I’m delighted to welcome author/actor Paul Carafotes back to Thoughts today. Paul joins us to talk about his newest children’s book, CHARLIE BUBBLES 2: SMARTSVILLE.
This second adventure takes Charlie in his bubble to Smartsville, where music is the key to this story of transformation and opening up our hearts. Charlie meets some new friends and is helped by a few of his old pals too! Readers are introduced to a new character called, Tai the Butterfly. This new character was inspired by ice skating champion Tai Babalonia
The Bubble of Love continues to soar!!!!
Wondering what it’s like writing children’s books, Paul has graciously answered some questions for me.
Mason – Welcome Paul. What lead me to write CHARLIE BUBBLES 2: SMARTSVILLE?
My son Charlie is the main inspiration, really. It all started with reading to him when he was a baby and then blowing bubbles and his reaction to them. In fact, when we were nearly finished with CHARLIE BUBBLES 2: SMARTSVILLE, he asked if there is going to be a 3rd book and I said, "yes, but you’re going to write it."
And now he is helping me with the 3rd book which is almost finished. It's about Charlie is going to Fenway Park. But he has to learn to skate first. I am covering two sports in the next book, along with bulling, which has become such an issue in schools.
Mason - How did you come to collaborate with illustrator Jeff Vernon on this book?
My collaboration with Jeff started way back. He is a talented artist and is an entertaining, funny guy. I do have a vision of what the characters are doing. I usually massage the pictures to incorporate what is important to the text. Jeff is something to watch. The way he puts so much care into these pictures. Amazing really!
Mason - What is the most difficult aspect of writing a children's book?
The most difficult aspect was trying to make a coherent and entertaining story that was simply and interesting that would hold Charlie's attention. I knew if he liked it I was on the right track. Or as we say now, it was bubble- lisious!
Mason - From idea to publication, how long did the process take and looking back would you do anything differently?
Looking back on it all the first book THE ADVENTURES OF CHARLIE BUBBLES! That whole process took me 5 years from idea to a hard copy in my hands. It was one of the magic moments in my life. What I would have done differently? I wished I would have done it in 2!
Mason - What do you hope readers take away from this book?
What I hope readers take away from this book is the absolute joy Charlie has in life and his attitude to go for it, no matter what. To blow your bubble as big as you can and let go. Be fearless!
Mason - What can readers look forward to next from you (writing and otherwise)?
What can the readers look for from me in the future? To make excellent entertaining stories that parents and children will remember forever. I am still doing some acting. I am just finishing up a movie so they can look for me on TV and in the movies. I love that we have got music to go along with the books. That music is a big part of spreading the joy through the bubble of love.
Paul, thanks for visiting with us and sharing this look at writing children’s books. Inspiring children to read at a young age is priceless.
For autographed copies of either book, readers can visit the Charlie Bubbles website at www.charliebubblesbook.com. Both tittles are also available at amazon.com and any book store or library around the country.
Now let me tell you a bit of background on Paul, as some will be thinking ‘he looks familiar.’
The Somerville native broke into professional acting in 1980 with a critically acclaimed starring role in the 20th Century Fox film Headin’ for Broadway, and has worked steadily in the industry ever since. Other notable roles include Vinnie Salvucci in All the Right Moves, alongside Tom Cruise. His leading role in 1981’s Choices paired him with then newcomer Demi Moore. He has also worked alongside Brad Pitt and James Gandolfdini and many more.
Paul has appeared in many classic television programs throughout the ensuing years, including Diff’rent Strokes, The Greatest American Hero, Trapper John, M.D., Murder, She Wrote, St. Elsewhere, Knight Rider, Hotel, NYPD Blue, Fantasy Island, The District, Without a Trace, CSI, ER, Castle, and many others. His stand out role of Harold Dyer on Knots Landing was particularly well regarded by fans and critics, while more recently he appeared regularly in the popular series Damages.
Additionally, Carafotes has appeared in the theatrical features The Clan of the Cave Bear, Journey to the Center of the Earth, Italian Movie, Fight Club, and Scriptfellas. The short film Club Soda, written and directed by Carafotes, which was the winner of several awards.
His current passion is THE ADVENTURES OF CHARLIE BUBBLES! And the brand new CHARLIE BUBBLES 2: SMARTSVILLE!, as well as making sure that kids and their parents get a chance to check out his latest labor of love.
The inspiration for the book came from real life about five years ago. Carafotes says, “When my son was a baby the first things he reacted to were bubbles. His eyes would light up and he’d grab at the bubbles.” This motivated Carafotes to develop the story and his imagination took over from there.
The books praise has been high. Father and award winning actor, the late, James Gandolfini has said, “Charlie Bubbles is soon to be a classic. I’ve read it several times and keep re-reading it. That’s a sign that something is good and will last.”
Another fellow actor, Joe Mantegna, says, “Like all beloved children’s books, Charlie Bubbles teaches an important lesson in a way a child will understand, and it is beautifully illustrated to boot.”
Screen writer and NYU professor Dan Therriault regards "Charlie Bubbles 2 Smartsville!" as an "Epic adventure for children and parents alike"
For more on Paul, his writing and acting, check out the following links: Meet Charlie Bubbles, CharlieBubblesBook@Amazon, IMDB: Paul Carafotes and Carafotes.com.
Here are a trailer from OMG INSIDER featuring a spot on the late James Gandolfini and his relationship to Paul, his son and the book.
Thanks so much for stopping by today. Have you ever made up stories to tell your children or grandchildren?