In GEEKS, GIRLS, AND SECRET IDENTITIES, the MG debut by Mike Jung that we’re celebrating this week, Captain Stupendous is rather important. But Mike refused to fully credit the real Captain Stupendous and I am here to right that dreadful, dreadful wrong…
See, the real secret is that Arthur A. Levine is Captain Stupendous.
I’ll wait for the clamor to die down…it’s a little like Tony Stark announcing ‘I am Iron Man.’ No?
Yes, I am here to tell you, to announce to the world that Arthur A. Levine is Captain Stupendous and I can prove it to you!
How, you ask?
Come on, you know you want to ask: “How? Please tell us how…”
Well, since you asked nicely:
Without Arthur A. Levine, of Arthur A. Levine Books, there would be no GEEKS, GIRLS, AND SECRET IDENTITIES. And without GEEKS, GIRLS, AND SECRET IDENTITIES there would be no Captain Stupendous.
See…I told you, Arthur A. Levine is Captain Stupendous…
And the Good Captain agreed to answer some questions about this wonderful book by Mike Jung!
PAS: Can you share with us a little of the first time you read GEEKS, GIRLS,
AND SECRET IDENTITIES? What happened next?
AAL: Well, I was primed and ready to enjoy that manuscript long before it got
here. As I wrote to his agent, while making the offer: “Having read and
enjoyed Mike’s posts on Facebook, and having experienced him as a
student I have great confidence both in Mike’s ability to capture his
fabulous sense of humor on paper, and in our “fit” as editor-author. His
first draft of the manuscript only confirmed for me that he also has a
great imagination, a fine sense of who his characters are, and the
ability to write realistic dialogue. It made me so happy!”
PAS: Mike has had all the normal ‘debut author anxieties’ about this book,
can you tell us a little bit about the first book you were Editor for?
AAL: The first book I edited was chiseled on a boulder in the northwestern
segment of the Pangaean Megacontinent, in the mid Paleozoic era. No
seriously, what even WAS the first book I edited?? I remember fondly
helping Tomie dePaola gather the poems for TOMIE DEPAOLA’S BOOK OF
POEMS, spending weeks in the Donnell Children’s Room at the NY Public
Library. I remember sending telexes (no that’s not a typo) to England
about Peter Cross’s new DUDLEY THE DORMOUSE books. I remember being
very excited to work on a collaboration between Tony Johnston and Ed
Young called WHALE SONG. There’s still a large undifferentiated sense of
excitement in these memories; I was so happy to be in there working on
PAS: Do Editors have those same anxieties when the books they buy get
AAL: YES. Yes we do. We’ve seen these books grow from embryonic
ideas, through hopeful beginnings, through sometimes traumatic or
exasperating, but often surprising and wondrous growth phases, into the
beautiful, full-fledged entities that they are, ready to go out into the
world. We want the world to know those books as WE’VE known them. We
want them to find love. (And we want it to be TRUE love, the kind of
worshipful, but mature and stable and steady love they deserve.) We want
them to find success. We want them to be appreciated.
PAS: Are you Team Stupendous or Team Mayhem?
AAL: I am team Vincent, all the way.
But would I rather be carried off by a hunky superhero or a giant robot?
PAS: Finally, Mike himself suggested some questions that I’m sure he figured
I’d never actually have the courage to ask (which, of course, means that
I absolutely must ask…silly Mike):
PAS: At any point did you consider baking a cake to thank Mike for being so
AAL: Only the fact that I am a Type 1 Diabetic makes me think this thought
only 27 times a day (and not every minute.)
PAS: It’s not a bad idea for me to loan him $5,000, is it?
AAL: It is an excellent idea. Excellent.
PAS: Why is Mike so awesome?
AAL: That is not the question. You should be asking
is there any way that Mike is NOT awesome? No, seriously? There are
many, many wonderful things to say about Mike. But what I love most is
how he is able to express the great warmth at the center of his
personality, and express it not only in fiction, but in the way he
communicates every day. I also think it’s inspirational how he has been
able to stop and appreciate every moment worthy of celebration in this
whole process. What say we give him lots more to celebrate, eh?
So, let the celebration begin! Special thanks to
Captain Stupendous Arthur A. Levine for his wonderful answers and for taking the time to play along!