There are some writers out there who not only draw readers in with creative plots but with creative use of words. For adults, that might include Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next series or Terry Pratchett's Discworld books. And generations of kids have grown to love word-play thanks to books like Norton Juster's 1961 classic The Phantom Tollbooth.
More recently, though, middle-grade and young-adult readers have been captivated by the books of a writer whose name itself evokes a love of word-play. The delightfully-named Pseudonymous Bosch, whose latest book is The Unbelievable Oliver and the Four Jokers, may or may not be related to Raphael Simon — whom Lake Effect's Mitch Teich met at Boswell Book Company recently.
Teich and Bosch (aka Simon) discussed what the author's alter ego and secretive series mean to him.
"It [the pseudonym] allowed me to kind of think of myself as a character. It was much more freeing and less self-conscious than it might've been for me embarking on writing a novel as Raphael Simon. I felt I could be silly, I could even be more serious than I might be, or more pretentious and I wasn't self-conscious about it. It turned out to be the right thing for me at the time," he says.
While he, perhaps ironically, found himself through his journey as an author, he hopes his writing helps young readers find themselves as well.
"Over time, I've realized just how important it is for kids to see characters like themselves or a world they can imagine themselves in. Otherwise, it can be an alienating experience. So much of reading for young kids is about learning who they are. One of the things I think about when I write for kids is it's about self-discovery," he says.
Pseudonymous Bosch's latest book was released earlier this May.