First off, I have some exciting news! At the most recent American Library Association Conference, all three of my Night Buddies books were proudly on display! You can see them there at the bottom of the shelf. Just want to say a MAJOR thank you to ALA for that amazing moment and photo opp!
I was recently looking through my Goodreads page (for any of you who want to give me a follow, follow this link) and noticed that there are so many questions people have for authors like myself. So I thought it would be a great idea to start answering some reader questions here on my blog! Once a month I’m going to be answering your questions, so feel free to start sending them my way via Twitter, Facebook, or Goodreads and I’ll make sure to answer every single one of them!
To start this new series off, I picked one of the most commonly asked author question: “Where did you get the inspiration to write your books?”
The truth is, inspiration—for every author—comes in a multitude of ways. But for me, the biggest reason I had for writing the Night Buddies series was my son, John.
As many of you know, I was a single father, and John and I had to find ways to entertain each other during our time together. What started out as reading stories before bedtime quickly escalated into creating our own stories, with our own beloved character…the red crocodile Crosley. After John had grown up, I wanted to find a way to keep our memories and Crosley alive, and share the stories we invented together with other young children who might enjoy them just as much as we did. And so, the Night Buddies: Adventures After Lights Out series was born.
Some other inspirations include the fact that I am a lifelong lover of books and reading, so the opportunity to write stories and help other people fall in love with books was a huge part of my decision to become an author. Stories by Roald Dahl were another inspiration; his imaginative worlds and the way he wrote for children have always inspired me as a children’s author.
And that just about covers it! Let me know via social media or in the comments below what questions you want answered next!
It’s the day I’ve been looking forward to for awhile now. Yesterday, my third children’s book, Night Buddies Go Sky, was officially released!
In all the excitement leading up to this day, I thought I would share with you all exactly how the Night Buddies series came about. And if I’m being truthful, I have to give credit to my son John. We used to read together every night, but one night when it was late and he wanted the stories to continue I advised him to start making up his own adventures, and that’s how Crosley the red crocodile was born! We came up with Crosley stories all the time until he became a member of our family.
Once John was already grown, I realized that between Crosley and my son John, I had the makings of a book in my hands . . . and that began the long journey to where I am today. I had written short stories in college, and have been a long-time book addict, but deciding to write a children’s book was the biggest writing project I had ever taken on. It became clear to me early on, however, that there were only two, very basic things I needed to make the Crosley book a reality—always use more imagination than I first thought to use, and write the thing every day until it’s done. The combination of these two things has gotten me through three books so far!
In Night Buddies Go Sky High, our two Night Buddies John and Crosley fly over to the Pineapple Cheesecake Factory to top off Crosley’s supply. Once there, they find Big Foot Mae staring at a mysterious new dot in the sky . . . and it turns out Brother Crenwinkle has seen it too! They decide to investigate the thing, so they modify their racing blimp for extreme altitude and take off into the stratosphere. What they find will absolutely warp your mind!
In honor of the book’s release, I’m giving away five free books on Goodreads. All you have to do to enter the drawing is click on the link below and click “Enter to Win!” The giveaway will be open through April 16, so be sure to tell your friends to enter too!
Finally, I just want to say a thank you to all my readers. Your support has been instrumental in continuing to bring Crosley to life book after book, and we both hope you’ll enjoy this new adventure!
The big moment is here. We are finally announcing the Night Buddies Go Sky High official release date! Drum roll please . . .
The third installment of the Night Buddies series is going to be available for you all to read on March 16!
We over here at the Night Buddies Headquarters could not be more excited to share this next adventure with you, and we can’t wait for you to find out all that John and Crosley have been up to! To get you excited about this next book, we’re sharing with you some of the early reviews it has received so far.
“Lively and wildly imaginative. A wacky adventure. Crosley, the likable crocodile and his buddy John go on a zany nighttime romp through the stratosphere.” Randi Mrvos, Editor of Kid’s Imagination Train
“The Stratosphere’s the limit in this third Night Buddies adventure, as John Degraffenreidt and Crosley the red crocodile must go up up up to check out a mysterious roving dot in the sky that just might have it in for them. Their racing blimp may defy the laws of physics but it obeys the prime rule of storytelling: unstoppable action equals lots of fun. Sands Hetherington again combines expressive language, whimsical inventions, abundant delicious (and disgusting) food, loyal pals and wicked foes, in Night Buddies Go Sky High.” Lynne Barrett, author of Magpies and co-editor of Birth: A Literary Companion
“Overall, Night Buddies Go Sky High is a cute book for kids with fun illustrations!” Billy B., blogger for Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer
“Where Night Buddies Go Sky High excels is in the pacing of the story–lots of lingering time to laugh, but equal momentum time to make the adventure exciting for children. Hetherington is so adept at writing for children that his books become instant classics–and that means that after lights out, parents will tiptoe in and grab some of this confection for themselves! Highly recommended.” Grady Harp, Reviewer for Literary Aficionado and Amazon Hall of Fame Reviewer
“This science fiction book will probably help young readers’ minds drift away for awhile into a fantasy of what can happen in a blimp in the sky […] My review = 5 out of 5 stars.” Jill H., blogger for Book Review Travels
So remember, on March 16, be sure to pick up a copy of Night Buddies Go Sky High! You will be able to find it as a print book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and at all fine bookstores near you. It will also be conveniently available as an ebook on Amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, iBookstore, and elsewhere!
