Interview with Children’s Author Paul Hewlett

My guest today is Lionel Snodgrass – oh sorry – Paul Hewlett, his creator, but from what I’ve seen of Lionel he seems to be quite a memorable character. It’s great to have you here, Paul. You sound like my sort of person – a lover of animals, reading, sports and the outdoors.

So we know you write children’s books. Can you expand a little?

I have written beginning chapter books for ages 6-10, and am working on a bit more of a true middle grade book right now.

Are you a plotter or pantser? (You plan before you write or you write by the seat of your pants and the story is all there in your head.)

I’m a little bit of both, but predominantly a pantser. I tend to do a rough outline of the book and then get going. I have begun to incorporate chapter outlines as I go, but I mainly document the main points/events I want to get across in the chapter. I much prefer to just write and let it take me where it goes as opposed to preplanning the entire chapter or story.

What do you think today’s young readers want and how does it differ from readers of the past?

That’s a great question, and tough to answer. It would seem obvious based on what is popular, but I don’t really believe that. I think certain genres are popular because great books have spurred interest in them. I think that readers really want great stories with characters they can connect with and relate to. I don’t think that has changed over time. If you see a popular genre or style, it’s because a really great book created that buzz.

Paul, what book do you want to feature in this post?

Lionel and the Golden Rule. Meet Lionel as he arrives in Larrystown and discovers the magical Three-Toed-Potbellied Walbaun foot. Follow him as he finds out what it is, uses it for the first time, and learns a valuable lesson. This humorous story about a loveable boy is perfect for young readers and even those “reluctant readers.” Lionel and the Golden Rule is the first book in the Lionel’s Grand Adventure series.

Sounds like you have an incredible imagination. Children’s books usually need pictures. Was it tough to find an illustrator?

Finding illustrators is tough. It’s really tough as a self-published author because rates are all over the board. I have found that no one seems to want to give a rate because they don’t want to run off potential clients. That makes it very tough, because they would like you to open with a rate. I totally understand that, there is no point in wasting an illustrator’s time if you only have a small amount to spend, so I get that. In my situation, it’s tough because I’m a fairly new author and am not sure what rates should be. I’m a bit afraid of offending the illustrator, so it’s been difficult. I have used a pretty close friend so that has made things a bit easier.

Oh yes. We love our talented friends. The illustrations in your Youtube trailer (link below) are great.  If one character from your book was able to talk to you, tell us what he would say to you.

I’d choose Lionel Snodgrass, the 12 year old main character of my books. After introducing himself, he would most certainly ask me fist, what is your favorite baseball team, and then is Carrie ever going to know I’m alive?

Did you self-publish or query and hope a publisher would accept your work?

I self-published. I did query my work to publishers early on, but did not have any success. I feel I’ve learned a lot since then, and am planning on querying again once my middle grade book is completed.

I think it’s tougher to be accepted by a conventional publisher for children’s books. How did self-publishing work out for you?

It has been a lot of fun, but a lot of work too. I’m not going to lie; my goal is still to be traditionally published. I would love to see what that is like compared to self publishing.

Now for the burning question. Why should we buy your books?

My books are geared to children ages 6-10. Parents and children should buy/read my book because it may just get your children to read. The benefits of children reading are countless and it has become tougher and tougher to get them to read. They are bombarded with so many different technological advances it seems sometimes reading takes a back seat. I combine fantasy, magic, humor, and a main character everyone can relate to, to create stories that children (even reluctant ones) and parents alike may enjoy.


Paul R. Hewlett is the author of the Lionel’s Grand Adventure series. Lionel’s Christmas Adventure: Lionel Learns the True Meaning of Christmas is the third book in the series. His debut book Lionel’s Grand Adventure: Lionel and the Golden Rule was released in December of 2011, followed by Lionel Turns the Other Cheekin March of 2012. In addition to writing the Lionel’s Grand Adventure books, Paul co-authors a middle grade/young adult blog called Sher A. Hart: Written Art.
Paul is married and lives in Illinois with his wife and “senior” dog JoJo whom they adopted from the local rescue facility. Paul is a huge advocate of pet adoption and animal shelters. Paul loves spending time at his local library and is a big supporter of libraries. He enjoys travelling, spending time outdoors, Indiana Hoosiers basketball, and Chicago White Sox baseball.

Where can we find out more about you and your work?


28 thoughts on “Interview with Children’s Author Paul Hewlett

  1. Paul, I thoroughly enjoyed your interview, especially about the trials of getting an illustrator. Great questions, Trish. Much success to you Paul!
    Cynthia B Ainsworthe author

  2. Another excellent interview. The mention of the importance of humor in children's books hooked me. My great nephew will be getting some Lionel books when he is older.

  3. You sold me, Paul. Just as soon as my new niece and nephew are old enough. Sounds like a great series. And then to find we share all of the same interests, especially where the dogs are concerned (see my website and pinterest pages)–I even hail from Elkhart, Indiana (go Hoosiers!)…but, Paul…Chicago White Sox? (Real tears, here.) My dad was a Red Sox (catcher). So close!

  4. Hi Trish and Paul! This was an enjoyable interview and I feel I know you a little better now, Paul. I have a bright little great grandson that will enjoy your books when he gets older–the other grandchildren are past your age group. I also know a good illustrator, who also write children's books, if you ever need one in the future. And she's reasonable in price. Good luck with all your endeavors with this wonderful character.


  5. Getting an illustrator could be difficult, Paul, and I'm glad you were able to find one who did such a great job for your Lionel series. I understand that desire to get a traditional publisher. Hope one comes along soon. Good luck with everything!

  6. Another great interview Trish. I, too, have a little grandson who I know will like this book. Conratulations Paul, and I wish you the very best with your book. Mary Firmin, Deadly PLeasures

  7. Enjoyed the interview and the chance to get to know a fellow children's author. I know what he means about an illustrator because I would have been published much earlier if I had found a good one. Thank goodness, the publisher provided one, but it was very expensive. Humor is very important to keeping attention of the little ones. I use that in my book as well. Good luck, Paul. You have a wonderful series.

  8. Hi Anne,
    Ha, well at least we both are Hoosiers fans. My Dad went there and raised me as a fan. I'm originally from Valpo so it is a small world. Thanks so much for the kind words.


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