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Interview with Jared Tinlin, author of Hey...Hey...Think Out Loud!
by Irene Watson   
Not "rated" by the Author.
Last edited: Monday, March 08, 2010
Posted: Monday, March 08, 2010

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After watching the film “Walking the Line,” Jared Tinlin was inspired to try writing a Johnny Cash style song, so his parents bought him a guitar and taught him some chords. Soon Jared was asking Mom for help with spelling words for the lyrics and he had written down verses about a train and the yellow sun along with simple guitar chords over some words. When his mother, Sandra Tinlin, suggested they compile his words into a book, Jared was excited to begin the process.

As Jared wrote, he talked out loud to come up with ideas. The musical rhythm he created and his brainstorming writing process are reflected in the book’s title "Hey…Hey…Think Out Loud!" Expanding upon the Fundations process he learned in kindergarten and first grade, Jared ran through the alphabet to create fun rhyming words. “I wanted to write about things outside,” said Jared in a recent interview. The subjects explored in the book include the sun, a flower, a cloud, a train and a race car. A farmer and a dog are the next animals questioned. Other subjects examined in the book are a standup bass, guitar and a drum set. The book is concluded with a t-shirt, socks and all the subjects of the day.

Interview with Jared Tinlin

Hey…Hey…Think Out Loud!
Jared Tinlin
Kid Adventure Pack Publishing (2009)
ISBN 9780984224715
Reviewed by Cayden Aures (age 5 ½) and Mom for Reader Views (02/10)

Today, Tyler R. Tichelaar of Reader Views is pleased to interview Jared Tinlin and his mom Sandra Tinlin about Jared’s newly published book “Hey…Hey…Think Out Loud!”

Jared Tinlin is eight years old and a second grader at Zuni Elementary in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He likes to ride his motorcycle, his bike, and his scooter. He also likes to play basketball. He likes to swing and climb in his backyard. His favorite video games are Star Wars Battlefront, Clone Wars, and Madagascar Escape 2 Africa. He also likes to explore different museums. Jared had three different motorcycles, a blue one, a trials bike and a small yellow one he gave to his brother Jason. He likes to go motorcrossing with all his family.

Tyler:  Welcome, Jared and Sandra. Jared, you’re the youngest author I’ve ever interviewed so needless to say I’m very impressed that you have written a book. What first made you decide to write a book.

Jared:  I wanted to write a song like Johnny Cash did about different things. I really wasn’t thinking about a book. I liked the way Johnny Cash played the guitar and I liked the way the other guy played the standup bass. It was fun when he turned the bass around and dipped it on the floor. All of them looked like they were having fun. I liked all those guys even Buddy Holly and Elvis Presley. I wanted to have fun just like them. My mom and dad bought me a guitar first and I started learning to play the guitar. My mom taught me four chords on the guitar D A G and E. I wanted to write a song like Johnny Cash did about a train and play the guitar. I watched the movie “Walking the Line” a lot. I also wanted a bass like the one in the movie. My mom and dad also bought me a cello and then they made it into a bass for me.

Tyler:  Sandra, I assume you had a hand in publishing the book. Can you tell us how it came about?

Sandra:  I started a publishing company in order to publish his first book. Jared’s “book” started off as a song he attempted to write after viewing the Johnny Cash movie many times. His first few written words on an entire 8 x 11 music sheet looked like this “hey stand up bass hey stand up bass you sound so low and play my slow fast some music.” He would ask me how to spell the words from a distance. I did not know what he was doing. I was in the kitchen cooking dinner. He started writing about a train and then about a yellow sun. I sat down with him and forgot about dinner. I liked his efforts and his stick drawings to his so called song.

For the next several days, he wanted to complete his song. I helped him very little to restructure his thoughts, but I did guide him to think more clearly and sensibly. In one instance, he wrote “yellow sun yellow sun shine on paris shine on france shine on everywhere that has your pants.” We could not stop laughing because he was trying to find a word that rhymed with France and we all tried to make sense of the sun’s pants everywhere. He then started going through the alphabet starting with “a” for ants, “b” for bance, “c” for cance and then “d” for dance and shouted “shine on everyone and make them dance.” I was just so overjoyed. I thought to myself that I would buy such a book for my children. When I told Jared that we should make a book, he said “Okay, Mom.” He read the complete “story” to his 1st grade class and told them Mom was going to make his story a book. He totally forgot about doing a song.

Tyler:  Jared, why did you write the book?

Jared:  I like my story as a book instead of a song. I could draw pictures.

Tyler:  What did you hope other readers your age would get from it?

Jared:  I don’t know. My brother Jason and all my cousins and all my friends at school thought my book was cool! My friends in school like what I draw and write in my journal at school. They just like my book because I did it. They want to do the same thing I did. I want to read their stories.

Tyler:  What did you enjoy most about writing a book?

Jared:  I like when my mom and I laughed so hard when I would write something silly.  My mom said I could be the next Dr. Seuss and I like his books.

Tyler:  Why did you choose the title “Hey…Hey…Think Out Loud”?

Jared:  My mom helped me with the title. My mom is a lot of fun to be around. She really gets me going. She liked when I wrote “Hey…Hey.” We both kind of said it at the same time.

Sandra:  We both came up with the title. I told Jared that thinking out loud and talking to oneself is a good thing because it helps his learning process. Jared recognized that some of his writings had “Hey” at the beginning and some did not. I noticed in some of his first writings he used “Hey” and Jared also noticed that in his writings he was talking to himself and thinking out loud. He said how about “ Hey…Hey” and I said how about “Thinking Out Loud.” We both looked at each other and said at the same time “Hey…Hey…Think Out Loud!”

Tyler:  Whose idea was it to use rhyme in the book, and why did you decide to do so?

Sandra:  Jared used rhyme all by himself. Remember, his writings began as a song. All during kindergarten and 1st grade, Jared’s teachers used Fundations to help Jared and kids learn to read. Fundations deal with like words such as cat, hat, fat, or bat. Jared would take his fundations a step further and go through the entire alphabet whether it made sense or not. It was fun for Jared. Jared also recognized that songs also rhymed. Jared just naturally used rhyme.

Tyler:  Will you tell us a little about the different topics in the book? For example, I understand you talk about a flower, the sun, and a cloud. What made you decide to write about these things?

Jared:  I wanted to write about things I do outside. I like flowers. The sun makes them grow. Once my mom and I planted a sunflower seed and watched it grow. I was taller than the sunflower but later it grew bigger than me. