Your Non-Standard, 11-Question Interview (Including the Dreaded Speed Round) with Eric Luper PLUS Win His Latest Book

I've almost met Eric Luper several times. And I'm sure if I did, he would have made me laugh. Or maybe not. Maybe he saves all his funny for his writing -- I should have asked him. But I didn't. Instead, you can read Eric's answers to other questions I posed soon after the release of his laugh-inducing middle grade Jeremy Bender vs. The Cupcake Cadets. (See my review here)

First, in exactly 37 words (just picked that number out of a hat), tell us something about your latest book, Jeremy Bender vs. the Cupcake Cadets.

First of all, I am skeptical of this purported hat, but here goes…

One of the things I love about Jeremy Bender vs. the Cupcake Cadets is how it tackles gender equality in a humorous way. It’s a lot harder to be a girl than these boys had ever thought!

Okay ... so you got me on the hat. Sort of. There was an imaginary hat and the first number I though of was 37. Honest. Anyway ...
This is your first foray into middle grade authordom, so while your head is in that place where many of life’s humiliations live, I have to ask. What’s the most embarrassing thing that happened to you in middle school?

Hurm, middle grade was filled with humiliations, but I suppose the two that stick out are repeatedly getting shoved into the girls’ room by a few bigger kids as I would walk to class. You can learn about another humiliating thing I had to suffer by reading the first chapter of Jeremy Bender vs. the Cupcake Cadets! (hint: it includes grass)

In the book, Jeremy’s best friend Slater goes to great lengths to support Jeremy ... even dresses up like a girl. Tell us about a time when a friend went far to support you ... or you went that far to support a friend.

I can’t say I ever dressed up as a girl to support a friend, nor has a friend done that for me. However, there was one time in eighth grade when my friend stuck a rude bumper sticker to the window of a teacher’s classroom door. He was on his last warning before suspension and she all but knew that he had committed the act. In an effort to save my friend (who later turned out to not be such a good friend), I took the bullet and ‘confessed’ to putting the sticker up. It was sad because I had liked that teacher up until then, but I was convinced her opinion of me had changed and so things were never the same between us after that.

Well, raspberries to your so-called friend who undoubtedly wouldn’t have dressed as a girl to help you. But while we’re talking about dressing up, what was the strangest costume you ever wore on Halloween ... and the strangest thing you wore when it wasn’t?

One year, I was Mr. Potato Head and the Velcro-backed eyes, nose and mouth were moveable. A good time was had by all. Another year, I dressed all in black and was The Abyss (I was being lazy).

As for dressing up strangely when it wasn’t Halloween, I did have these black boots with an ankle chain when I was in college, but hey, it was the eighties… and Bon Jovi was huge in New Jersey!

(Buy ones like them here.)

Everyone joined one group or another when they were in school. Tell us about any group (organized or disorganized) you should not have joined.

Latin club, for sure. The entire Latin program in my high school consisted of 9 students. Several of them decided not to join Latin club and, of course, not everyone could make meetings so it ended up being three or four of us who sat around playing with words. As a group, we went to the State Latin Conference/Competition. When we got there, we discovered most everyone else was wearing togas and sandals. Clearly, we had not gotten the memo. That was way out of my comfort zone, anyway. I got killed in the Mythology Test but placed first in the state in Vocabulary and Derivatives, exactly the opposite of what I expected!

Jeremy and Slater soon realize the easy way to reach their goal isn’t so easy. What’s the longest shortcut you’ve ever taken?

Ha, well I suppose I’m still on the longest shortcut I’ve ever taken. It would have been quicker for me to get a job and work for 30 years to retire rather than becoming a novelist. But heck, who would want to retire from being a children’s author? After all, it’s so much fun!

I second that! Now for the speed round ...
Cake or ice cream?
Ice cream!
Camping or boating?
Boating, but not if it’s sailing. That is something I just do not understand.
Baking or bakery?
There’s nothing like perusing the yummy-looking cases. Bakery.
Organized sports or video games?
Sports, for sure. But I like solo sports like golf and skiing and breath-holding. I’m good at that last one.
Some Like It Hot or Tootsie?
I’m going to have to go off the board here and say To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar.

Forgot about that one. I didn’t forget, though about giving away two (2) copies of Jeremy Bender vs. The Cupcake Cadets. Here’s how you can ...


1. Comment below ... OR
2. Go read the review of Jeremy Bender vs. The Cupcake Cadets and leave a comment here ... OR
3. Like or comment at the appropriate place on my Facebook page ... OR
4. Shoot me a Tweet (I'm @jodyfeldman).

And to make things more complicated, you’ll receive ...
1 entry for a simple, “Hey there, put my name in the hat.”
2 entries if you relate an embarrassing middle school story
3 entries if you can tell that story (at any of the sites) in Tweet fashion – 140 characters or less

Winners will be chosen by 7/20/2011. Any anonymous entries will count, but if I can’t easily find you, your prize will be donated to a worthy library or school.


  1. Thanks for stopping by, Eric! And I can't believe you had a Mr. Potato Head Halloween costume. I dreamed up that exact costume when I was a kid but couldn't convince my mother to make it for me. So sad!

  2. Lisa, I will let you borrow mine. I also have a wicked awesome viking costume, although I think my kids destroyed the helmet and battle-axe.

  3. My most embarrassing middle school moment happened at my first dance... While I was standing in a circle with a gaggle (or is that giggle) of girlfriends, the hottest guy in my class came strutting over to us. Silence fell as he broke into the circle, looked around, and walked over to me. Then he dipped me back and gave me one of the best kisses of my life.

    I found out later he only did it on a dare! Ugh, I was mortified.

  4. Thanks for the interview and stopping by, Eric! I am so with you on the camping thing :)Look forward to checking out your book!

  5. Just found this blog through a tweet from Lisa Graff. Enter me in the drawing please!

  6. Enter me in the drawing please!
    When I was in 7th grade, we were all running to lunch and someone pushed me into a HUGE mud puddle. My momentum caused me to slide like I was trying to reach homeplate in baseball!! I was covered from head to toe in mud!

    Jane Jergensen

  7. Drum roll, please ... as the random number generator chooses from dozens of entries to this contest. AND ... Congratulations to Alice L. Cyphers and Lisa Graff who both won copies of JEREMY BENDER vs. THE CUPCAKE CADETS!


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