1. Find a partner to adventure with. If you asked either John or Crosley to go on a Program alone, they’d call you nuts. It’s important to have someone to go on your adventures with, not to mention loads more fun! Team up with your brother or sister, your best friend, or you can even create someone in your imagination to adventure with. As long as you have someone to share your experience with, your adventure will be all the more worthwhile.
2. Build your adventure craft. The Night Buddies wouldn’t get very far on their Programs without their Far-Out Flying Machine, and likewise, you’ll need to find something to go on your adventures in! Look around your house for an old cardboard box, some tape, scissors (with your mom or dad’s approval) and markers, glitter, or stickers to decorate it with. Make your adventure craft look however you want it to look . . . just make sure it’s uniquely yours!
3. Decide on a goal. Each Night Buddies Program has a specific goal in mind, and it usually has to do with stopping the evil Iguana Gang. Decide what you want to accomplish on your adventure—whether it’s stopping evil, discovering something new to you, or solving a problem that has been bothering you—and then go after it. Every good adventure has an end goal in mind, but make sure you remember to have fun along the way!
4. Always, always use your imagination. It is possible for you to do anything, go anywhere, and meet anyone, as long as you are open to using your imagination. If you allow yourself to see your living room turn into outer-space, your adventure craft flying in the sky, and yourself as the hero bringing all evil to justice, you can go on an adventure every day. Whenever you read about all that John and Crosley do on their Programs, remember that you can be with them every step of the way, as long as you are using your imagination just right.
For those of you who have been following this blog regularly, you know that we over here at the Night Buddies Headquarters are gearing up for the release of Night Buddies Go Sky High, the third book in the Night Buddies series! If you haven’t seen the cover yet, here it is again.
Well, we have some pretty big news to share with you. Grady Harp, the prominent Amazon Hall of Fame reviewer, posted an amazing review for Night Buddies Go Sky High! For those of you unfamiliar with Harp, he is a 66-year-old gallerist, retired surgeon, and poet who has reviewed over 3,500 books, CDs, and movies for Amazon, as well as a reviewer for Literary Aficionado. In turn, he has attained a kind of celebrity, a number 7 ranking, a prominent profile on Amazon, and a pretty hefty following.
Some snippets of the review include:
“Hetherington’s manner of dialogue writing is unique and at all times a delight.”
“Where Night Buddies Go Sky High excels is in the pacing of the story – lots of lingering time to laugh, but equal momentum time to make the adventure exciting for children.”
“Hetherington is so adept at writing for children that his books become instant classics – and that means that after lights out, parents will tiptoe in and grab some of this confection for themselves! Highly recommended.”
We couldn’t be happier with the review, and we hope you all go out and give it a read! Thanks so much for continuing on the Night Buddies journey—we will continue releasing more information about the release in the coming weeks!
We over here at the Night Buddies Amalgamated have some exciting news for you!
The third Night Buddies book, Night Buddies Go Sky High, is going to be released early next year! We will provide you with an exact release date soon, but for now we are officially revealing the cover.
As you can see, John and Crosley are going to be in for some out-of-this-world adventures! Each Program the Night Buddies go on only gets bigger and more exciting.
In this new book, when young John Degraffenreidt and his red crocodile buddy, Crosley, show up at the Pineapple Cheesecake Factory and find Big Foot Mae lying on the floor, staring up at her Great Star Puzzle on the ceiling, they expect something’s afoot. Not surprisingly, Crosley is craving a new supply of pineapple cheesecakes, but what Mae points to on her ceiling will start the Night Buddies on a totally new fantasy adventure.
This is one book you’re not going to want to miss out on!
Before the book is launched, I’d like to get your thoughts about the book cover in the comments below. For example, what does the cover say to you? Does it grab you?
If this is the first time that you’re hearing about the Night Buddies series, be sure to check out the first two titles, available on Amazon and B&N.com.
Stay tuned to this blog for more exciting news to come!!
Whatchamacallit: A small object having a special power and suitable for hanging on Crosley’s belt.
If you’ve read the Night Buddies series, you would already know this definition. Crosley’s whatchamacallits are some of the most important things he and John need to be able to make it through their Programs. And if you’ve ever wished you had a belt full of whatchamacallits yourself, we’ve got a list here of some ways that you can go about making them at home!
I-ain’t-here doodad: The very first whatchamacallit that Crosley ever uses in the series, this is probably one of the most important whatchamacallits there is. To make your own, buy a small, round magnifying glass. Don’t forget to hold it up in front of you when you need to disappear!
I-D gimcrack: This whatchamacallit not only identifies Crosley as a member of Night Buddies Amalgamated, but works just the same as money. To make your own, draw one that looks like Crosley’s, and glue in a photo of yourself so that you can be correctly identified. If you want it to look really official, laminate both sides.
Copy of Crosley’s GImcrack
Rope gizmo: John and Crolsey use this whatchamacallit in Book One (Night Buddies and the Pineapple Cheesecake Scare) to lower themselves down into a hole so that they can stop the Iguana gang. To make your own, find a small rubber ball and attach several inches of clothesline to it. You could also attach jump rope, string, shoe laces, or anything else that can work like rope if you don’t have any clothesline!
Trap-spinner loblolly: This whatchamacallit looks like a spider, and acts like one too as it shoots off web-like wire! To make your own, get a rubber spider and attach black pipe-cleaners to its mouth loosely. When you need to activate the whatchamacallit, let the pipe-cleaners come loose!
Time-spreader dingus: This whatchamacallit slows down time so that John doesn’t get into any trouble for being out so long on Programs! To make your own, acquire a very small telescope, or a pen light. If you pull it open (without breaking or damaging it) you’ll be using it just like Crosley does to help John!
Skeleton key: This is the key Crosley uses to open John’s front door. To make your own, you can use any large, old-fashioned brass or iron door key. Decorate it however you think Crosley would like it best!
Do you have a favorite whatchamacallit or have you ever made your own? If so, let us know all about it in the comments!
Not only have the Night Buddies books won six awards amongst the literary community, but when Ol’ Sands went to visit Mrs. Miles’ third grade classroom this is what he heard:
“I think your book is the greatest. It used a lot of imagination. Crosley is the funnyst crocodile. Yerk, yerk, yerk!” –Nick
“I liked all the funny things Crosley had, like the I-ain’t-here doodad, whatchamacallit, and the way he laughed, yerk, yerk, yerk!” –Maria
“I want your book to be a passer! A passer is something that if I have children I can give it to my children. And if my children have children they can give it to their children. And that’s what I call a passer.” –Jaime
“I really liked Night Buddies! I thought it was the best story in the world! My favorite part was the part that Crosley started doing the Black Bottom!” –Mary
“Night Buddies was the greatest book I’ve ever read. Especially Crosley’s I-ain’t-here doodad, and when Crosley got wet and did the Black Bottom dance. I’ve been writing a story about the iguanas or should I say jerks.” –Stacy
“I especially like the I-ain’t-here doodad. You are a really good author!” –Heather
“The story was great I am not lying to you. It was great. I loved it. I loved the whole thing.” –Rick
So there you have it! Don’t take our word for it that your children will love the Night Buddies series, but take it straight from their peers themselves. (After all, Rick was not lying to you.)
And a big congratulations to Ol’ Sands! Night Buddies, Impostors, and One Far-Out Flying Machine was recently announced as a bronze winner in the Global eBook Awards.
My six-year-old son John invented the red crocodile named Crosley, and I had to explain why Crosley was red. You can’t just drop a red croc into a story without explaining, right? So it was something I had to figure out before I could start writing the Night Buddies adventures. At some point it occurred to me: Crosley was red because he was allergic to water! Well, sort of. If he got a fair amount of water on him, he would break out doing the Black Bottom dance and couldn’t stop for hours. That is, unless he took the antidote pills his brother Crenwinkle made for him. These pills stopped him from doing the Black Bottom okay, but they turned him red at the same time! It’s a well-known side-effect you can get from Black Bottom pills, at least in the Night Buddies stories.
Have you ever heard of the Black Bottom dance even? It’s a real phenomenon, or it used to be. No worries if you haven’t ’cause I’ll be explaining it in a future post. Stay tuned!
Crosley doing the Black Bottom Dance!
Can’t wait to read the next blog post? Get your copy of “Night Buddies, Impostors, and One Far-Out Flying Machine now and see what other adventures Crosley and John get into!
One of the most common fears among people, both kids and adults, is being afraid of the dark. Not all of us have a big, friendly Crosley visiting us when night comes! Sometimes we’re afraid of being alone at night, and sometimes we are afraid of the possible unseen threats masked by nightfall, but no matter what lies at the root of your fear of darkness here are some tips that will have you feeling cool as a crocodile when the lights turn off.
Figure Out the Root of Your Fears. Do you think there could be an evil iguana hiding in your closet or under your bed? Have mom and dad check it out! Do you hear strange noises amplified when darkness comes? Try and locate the source of the noise during the day, when you’re less likely to feel threatened by it. Knowing where your fears come from makes it easier to dismiss them.
Distract Yourself. Try listening to soothing music as you fall asleep, or break out a flashlight and read your favorite book. Keeping your mind on things that put you at ease will make it harder for fear to creep in.
Keep Some Company with You. Ask your mom or dad to sit with you for a few minutes when the lights first go off until you get comfortable with it. Or keep your favorite stuffed animal/action figure/doll on your bed to help you feel less alone. John and Crosley face their nighttime adventures together, and you should do the same!
Use a Night Light. Sometimes just having a small amount of light will help you realize that the dark doesn’t actually change anything around you. Use the light as your safety until you no longer need it!
Sometimes night is the best time to go on an adventure, whether it’s a Night Buddies Program or just in your own dreams! Don’t let your fear of the dark hold you back!