“The Snitch, The Witch, and the One That Was Rich” is a unique tale by Joe Spraga, a children’s book author who is known for this which he self-published in 2015. Hailing from Detroit, Joe graduated from Western Michigan University with a Bachelor’s of Arts in English (Creative Writing) and a Minor in Philosophy. A former musician, Joe became legally disabled in 2015 due to health problems yet he still enjoys spending time with dogs and indulging his creative urges.
“The Snitch, The Witch, and the One Who Was Rich” welcomes readers to a magical world known as Moonwood. The story is essentially a modern -day nursery rhyme about how to use your time wisely and become a better person. The beautifully illustrated story introduces readers to an array of quirky townsfolk as they gather outside the clock tower and seek Father Time’s wisdom on achieving personal goals, and getting along with each other in their magical community. Yet this tale is more than a children’s story book since it has deep philosophical themes for adults as well.
Joe recently granted an exclusive interview where he discussed the story and his creative inspirations.
Meagan Meehan (MM): How did you initially get interested in children’s books?
Joe Spraga (JS): I graduated from Western Michigan University with a Bachelor of Arts in English, with an emphasis in children’s literature. I’ve always been very verbal and visual, so the medium comes very natural to me.
MM: Growing up, which stories had the biggest impact on you?
JS: Charlotte’s Web, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Green Eggs and Ham, and The Velveteen Rabbit.
MM: How did you think up the idea for the characters in “The Snitch, The Witch, and the One That Was Rich”?
JS: The characters all popped into my head at once; as a poem, when I did an oil painting in college. This poem is now the chorus of my book as it is written entirely in verse.
MM: How come you decided to self-publish and how did you get the illustrations sorted out and settle on the size of the book?
JS: I decided to self-publish for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I could not get a traditional publisher to publish my book because it was too long, too big and they said they didn’t know how to market it. Secondly, I was fighting cancer and I felt I was running out of time to get it out there. I wasn’t going to wait for “the peanut gallery of the world,” to tell me who I was and what I was “allowed” to do.
As for the illustrations, I had already created the characters, and storyboarded the book. I was fighting cancer at the time so I couldn’t finish illustrating the book myself, so I hired an artist to put the finishing touches on it. I wanted the book to be a keepsake and a coffee table book that adults could enjoy just as much as children, so I made the book 13″ X 10.5″.
MM: What was it like to try and market this story?
JS: Marketing is always a tough challenge. My book is very visual, so at live events and book fairs, it helps people instantly relax and open their minds to the world within the book that I have created. I have a tough time marketing my book on the internet/digitally, because it doesn’t translate well that way. It is a physical book that should be shared between adults and children, in that space it does very well.
MM: This story has multilayered meanings, so can you discuss some of the more philosophical aspects of it?
JS: The main theme of my book is that time is the only true commodity. The book shows children/adults how to be a better person, get along with others, and value what precious time we have. The characters embrace this premise and learn to get along, accept their differences, and end up achieving personal goals, cooperating, and living better lives in their magical community.
MM: How many books have you written so far and are you planning to write more?
JS: This is the only book I have written so far, but I have an idea for another one about a child and his pet dog. This one will be in prose, and I hope to take advantage of the digital medium.
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To learn more about Joe, visit his official website.
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