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Gregory Kemp Interview

First-time YA author Gregory Kemp tells Kidzworld how his adventurous, heartwarming novel, The Legends of Vinny Whiskers, came to be.


Bookmonster: Your book is based around a bunch of different animal species, specifically black-tailed prairie dogs and rats. What inspired you to write about these characters?

Gregory Kemp: I guess it started at the zoo. I’ve always found the prairie dogs to be one of the most entertaining zoo animals. They are active. They are social. Also, I felt the prairie dog deserved some attention. The prairie dog has been an unrealized hero in animal stories.

So why rats? I wanted an enemy that people would be quick to despise. Rats fit the bill. It seems cliché to make the rats the bad guys, because there is such a negative stereotype about rats. My goal is to challenge the stereotype. Is the villain the rat, or people’s disdain for rats? Is it possible to change our opinions about things we hate?

Bookmonster: How do you know so much about these wild creatures? Did you ever work at a zoo?

Gregory Kemp: I never worked at a zoo, nor do I have a degree in wildlife management, veterinary science, or zoology. I do have a PhD in BSology, which is far more important when writing fantasy. That’s the truth of it. I didn’t do much research. I read a few animal books and I visited the National Zoo in Washington, DC. Then I started to write. I’m probably in dangerous territory because while most of the information about the various animals is factual, I made up a lot of stuff also.

Bookmonster: Do you have a favorite children’s/young adult author? If so, how have they inspired you in your writing?

Gregory Kemp: Piers Anthony. His writing is crisp, funny, and imaginative. That’s what I’m trying to do.

Page 2 of our Interview with Gregory Kemp


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  • The Legend of Vinny Whiskers Book Review
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    Random In The Forums

    urifour11
    urifour11 posted in Debating:
    @rainbowpoptart Well, I'd have to disagree with you there my friend. Naturally the audience that buys Barbie dolls are young girls. At a young age and with multimedia today girls are highly influenced by what they see on the TV, Magazine, and you guessed it their toys. Seeing is believing and with the unreachable beauty standards you see in magazines, it's kinda hard for girls to not want to pursue to be skinner and the likes. But anyway, your right with the Barbie being independent woman that don't need a man. But I think this new line is showing that all types of girls can be independent. This new line is expanding its skin colors, giving different hip sizes and different heights and different types of hair styles. It's no longer the blond haired and blue eyed type of deal. I think this is representing that there are many different kinds of people and different kinds of shape a sizes. With the television showing perfect fictional girl characters, or models on magazines, and other places, I think that it's good that they're showing different body types. 
    reply 39 minutes
    rainbowpoptart
    @urifour11  I don't disagree with that. Well, not entirely. I disagree with your Barbie comments. Pink is Barbie's everything, and making something not pink for the female Barbie dolls would be a bit.. not Barbie.  I don't like their changing of the body shapes all too much. Barbie is supposed to be an exceptionally good-looking woman who shows girls that they don't need a man to be happy with their lives (though some people may think otherwise because of Ken's existence) and that they can do literally whatever they want to. It sounds really harsh, but I think it's the individual's fault for thinking they need to look a certain way to be accepted.  Although I strongly disagree with the newer dolls, I do completely respect why they're doing it. I'm sure they're working on the Lego sets. They already have dolls, so Legos should be here any day now, haha. And @Pink_Cool_Girl I want to look into the computer thing you were talking about to continue that discussion, but I'm super busy right now (I'm multi-tasking like crazy ugh). It'll have to wait until tomorrow. :P
    reply about 4 hours
    jayissocool
    jayissocool posted in New Users:
    Hey guys (and girls I guess too). My name is Jay I'm 13 and I live in PA. I like videogames especially minecraft and pokemon. I'm mostly on here cus I'm bored but it would cool to make a few new friends online. I actually already talked with one guy on here for a bit who seemed cool. If you want to just hang out and chat let me know. I have to go to bed right now but I'll read it tomorrow morning. Night all  :thumbsup
    reply about 4 hours
    Pink_Cool_Girl
    Exactly!
    reply about 4 hours
    urifour11
    urifour11 posted in Debating:
    @rainbowpoptart  You make a very good point. But what I think PCG is trying to say is that maybe someone should consider that some girls don't like pink? Like, I loved playing with doll houses as a kid AND toy cars. But what if someone made a black Barbie house. Like hell yeah I would buy that. Or maybe a pink you car. Wouldn't that be cool? Maybe what I'm trying to get at here is that companies could mix and match their toys together. Use different colors for different items. That would help expand their market much more.  What I'm really impressed though is what Barbie is doing at the moment with making different body types for their dolls. That's awesome right? Anyway, if a girl wants to get a toy car then she can just waltz her way to the boys section and get one. Sure it's kinda disregarding that maybe a girl would like a toy car but man, that's not stopping her from buying that sweet toy car. But what we should really be focusing on is how LEGOS did the sexist thing. WHY ISNT THERE A BATGIRL LEGO SET OR A WONDERWOMAN LEGO SET?!? THATS WHAT IM WAITING FOR AND IM 13 YEARS OLD BUT I WOULD MOST DEFINATLEY BUY ANYTHING REGUARDING WONDERWOMAN. A little off topic. Companies would make more money mixing and matching their toys. Blue toy cars for girls Barbies, a cooking grill for boys. And then there are things that are for both genders like science sets or Doctor kits. In fact I think girls play more with Doctor kits than boys tbh. What one saying is, companies could expand more. 
    reply about 4 hours