Now that ELF: OFF the Shelf has been released, I took a few minutes to interview new author Jeff Scoggin:
Jeff was born in Detroit, Michigan. The oldest of four (he has three younger sisters, one of whom is also a published author), Jeff moved to the Dallas, Texas area at age six. Jeff graduated from Plano High School, then attended Texas Tech and Southern Methodist University. After graduating with a degree in journalism, he spent his working career in the corporate world. In his spare time, Jeff is active in finding homes for shelter rescue dogs (five of whom are his roommates), volunteering, and spending time with his girlfriend, Carrie. Jeff currently resides in The Colony, Texas. “Elf: OFF the Shelf” is his first book.
So, Jeff, how does it feel to be a published author?
To be honest, it still hasn’t completely hit me. It’s something I’ve dreamed of all of my life, and the reality of it all seems a bit surreal. I’m happy, though – VERY happy!
Tell us about your book.
Elf: OFF The Shelf is a fun, family-friendly view of one elf’s journey through the 2012 Christmas season. I first noticed Elf in my home the night before Thanksgiving (actually, my dogs discovered him hiding behind one of the houseplants), and he allowed me to document his daily experiences.
What gave you the idea for ELF?
I’d seen several parodies of the Elf on the Shelf, all of which depicted the featured elf in less-than-savory situations. That bothered me a bit, because I still believe the Christmas season is a magical time that allows each of us to reconnect with our inner child via wonderful memories, traditions, and so on. I started posting Elf on my Facebook page, and it almost immediately developed a following.
Did your launch party go well?
It was wonderful! I held it in my hometown (The Colony, TX), and the outpouring of love and support was, in a word, incredible. I’ve attached a couple of photos from it, so you can see what a truly joyous occasion it was.
What other books do you have in the works?
I have a series of children’s books, featuring a little dog named Tuffy, scheduled to launch beginning in February 2014. I have three stories for that series completed and in the illustration process. I’ve also submitted the manuscript for another children’s book, about a dog I adopted from the local animal shelter, to my publisher. That book will, hopefully, help young children understand what shelter dogs experience while also showing that happy endings are completely possible.
What or who inspires your writing?
My writing is inspired by a number of things – my dogs, real-life experiences, current events, and so on. I focus on pre-K/early readers because that is the age group I enjoy teaching and reading to, and because there is nothing quite like the gleam in a child’s eye when you’ve touched them with your story.