Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Writer's Block Interviews: Ryan Afromsky

1) Tell us a bit about yourself and where you live and work.

I grew up in both New York and Los Angeles and attended college at the University of Miami. I started a grilled cheese restaurant at 26 and then proceeded to write a children's book about it. Currently, I own a sustainable commercial carpet cleaning business.....random, I know.

2) Describe your journey to becoming an author.

I was reading a few books to my nephew and thought some of the books he liked were terrible. That same night I couldn't sleep and thought if these people can write children's books then I can, too. So I did. The idea of writing about a restaurant seemed natural since I was in the business. I never had dreams of becoming an author because I don't consider myself a good writer, but strange things happen sometimes. It says "author" on my business cards and one of my friends makes fun of me because we both know I'm really not.

3) Do you gravitate toward any particular genre in writing?

This is my first and only book so far. I wrote about the restaurant because that's what I know. I've been trying to figure out what else I know really well but I find I don't know that much!

4) Tell us about your recent release, I Have a Restaurant. What inspired you to collaborate on it?

I had this idea for a children's book and I wrote it all down in one night. I'm a terrible artist so I drew these stick figures with the writing underneath. I asked a few people if they knew an illustrator and a friend of mine pointed to me to Ron. When I met him I kept telling him to be brutally honest with my book idea and was very embarrassed by my crude drawings. I should have told him a 5 year old drew it. Regardless, Ron took on the project and kids really like the book. I constantly get emails from parents saying its their children's favorite book. The illustrations really make it what it is.

5) Describe your path to publication. Has this experience met/exceeded your expectations?

Getting published is not an easy road. Unless you are famous or know somebody, getting published is very frustrating. I sent out all these copies of my book to agents and never heard back from anyone. A friend of a friend knew a literary agent so he took on my book but I got rejected by all the major publishing houses so we agreed to part ways. A different friend of a friend (it sounds like I have millions of friends but I don't) put me in touch with a small publisher in San Diego and she agreed to take on my book. It's a lot of work and a lot of rejection but it's nice to know someone believes in me.

6) How do you promote your work? What methods have worked best for you?

The best way to promote my book is by networking. I meet a lot of people and often set up events through people I meet. If I were a celebrity then it wouldn't be a problem,but I'm not. I'm trying to get a food/restaurant celebrity to promote my book but that doesn't happen so easily. I have a crush on Giada DeLaurentiss from The Food Network and want her to do something with my book but she's not so quick to get back to me.

7) Who are your favorite authors? What is on your  reading list right now?

I don't really read children's books anymore but I do read a lot. I like fiction and biographies. I've read all of the Grisham's books and right now I'm reading Baldacci's latest book. One of my favorite biographies is Richard Branson's Losing Your Virginity. I like the way he does business.

8) Describe a typical day in your respective lives.

Sleep, eat, work, eat, pretend to work, eat, watch one of my New York sports teams, eat again. I work a lot and carpet cleaning is not that interesting so I won't bore you with the details.

9) What projects do you have in the works?

Ron and I have talked about doing a book together but that might not happen for a while. Ron is very busy working and promoting his own book so our joint book is not a high priority. As for me, I would like to turn my book into a series. In the first book I introduced everyone to myself and my restaurant and now I would like to have stories about things that happen in and around "Ryan's Place".

10) What advice would you offer to aspiring authors/illustrators who plan to collaborate on a book?

It's good to have a partner. That applies for books and any kind of venture you do in life. It's nice to have someone to bounce ideas off of and motivate you when you just don't feel like working. Also, with first time authors like myself, someone like Ron is invaluable. He knows a lot more about how children think and react than me so someone's knowledge of the industry is crucial. It's also fun to work with someone else. It's not work all the time and I don't take myself very seriously so Ron and I have had fun. We actually became friends from working together so that's just an added benefit. Ron has an Emmy award and I like telling people my book is illustrated by an Emmy Award winner. My best piece of advice, find an Emmy Award winner to work on your book.

About the Author

At the ripe old age of 26, author Ryan Afromsky started a grilled cheese concept restaurant in Culver City, CA called meltDOWN etc. Always the entrepreneur, Ryan used his experience at meltDOWN etc as inspiration for his first book I Have A Restaurant. He loves to travel and eat (really loves to eat), but most importantly Ryan loves to dream up new ideas and just have fun. Ryan currently lives in Los Angeles, CA, and has no desire to be an actor.

About Ron Noble, the Illustrator

Originally from Rockville, MD, Ron Noble started drawing cartoons shortly after birth and never stopped. Besides being an illustrator, Ron also won an Emmy Award for directing Rugrats in 2003. He’s a filmmaker, songwriter, surfer and snowboarder. Ron is happiest when he makes people laugh and loves sharing his work with the world. Ron also currently resides in Los Angeles, CA, and he secretly hopes he might be immortal…so far so good.

Contact Ryan 

Website: www.ihavearestaurant.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kidsworldguide

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/ihaverestaurant

Raychelle Reviews

Today's review is a great little story called I Have A Restaurant by Ryan Afromsky. The story takes the reader on a guided tour through the daily operations of owning and operating a restaurant called "Ryan's Place". It is personable, informative, and insightful.

Readers will learn some valuable traits about being an entrepreneur: 1) Be the first to arrive and the last to leave; 2) provide great service; 3) keep your storefront and support areas clean, neat, and stocked; 4) take care of your staff and they will take care of you! Ryan makes his book a great teaching tool by including some critical thinking questions and a maze (a little art mixed with a little problem-solving).

Emmy-winner Ron Noble does a great job at illustrating the story. The book is visually appealing, animated, and colorful.

It is never to early to educate young people on the inner workings of being a business owner, and Ryan does a great job of covering all of the bases. Reading I Have A Restaurant made me feel like both an intern and a welcomed guest. If Ryan writes a sequel, I'll be back.

1 comment:

  1. Enjoyed the interview and will have to get the book for my grandkids. Good for you, Ryan. You are a real go-getter!