A revelation!

JOSHUA: How do you approach writing funny dialogue and jokes?

SCOTT: Quietly, from up wind.

JOSHUA: What is your favorite kind of apocalypse?

SCOTT: A funpocalypse.

JOSHUA: If your brain were a flavor of ice cream, what flavor would it be?

SCOTT: Melted rocky road.

JOSHUA: Why do you own so many small dogs?

SCOTT: I don’t own any dogs. My FAMILY owns three small, yappy terriers that are the bane of my existence. 

JOSHUA: What is the best part of being a writer?

SCOTT: The huge truckloads of money? Nope; they haven’t shown up yet. The fame and instant popularity? Not happening. The bathtubs full of lime gelatin? Haven’t seen any.  To be honest, the best part is creating something out of nothing. To have an idea and to will it into being, knowing that it started as a blank piece of paper and now it’s a book or a story or a character that exists in the world.  That’s cool. 

JOSHUA: What are some of your favorite comedic movies?

SCOTT: For kids: Muppet Movie, Lego Movie, Ghostbusters, Sky High, Shrek, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, And, of course, The Land Before Time 38 (it took them 37 tries, but they finally hit their stride).

For adults: Anchorman. Dodgeball. Tremors. Army of Darkness. Philadelphia Story. Bottle Rocket. The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra (you have to check it out!)  

JOSHUA: What makes you laugh?

SCOTT: Your hair. 

To keep an eye on Scott and Josh and their upcoming projects, check out their websites below. Shipwreckers: The Curse of the Cursed Temple of Curses – or – We Nearly Died. A Lot published by Disney-Hyperion is available now on Amazon.

Scott’s website: https://www.flagrantproductions.net/

Josh’s website: www.joshuapruett.com 

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