Book Blog

Editing the Book

Book Blog

Someone much smarter than me once said that writing is rewriting. Even though I had heard that expression many years ago, and I had even said it to some of my high school students, I didn’t realize the magnitude of those words until I sat down at my computer to begin writing Inside Pee-wee’s Playhouse. The book went through more rewrites than I’d care to admit to, but I can offer a small glimpse into the self-editing process.


Globey and Miss Yvonne (Lynne Stewart)


Designing the Book Cover

Book Blog

From the moment a book contract is signed, if not earlier, every writer imagines walking into their local bookstore and spotting their book on a shelf. The problem with that fantasy is that no author knows what their book will look like. Unless you’re J.K. Rowling, Dan Brown, Stephanie Meyer, or someone with a similar level of name-recognition, most authors don’t have final say on what their books look like. In fact, from what I’ve read and heard, some authors don’t even have a vote in the process.

Why? Let me explain. In book publishing, authors are responsible for the content and the publisher is responsible for the packaging of that content. The text on the back of the book, the book’s size, and even the title are considered packaging, much like you would imagine different teams at Kellogg’s being responsible for the taste of breakfast cereal and the box it comes in.

In case you can’t see where I’m going with this, packaging also extends to the book’s cover. As much as I looked forward to holding my book in my hands, I was secretly afraid since day one that I would end up with a cover I was unhappy with. (more…)

Getting Started

Book Blog
Caseen Gaines at Club Nokia


On August 20, 2009, I heard that Paul Reubens was bringing Pee-wee Herman back for a limited run in Los Angeles. I purchased tickets immediately, even though I live on the East Coast, and began searching the Internet for clues as to which cast members might be returning. To my surprise, I found there was very little on the web about the original staging of The Pee-wee Herman Show and even Pee-wee’s Playhouse, despite the critical and commercial success the show had. Sure, they both had Wikipedia pages, but even as a casual fan I recognized that a lot of the information on the site was inaccurate. Through sheer accident, I found contact information for some original cast members and, without thinking, asked them for interviews. I told them I wanted to write a book about how Pee-wee’s Playhouse was made, how the show affected our popular culture, and why it’s stood the test of time. Frankly, I was shocked to find the people I reached out to very receptive and, on that day, Inside Pee-wee’s Playhouse, my upcoming book about the making of the hit children’s television series, was born. (more…)