2018 Best in Rhyme Top 10 – Josh Funk Interview by Gayle C. Krause

       2018 Best in Rhyme Logo

2018 Top 10 Best in Rhyme



 by Author Gayle C. Krause

Thank you so much for inviting me to chat! I’m incredibly honored to have

three books nominated for the Best Rhyming Picture Book of 2018 Award!


1. Tell us something we, as rhyming picture book fans, don’t already know about



I have been rhyming my whole life. My first word was banana (which is

filled with internal rhyme). I guess that was a sign…


2. Do you see yourself in any of your characters?


            jfunk - headshot       jfunk - character

I think I’m a lot like Baron von Waffle. Crispy and villainous on the

outside, but fluffy, misunderstood, and craving friendship on the

inside. Also, I

enjoy sneaking the last drop of syrup before others can get it.


3. How long ago did you get the idea for Lost in the Library?


jfunk - library

Actually, the folks at the New York Public Library got together with Macmillan and put

the idea together: Patience goes missing and Fortitude goes searching through the library

(getting a tour throughout), eventually finding him in the… well, I don’t want to spoil it.

That’s all they gave me. I dug deeper into their characters. Fortitude, stoic and steadfast,

had never entered the library before. Patience became a master storyteller, etc.

The idea for the sequel, though (*wink*) – that one’s all me.


4. When did you start the first draft for Mission Defrostable and how long, from

that point, until the book was completed? Did this 3rd book in the Lady Pancake Series

come quicker or slower than the first two? 


Because I know the characters, the world, and have an idea of what Brenda Kearney’s

brilliant illustrations might look like, it probably only took me a week or so to complete a

first draft.

jfunk - mission defrostable

But these books actually start well before the first. I do a lot of brainstorming and preparation as to

what the vibe of the book is going to be, who the new characters are going to be, what is the pacing

going to be like. Before I even start the first draft, I already have a loose pagination of

the entire story in my head. So I’d say once I actually get started with the drafting it

comes pretty quickly – faster than the first one for sure.


5. When and where do you write?


I’m a software engineer by day, so I tend to write on the evenings and weekends at

home. I also love to go to the public library to write. Sometimes I work in a study room.

But I’ve had a lot of success sitting in the open space in the children’s room and putting

on headphones with some white noise – it’s easy to be inspired with all the books,

librarians, and little readers around.


6. What inspired you to write Albie Newton?


jfunk - albie

Albie Newton’s classroom is basically my office. I work with a diverse group of really talented

people. Albie was inspired by many of the brilliant people I’ve worked with who sometimes don’t

have great social skills on the surface. But when you look closer, they might surprise you with

what great people they truly are.


7. Jay Reese, a member of the Rhyme Revolution, would like to know what your

preferred POV is when writing in rhyme? And is there a market preference for a

particular rhyming POV that we should be aware of?


Hi, Jay! The answer to your question is that I don’t think this has ever come up. I don’t

have a conscious preference and I don’t think the market has one either.

I haven’t analyzed a large subset of rhyming picture books to see if the trend of certain

POVs in rhyming books is any different from non-rhyming, but I’d hypothesize (without

any data to back it up) that there is no difference. I think POV and rhyme are completely

independent of each other. If it’s good rhyme, it won’t matter what the POV is.


8. Do you have any new rhyming picture books coming out in 2019?


Actually, I *don’t*! I have three books currently scheduled for 2019, but all three are in

prose! It’ll be my first year without a rhyming picture book since I was first published in

2015! (but don’t worry – I should have two rhymers out in 2020)


9. What are you currently working on?


I’m currently working on a bunch of sequels. HOW TO CODE A ROLLERCOASTER (sequel

to HOW TO CODE A SANDCASTLE). A second (IT’S NOT HANSEL AND GRETEL) And third (IT’S NOT LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD) It’s Not a Fairy Tale books. A fourth pancake book. A second NYPL Lions book. And a secret project. And hopefully something totally brand new very soon.


10. If you could give advice to writers who haven’t published yet, or an earlier

version of yourself, what would you want to share?


Keep writing new things. Don’t get hung up revising the same manuscript over and

over and OVER again. Yes, get it critiqued, revise, get it critiqued again, and maybe even

query it. But also start writing something new. That new thing will start off in such a

better place than the first manuscript because you’ll have learned sooooo much along

the way. And then write a third. And a fourth. And keep going.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard a keynote speaker say “And finally, after

seven years and 10 completed manuscripts, I finally got my first book deal.” But I can tell

you it was a lot – like pretty much all of them. I know you love that first story. But it’s

likely going to be your fifth or tenth that will be your first one published.

Now, go off and break a pencil!



Josh Funk writes silly stories and somehow tricks people into publishing them as

books – such as the Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast series (including The Case of the

Stinky Stench and Mission Defrostable), How to Code a Sandcastle (and the upcoming

sequel How to Code a Rollercoaster),  It’s Not Jack and the Beanstalk, Dear Dragon,

Albie Newton, Pirasaurs!, Lost in the Library: A Story of Patience and Fortitude (in

conjunction with the New York Public Library), and the forthcoming It’s Not Hansel and

Gretel, It’s Not Little Red Riding Hood, and more coming soon! Since the fall of 2015, Josh has visited

(or virtually visited) over 300 schools, classrooms, and libraries. Josh is a board member of The

Writers’ Loft in Sherborn, MA and was the co-coordinator of the 2016 and 2017 New England Regional

SCBWI Conferences. Josh grew up in New England and studied Computer Science in school. Today, he

still lives in New England and when not writing Java code or Python scripts, he drinks Java coffee and

writes manuscripts. Josh is terrible at writing bios, so please help fill in the blanks. Josh enjoys

_______ during ________ and has always loved __________. He has played ____________ since age __ and his

biggest fear in life is being eaten by a __________.


For more information about Josh Funk, visit him at http://www.joshfunkbooks.com and on Twitter at




3 thoughts on “2018 Best in Rhyme Top 10 – Josh Funk Interview by Gayle C. Krause

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