Later this year, the fourth Night Buddies Adventure will be released! Night Buddies and the Evil School Bus takes young readers and their imaginations on another wild Night Buddies quest. This time, John, Crosley, and their Night Buddies cohorts must defeat a gang of iguanas intent on disrupting the pineapple cheesecake factory and causing general mayhem in the Borough.

As we prepare to launch The Evil School Bus, we thought we’d jump in the way back machine and get reacquainted with Night Buddies creator Sands Heatherington. We revisit an interview with Sands done before Night Buddies and the Pineapple Cheesecake Scare was released in August 2017.

Sands credits his son John for being his principal motivator. Sands raised his son as a single parent from the time John was six. He read to him every night during those formative years: all of the classic children’s stories from Aesop through the Grimms, Lewis Carroll, Frank Baum, Tolkien, and Dahl, with a lot of Dickens and Hugo thrown in. When school was out, they got in the car and toured Alaska, Canada, and most of the contiguous states. Together, John and Sands crafted Crosley, Crenwinkle, and the rest of the night buddies crew.

Dogs have always been a part of the author’s life, beginning with Whiskers, a cocker spaniel. When his wonderful boxer Hube died, he despaired of finding a boxer who could match him and instead got a Saint Bernard. He ended up breeding Saints for several years. Sands says dogs can do you a power of good, and if you lose one, go out and get another the next day, and you will be surprised at how fast your grief goes away.

The author was born in New York City but was transplanted a year later to Greensboro, North Carolina, where his maternal grandmother lived. He never really left the area and has a lot of the South in him. His grandmother was a prominent educator and became a great friend and mentor.

Sands majored in history at the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill) and has an M.F.A. in creative writing and an M.A. in English from UNC-Greensboro. He likes visiting ancient Mediterranean sites in Turkey and Italy, and Greece.

Watch Q and A with Sands.