About the Book:
Iggy the Iguana is the first book in the Iggy Chapter Book Series for ages 7 to 11. The story focuses on the major themes of acceptance, friendship, and diversity while Iggy starts a brand new school. The transition from a private "all-lizard" school to a public "all-animal" school is eye opening, as Iggy soon accepts that just because other animals are different doesn't mean they can't be your friends. By the end of Iggy's 4th grade year, he realizes that changing schools was the best move he could have ever made!
In the cyber-studio tonight we have the author of "Iggy the Iguana", Melissa Williams.
Q: Welcome, Melissa. Please tell us about the target audience for your book. What made you decide to write for them?
The Iggy the Iguana Chapter Book Series is perfect for boys and girls in elementary school. The specific target audience being 3rd to 4th grade, but I have 1st through 5th graders enjoying the book as well! Parents and teachers really appreciate the lessons and values presented in each book. The purpose of the stories are to find situations that kids will relate to while learning something on their own through the dialog and experiences of the unique and lovable characters.
I decided to make Iggy a fourth grader in the first book after spending a few years substitute teaching for different age levels. I witnessed the many changes fourth graders go through and the learning opportunities that are presented at this age. It was the perfect grade for me to present a multitude of relatable scenarios to the target audience. During the writing of Iggy the Iguana I was also finishing my Masters Degree in Professional Counseling and Psychology, so I wanted to use that knowledge to lay down a positive foundation in the stories. My goal was to make a story that would make kids laugh, experience empathy, and understand the importance of acceptance at a young age.
Q: An iguana as the main character is a cool idea. Does the plot depend on Iggy being an iguana, or would the story work if you did a global search-replace and made Iggy a rabbit or a snake?
Well, I don’t think I would have been able to use as many reptile jokes or details if Iggy wasn’t an iguana. I grew up with reptiles as pets, iguanas, lizards, turtles, horned toads, and water dragons … so needless to say, I have A LOT of reptile experience. I actually started writing this story about Iggy when I was eight years old, after picking out my first iguana at the pet store, Iggy! What a guy!
Q: And if you could be an animal, you would choose to be....?
An Iguana of course! They are sooooo cute!
Q: Of course! Now could we please have some buy links for the book?
Iggy the Iguana: http://bit.ly/7kd9wj
Summer League (Sequel): http://bit.ly/7BBoNw
Q: So noted. What are you writing at the moment?
Turtle Town! This is the spin off series to Iggy the Iguana. Iggy’s best friend, Snap Shell, the “Wanna-be Surfer Box Shell Turtle” is getting his own book! I plan to spend a little more time on location in Cardiff Beach, California to finish writing.
Q: Who are you when you're not a writer?
That question gets harder and harder every time it is asked. The type of career I have chosen is not just a job, but it is my passion, so ultimately it becomes me. When I completely turn it off, which is usually on vacation away from Texas, I am pretty laid back. (Many people probably don’t believe that.) When I’m away from working, it’s the simple things that I enjoy. I love to experience new things, the outdoors, hiking, biking, running. I love going away to the lake for a weekend or the mountains to ski. It’s times like these I feel like its okay to not look at my blackberry every .5 seconds … I get to re-center and balance out my positive icons. When I feel out of whack, I drive down to the beach.
Thank you, Melissa. And thank you for the wonderful contest offer (coming up next):
Win the Iggy the Iguana Give Away! Including the Newly Released Items in Iggy Collection, Snap Shell the Turtle (Plush Doll), Iggy Collector's Baseball Cards, and The Read3Zero T-Shirt ... supporting the fight against illiteracy 30 minutes at a time. Be our most active visitor during the tour for a chance to win this Iggy Collection -- the tour schedule is posted at http://virtualblogtour.blogspot.com/2010/01/iggy-iguana-and-melissa-m-williams-tour.html to make it easy for you to visit and comment. To learn more about Iggy and Melissa Williams – visit www.iggytheiguana.com.