Local News Matters Arts & Entertainment newsletter
End your week with a bit of culture to unwind and refresh. Sign up for our surprising and inspiring options in our weekly newsletter, delivered on Thursdays with news about Bay Area arts and entertainment.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Woody Weingarten, an author and longtime journalist, is a regular contributor to Local News Matters and Bay City News. To promote his latest book, a children’s book written with a special co-author and illustrated by Joe Marciniak, Weingarten decided the only reporter he could trust with the Q&A was himself.
Because most media interviews meander too wide afield and take too long, I decided to take no chances so I interviewed myself and my co-author, Hannah Schifrin — my granddaughter — about our new children’s fantasy book, “Grampy and His Fairyzona Playmates.”
Most reviewers, even politicians desperately clinging to office by yelling “fake news,” admit my faux interrogation is spot on.
WOODY THE INTERVIEWER: Why’d you two write this whimsical book?
Hannah: I thought I could have fun working with Grandpa.
Woody: Yep, fun.
What’s your four-part story about?
Hannah: A wizard grandfather and two mischief-makers, his fairy granddaughter and her best friend, another fairy. It has spells and a magic carpet, too.
Woody: Yep, it’s magical.
Is it based on your real-life relationship?
Hannah: No, I don’t do spells.
Woody: Yep, which is good, ’cause I can’t undo spells.
What does happen in “Grampy and His Fairyzona Playmates”?
Hannah: Oh, an 8-year-old fairy wins the unicorn racing championships. Baby chicks sing jazz instead of cheeping. The sorcerer makes robot characters less scary. And the girls stop “thunder-and-lightning storms, floods, earthquakes and tornadoes all over.”
Woody: Yep, a lot of fun stuff.
Did the fact there’s 70 years between you get in your way?
Hannah: Nope, we’ve really bonded. Besides, I have my friends, and he’s got his.
Did you and Grampa whoop it up when you were little?
Hannah: Well, he’d make up stories when we played together on the floor with my dollhouse, tiny plastic horses and teeny people figurines.
Woody: Yep, and Hannah would always add funny action.
If your book took only several months to write when Hannah was 8, why more than five years to publish?
Hannah: I don’t know. Grandpa was dealing with the details.
Woody: Yep, well, techno glitches, human errors and 2,149 tweaks delayed things.
Who can read ”Grampy and His Fairyzona Playmates”?
Hannah: It’s aimed at 6- to 10-year-olds, but grandparents can read it to kids. So can parents. Or other relatives. Or friends. Or neighbors. Or, in fact, anybody.
Where can I buy the book?
Hannah: Through my Grandpa’s new website woodyweingarten.com, at Amazon, at your local bookstore, at Barnes & Noble, at Apple — pretty much everywhere books are sold.
Woody: Yep, nearly everywhere.
Do you two intend to collaborate on another children’s fantasy any time soon?
Hannah: Not in the near future. Although we talk and get together a lot, I’m busy creating a series of videos for TikTok and going to school.
Woody: Nope, not now. Our bond is bonded permanently so I’m comfortable working on a new solo book aimed at adults, ”The Roving I,” and a second edition of my first, “Rollercoaster.” Admittedly, I do hope to totally avoid techno glitches and human errors for both — and require no more than 1,075 tweaks.
Have you had enough of this interview?