As you’re probably well aware by now, we just released our brand new personalized book featuring daddy and his little boy or girl. It was written by none other than Ryan Quinn, your humble narrator’s boss who just so happens to work here at Hooray Heroes. Ryan and his wife, Nastja, are the proud parents of two young boys, one that’s almost 4 and the other that’s a year old. Some of the funniest moments in the office are him telling stories about what happens at home with him and his family. So, after clearing a few things out of our way so we could have a heart-heart chat, I got to interview the author himself and discover the intimate details that went into the making of Aaron, You’ll Always Be My Little Boy.
- Was there a specific moment you came up with the idea/premise behind this book?
Developing the premise was the result of hours, if not days, of conversation with Katja C., the editor-in-chief and creative developer of the book. At least 3 or 4 times, we came to a point where we said, “OK, that’s it, we totally have the idea,” only to undo everything a day or two later. Katja kept throwing around the ideas of moments that become memories and sunrise moments, or the little revelations we have as parents where we see that our kids are growing up. Mic, the creative director, was adamant about setting the book primarily in the future and using the stream of consciousness narrative mode. That’s basically what amounted to the book we have now.
- What was the writing process like for you?
Like a volatile relationship. The times when I/we thought we had the right idea were almost euphoric, and then everything would all come crashing down days later when we scrapped everything and started over. Even once we had it, some poems went through 4 or 5 rewrites. In the end, it was a tremendously rewarding experience.
- Are any of these specific moments autobiographical?
I have a bad poker face, so a huge chunk of the book is inspired by my own experience as a father. The most autobiographical is probably the “Cool in the Pool” poem, which was written immediately after a 5-day getaway with my family. I was mentally and physically exhausted, as I always am after uninterrupted time with my two young kids, and the beginning of the Pool poem is all about how vacationing with kids is actually the furthest thing from relaxing.
- Which story proved the most difficult to write?
The Christmas poem. So much has already been done with Christmas, so it was tricky attempting to put an original spin on it. The version in the book is the third version written on one Friday morning and the fifth or sixth overall.
- How much input did you have while working with the illustrator?
Virtually none. Luckily, we have an awesome illustration team, including our in-house creative team, assistant illustrators, and concept artist. A few of the illustrations really informed the content, especially the “Steal the Whole Show” poem. My biggest input (only input really) was to ask them to draw strawberries and cherries on the snowman in “Make Winter Magical.”
- Could you walk us through the timeline of how this book came together?
Katja and I began talking about the early concept of the book in November. I was confirmed as the author in December and we really got to work in January. The final poem was finished at the beginning of March. In between were a lot of conversations, drafts, readings and revisions. There was also one in-house focus group to help us orient ourselves.
- Did you have fun writing this book?
Overall, yes, owed entirely to incredible co-workers.
- What’s next? Are there any other upcoming projects you’ve got in the works?
Coming next is a brutally honest book aimed at new parents I’m writing together with my wife. It’ll be unlike anything Hooray Studios has ever made before.