Interview about Goop Calder and the Haunted Cowboy Robots


Jonathan Neville wrote Goop Calder for his grandchildren, who believe it will become an international phenomenon. The rave reviews and major awards are yet to come.


Q&A with Author Jonathan Neville


Q: Let's start with the title. It's unusual.


A: Yes, but by the time you finish the book, it makes perfect sense. 


Q: And it means something far different than what you think when you first see it.


A: Exactly. (grin)


Q: How long have you been writing?


A: I wrote my first stories in second grade. They were stories about a cat that I passed around my class. In seventh grade, I wrote a serial about a character named the Pieman. My classmates would get upset if I didn't finish one a week. Then I wrote stories for my kids, and now my grandkids. 


Q: You've written lots of other things. How has that affected your fiction?


A: I've written newspaper and magazine articles, lots of legal commentaries, legal briefs, white papers, and draft legal opinions when I clerked for the New Mexico Supreme Court. Not to mention thousands of emails, like everyone else! I'd say everything you write affects everything else you write. That's why I encourage teens (and adults) to write as much as possible. It clarifies your thinking, just as Francis Bacon said.


Q: What about the setting?


A: I've lived in both New Mexico and Arizona and I love the mountains and deserts, as well as the history. I've met European tourists who can't believe how wide open some of those areas are, as well as in Utah and Nevada. There's really no place in the world like the Western U.S. I've been to Argentina, where they also have cowboys they call gauchos, but they're not like our cowboys.


Q: And they're not haunted, either.


A: They might be. We'll have to send Goop down there to find out.


Q: Okay, the name Goop. Where did that come from?


A: I had a childhood friend whose mother coined the name Goop because he made such a mess all the time. Everyone called him Goop. I have a short story about Goop Calder that explains how he got his name. Maybe I'll put it on Amazon sometime. A free Kindle book or something.


Q: That's twice you've alluded to more books. What can we expect?


A: I have two more Goop Calder books in various stages of completion. By the end of the third book, we answer all the questions raised in the first book. It's tough to explain why the world is the way it is, and why humans are the way we are, in only three books. But with the help of Goop, Rosie and Pablo, we'll get it done.