J. A. White

J. A. White

J. A. White lives in New Jersey with his wife, three sons, and a hamster named Ophelia that doesn’t like him very much. When he’s not making up stories, he teaches a bunch of kids how to make up stories (along with math and science and other important stuff). He wishes dragons were real because it would be a much cooler way to get to work. QUESTIONS THAT I THINK PEOPLE MIGHT ASK ME IF THEY HAPPENED TO ASK ME SOME QUESTIONS Where were you born? I was born in Staten Island, New York. Technically it’s part of New York City, but the neighborhood where I grew up had trees and grass and even the occasional squirrel. Staten Island is also the birthplace of the marvelous writer Theodore Sturgeon, who continues to be one of my inspirations. (His terrifying short story “The Professor’s Teddy Bear” sounds like a sweet and cuddly Christmas special. It’s not.) Where do you live now? Now I live in New Jersey, in the house with windows and a front door. It’s on a street between some other houses. You probably know the one I’m talking about. What does the “J.A.” stand for? The ‘J’ stands for “Jerry” and the ‘A’ stands for “Alan.” If you take away the periods you have “JA,” which is “Yes” in Norwegian. Now if anyone asks you if you know what the “J.A.” stands for in my name, you can say “Ja!” Did you always want to be a writer? Pretty much. I’ve been making up stories for as long as I can remember. My first bedroom was decorated with panda wallpaper, and I actually remember naming each and every panda in the room and giving them simple little personalities. I would talk to them when I was supposed to be sleeping each night, probably asking them profound questions such as, “Why do parents make you eat yucky stuff?” and “Who gives their kid panda wallpaper anyway?” This desire to avoid the real world only increased as I grew older. In my elementary school yearbook it actually says that my goal was to be a novelist! In middle school I began writing really long stories about the kids in my class, culminating in my early masterpiece “The Attack of the Killer Cheese Whiz.” Do you have any children? My beautiful wife Yeeshing and I have three boys: Jack (11), Logan (5) and Colin (3). Colin likes to pretend he’s a flesh-eating zombie and hunt down his brothers, who gamely scream in terror. It’s important for young children to have healthy, age-appropriate hobbies. What do you do when you’re not writing books? I’m actually a full-time teacher in a nice little town in New Jersey. Right now I teach third grade, but I’ve taught fifth and sixth grades as well. When I’m not teaching or writing books, I help run a production company called Escape Goat Pictures. We make silly short films and book trailers and stuff. I sleep from 3-6AM every other Tuesday. Do you like writing or teaching better? I love them both, for completely different reasons. It’s like asking me, “What do you like better, coffee or baseball?” Actually, the answer to that is coffee. I also like oranges better than apples. I’m sorry, what point was I trying to make again? Do you have any hobbies? There are lots of things I love to do, but unfortunately I never seem to have enough time. Reading is my favorite activity, of course, but I also love movies and video games (especially scary games or time suckers like Skyrim). I am also a big Mets fan, and I think they’re going to be really good in the next few years. When’s your birthday? April 29th, 1974. So how old am I, hmm? (See, I warned you I was a teacher.) Do you have any pets? Unfortunately, I am somewhat allergic to dogs, very allergic to cats, and incredibly, mind-numbingly allergic to horses. We have a hamster named Ophelia. I wave to her. From a distance. What’s your favorite movie? Raiders of the Lost Ark, followed closely by The Empire Strikes Back and North by Northwest. If you’re old enough to watch these movies, you definitely should!
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