JoeyPinkney.com Exclusive Interview
5 Minutes, 5 Questions With…
Henry, Josh & Harrison Herz, authors of Nimpentoad
(Birch Tree Publishing)
Nimpentoad is the tale of a courageous and resourceful little Nibling. Tired of being picked on by the larger creatures, Nimpentoad leads his tribe through the perilous Grunwald Forest to a giant’s castle, overcoming obstacles and encountering strange creatures along the way.
Kids enjoy the adventure and stunning illustrations. Parents appreciate a story that discourages bullying and emphasizes teamwork, creativity, perseverance and leadership.
Joey Pinkney: Where did you get the inspiration to write Nimpentoad?
Henry, Josh & Harrison Herz: My love of the fantasy genre began in elementary school with Where the Wild Things Are and The Lord of the Rings, and continued by playing Dungeons & Dragons and Warhammer. Struck by inspiration one day, I began a fun project with my two bright young sons, who share my joy of entering the magical realms of fantasy. Together, we wrote this tale.
JP: What sets Nimpentoad apart from other books in the same genre?
HLH: While the story appeals to 6-9 year olds, it is written with humor that can also be appreciated by adults. There are underlying themes of teamwork, perseverance and teamwork. They are subtly woven into the story rather than preached. Nimpentoad also has absolutely stunning artwork. The illustrations are so detailed that the reader wants to climb into the picture and go exploring.
JP: As an author, what are the keys to your success that led to Nimpentoad getting out to the public?
HLH: First, Nimpentoad is a very engaging story, with fantastic artwork. We have 31 five-star Amazon ratings so far. Further, the fact that two elementary school boys helped write and promote the book creates a compelling human interest story.
My sons (dare I say it) are charismatic and precocious and have conducted numerous public readings and signings of our book, including at San Diego elementary schools, libraries, YMCAs, farmer’s markets and book stores like Barnes & Noble and Warwick’s. We are, of course, also leveraging the web via Twitter, Facebook, and our website to further get the word out about Nimpentoad.
JP: As an author, what is your writing process? How long did it take you to start and finish Nimpentoad?
HLH: The writing process for Nimpentoad was rather unusual. After I drafted the first version, I shared it with my sons. To my surprise, they gave me feedback on the story. They devised some of the character (Nimpentoad) and creature (Neebel) names and made plot line suggestions.
And who better to help make the story appealing to kids than other kids? So, my goal of interesting my sons in fantasy transformed into also encouraging them to write. The book took about five years to produce, although most of that was spent finding the right artist and producing those amazing images.
JP: What’s next for Henry, Josh & Harrison Herz?
HLH: We are focusing on promoting Nimpentoad, although we would love to write sequels. We want to expand awareness of the book beyond San Diego County. We are interested in finding a literary agent who can help us take Nimpentoad to the next level.
Reviews of Nimpentoad by Other Authors:
“It truly is gratifying to see you working with your sons on such a fine creative effort. The artwork is lovely.”
– David Brin, author of the Uplift Trilogy (Brightness Reef, Infinity’s Shore & Heaven’s Reach)
“This is the kind of book I’d have loved as a kid. Just stunning illustrations.”
– Saladin Ahmed, author of Throne of the Crescent Moon
“It’s way too rare that there are books that both my 6-year-old and I can be charmed by and want to read over and over! Luckily, Nimpentoad is one of those books!”
– Chris Ryall, Chief Creative Officer of IDW Publishing
“We were immediately intrigued by the cover and loved that it was written by two boys. The story unfolds as Nimpentoad’s quest to improve the lives of his tribe leads them into dangerous encounters with many exotic forest creatures. Through courage, trust, and creativity, Nimpentoad saves the day and sets a good example for readers. This is the perfect book for kids who enjoy Fantasy and who are just a little too young to read The Lord of the Rings trilogy. I look forward to reading Nimpentoad’s next adventure.”
– Sheri Fink, author of The Little Rose & The Little Gnome
“Nimpentoad is a work of love…for fantasy. And its clear from the first paragraph (the authors) take the inspiration from the best in the genre…to wonderful effect. Geared towards the 6-10 year old set, Nipentoad is an appropriate work to introduce younger readers to fantasy tropes…and the lessons therein. The illustrations encapsulate the quirkiness of the piece…and I can’t wait for more from this team. Simply put: a winner! ”
– Sohaib Awan, host of FictionalFrontiers.com
“What made Harry Potter so popular was the fact the author didn’t talk down to kids. This book takes that same approach. I read it to my five and seven year-olds and they hung on every word–even if they didn’t know the meaning of every word. They were enthralled, entertained, and excited about the main character and asked a lot of questions (a good sign) about the various creatures and the world the author created for this tome.”
– Lee Silber, author of Organizing from the Right Side of the Brain, Rock to Riches, Bored Games & more
“Nimpentoad is a delightful tale that will have fantasy fans everywhere high-fiving. The pacing is pitch-perfect, and the strong emphasis on community and leadership never comes across as didactic. The protagonist Nimpentoad represents everything we want ourselves and our leaders to be: smart, resourceful, innovative and kind. I highly recommend this book to teachers and parents as a read-aloud for kids in kindergarten through fifth grade.”
– Léna Roy, author of Edges
“Nimpentoad is a remarkable little book. It’s a fine example of creative writing with an appealing story. I found the style of writing particularly interesting. The writers’ comments accompanying the story, often in parenthesis, invite the reader to participate in the “telling and receiving” to the extent that the reader is increasingly engaged in the tale and with the characters. This was so refreshing that reading it was a truly delightful experience.”
– Berty Segal, author of Teaching English Through Action