WARNING! Another Author Interview and Give-away!!!

Hi Readers and Writers!  

Are you looking for inspiration? Writing tips? A review? Are you looking for almost anything BUT another author interview? Are you at this moment wondering: what a drag. Do I really need to read this to win the prize that will ultimately be offered at the bottom?

This is Charlie Joe Jackson.

And this is what he says:


I’m not going to read it.


Sarah: But Charlie Joe, if the people post a comment, they could win a copy of the book, CHARLIE JOE JACKSON’s Guide to NOT Reading by Tommy Greenwald!


CHARLIE JOE:  Please don’t ask me what I think about contests with books for prizes. Sadly, I know there is nothing I can say to stop you. It’s a fact that some people think a book makes a great prize, so that settles that.


But if I wanted that book—maybe to give to a friend—I’d just scroll down to the bottom and post a comment. Without reading another word.


Sarah: Maybe it would make it more interesting for you if you answered the questions, too.


CHARLIE JOE: Me? With him?


TOMMY: Me? With him?


Sarah: Sure. Why not? Maybe you two can keep each other honest.


CHARLIE JOE: OKAY.  But if someone doesn’t want to read this entirely too long interview, tell them that they can still scroll down, leave a comment and win?


Sarah: That’s right. They can. Don’t say that so loud. First I need to introduce Tommy. Or do you want this to get longer?


CHARLIE JOE  (silent)


Sarah: Then it’s my honor to welcome Tommy Greenwald.

Here he is:





And here are the FAQ’s:


CHARLIE JOE: (You should totally skip this.)


Tommy Greenwald is the Executive Creative Director at Spotco, a theatrical advertising agency based in New York. He is also the author of JOHN & JEN, a musical which was produced off-Broadway in 1995 and continues to be done around the country and abroad. He and his wife Cathy have three sons – Charlie, Joe and Jack – all of whom hated to read growing up. They hate it slightly less now. CHARLIE JOE JACKSON’S GUIDE TO NOT READING is his first novel. Read more than you would ever want to know about Tommy at tommygreenwald.com.


This is the cover of the book:







Sarah: Hi Tommy! Welcome to the Mixed Up Files blog. Let’s start at the beginning: What inspired you to start writing?

TOMMY: My kids, Charlie, Joe and Jack, all hated to read while they were growing up. I wanted to write a book for kids like them.

CHARLIE JOE: To help kids avoid reading. Isn’t that kind of obvious by the title?

 Sarah: Were you a reader growing up? If so, what was your favorite book?

TOMMY: I loved to read growing up. I think my favorite book growing up was probably THE CATCHER WITH THE GLASS ARM, by Matt Christopher.

CHARLIE JOE: Well, for one thing, I’m still growing up. And for another thing, my favorite book is one that’s closed.

Sarah: What is your favorite part of the writing process? Least favorite?

TOMMY: My favorite part of writing is finishing. My least favorite is starting.

CHARLIE JOE: What he said.

Sarah: What do you like to do when you are not writing? (Remember: keep it pg)

TOMMY: Play with my dogs, watch TV, hang with my wife and kids, eat chocolate.

Sarah: (Cool! I do almost all of that, too!)

CHARLIE JOE: Think about Hannah Spivero. That’s actually a full-time job.

Sarah: Charlie Joe (Charlie, don’t get a big head) is funny. He’s got a great voice. And I love how he talks directly to the reader. Were you the class clown? Can you share a particularly embarrassing moment from your childhood?

 TOMMY: I was kind of a wise guy, yeah.  i remember once i was fooling around with my friend’s umbrella and it opened right in the middle of class. And it wasn’t raining in our classroom.

CHARLIE JOE: Was, is, and always will be the class clown.

 Sarah: These tips for not reading . . . Some of them are reverse psychology, but others could go in a writer’s craft book. Can you name some that are important to you as a writer? Will you follow any of these criteria in your next book?

TOMMY: I do strongly believe in not reading books by authors whose names i can’t pronounce.

CHARLIE JOE: They’re more than just non-reading tips. They’re the keys to a happy life.

Sarah: I laughed out loud a lot, but as a writer, no more than on page 174. (I’ll quote.) Can you tell us more about this phenomena? When you first set out to write this book, did you envision this? What were some of the surprises along the way?

 TOMMY: My plan all along was to trick kids into reading an actual book book. With story, characters, the whole nine yards. I figured if i was going to do that, i had to confess i was doing it along the way.

CHARLIE JOE: I still feel bad about how the book turned out. I hope people don’t hold it against me.

 Sarah: We won’t! So let’s get to some more important stuff. Who was your favorite Beatle? Favorite song?

TOMMY: John. And too many favorites to count. Gun to my head? I”‘ve Got A Feeling.” Runner up: “Slow Down.”

CHARLIE JOE: I love Ringo because it feels like he doesn’t read that much. I don’t have a favorite, but my least favorite song is definitely “Paperback Writer.”

Sarah: What is your next book? Anything in the works?

 TOMMY: The next book in the series, CHARLIE JOE JACKSON’S GUIDE TO EXTRA CREDIT, comes out next summer.

Woohoo!!!! (That’s Sarah)

CHARLIE JOE: Don’t ask, it makes me too depressed.

Sarah: So that’s it. Readers: Whether you read every word or scrolled to the bottom faster than I can say George was my favorite Beatle, leave your name and a tip of your own for getting out of a stinky assignment. Or you could suggest books that Charlie Joe might like reading. Or recommend a movie. I like going to the movies. Obviously, so does Tommy. And I bet Charlie Joe does, too. If you like movies, you can check out the trailer here.

THANKS for coming to the Mixed Up Files blog, Tommy and Charlie Joe!!!  Teachers and parents with reluctant readers…or kids who need to read and laugh at the same time, check out



Sarah Aronson was a reluctant reader. As a kid, she had to be paid to read. Now she teaches writing (Sorry, Charlie Joe), writes books, and reads at least one entire novel a week. 


Sarah Aronson