Sunday, July 8, 2012

Keep Writing: Spotlight with Sands Hetherington

Have you said or heard others say the following:
"I'm retired and writing my book ideas is just not in the cards. I'll be dead before they see publication."
"I grew up in a time kids just don't understand anymore. My ideas are old and not of interest to the kids these days."

I'm here to tell you no matter your age (young or old) and no matter your idea (from your childhood to completely made up) writing is only about the story inside waiting to come out. It is a passion waiting to be shared with young minds and author Sands Hetherington is a true example to all of us with his debut series of books Night Buddies.

Night Buddies and the Pineapple Cheesecake Scare by Sands Hetherington is an after lights-out adventure story that will delight young readers and middle graders who relish roller coaster fantasy and fun, filled with unforgettable characters and an astonishing and inventive collection of magical whatchamacallits.

The book is all about the nighttime adventures of a young boy named John, who is not ready to go to sleep, and his friend, a bright red crocodile named Crosley who turns up under John’s bed.

They sneak out of John’s house using Crosley’s “I-ain’t-here-doodad” which makes them invisible to John’s parents. They then embark on an adventure chasing down enemies and cleaning up one mess after another as they solve the earthshaking mystery: who stole all the pineapple cheesecakes from the only factory in the world that makes them! 
Sands Hetherington credits his son John for being his principal motivator. “We always did bedtime stories, and one night John presented me with Crosley, a red crocodile he had cooked up for an after-lights-out companion.  All I needed to do was figure out why Crosley was red, and then sneak the two of them out of the house on an adventure,” shared Sands.

Sands raised his son as a single parent from the time John was six. He read to him every night during those formative years. He and young John developed the Crosley crocodile character in the series during months of bedtime story give-and-take.

Like all authors, Sands Hetherington had his fair share of rejection letters. He said during the interview “I did get discouraged, but I guess I always thought I was good enough, and when the John-and-Crosley idea presented itself to me, I couldn't resist.”

Sands also admitted it wasn’t always easy writing. Lurking in the shadows and waiting to strike was Writer’s Block! “Not full-blown "writer's block" where you sit there and stare at the paper and nothing comes for days.  But I've gotten into plenty of plot situations that I didn't know how to squirm out of, and I've come to places and just not known what to say next.  When this happened to Dickens, he took late night walks around London.  I do think walking helps,” shared Sands.

Night Buddies is an astonishing and inventive adventure that will make you laugh and win over your heart. The book has lots of thoughtful, multi-layered twists, giggles, and perils -- things kids can relate to and enjoy. 

Night Buddies and the Pineapple Cheesecake Scare is the first in a series and is filled with well-drawn fascinating characters embellished with some excellent illustrations by Jessica Love. The fonts change with emotion and circumstances, a fact that makes every page a little artwork that keep the child’s eye involved in the book. And just to make sure the youngsters reading this book have the inside information for a mystery, a glossary of ‘Night Buddies Uncommon Words’ is supplied – explaining ‘Jeeks’, ‘Wuff’, ‘Snerk!’ etc. 

Sands also shared some advice for those wanting to pick a pen and become a writer. 

Set up a schedule and stick to it religiously.  Don't try to write all day or you probably won't last.  Two or three hours may be plenty.  I try to do what Hemingway suggested.  He said stop for the day at a place it will be easy to start from the next day.  Then the next day read over what's already there so everything will be of a piece.

In closing, my book website is  
Night Buddies and the Pineapple Cheesecake Scare is available on  There are some generous reviews there.  Also  Night Buddies, Imposters, and One Far-Out Flying Machine will appear this fall and is a much longer book.

Thanks for having me!”
Sands Hetherington was born in New York City in 1939 and moved to Greensboro, NC, two years later.  Except for schools and some months in California, he never left.  Sands didn't finish tenth grade, but got into NC state university by the back door.  He has two advanced degrees, two children and two Saint Bernards. 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.

The World of Ink Network will be touring author Sands Hetherington’s nighttime adventure for kids, Night Buddies and the Pineapple Cheesecake Scare published by Dune Buggy Press all through July and August 2012. You can find out more about Sands Hetherington’s World of Ink Author/Book Tour at

Get a sneak peek of the book at

To learn more about the World of Ink Tours visit

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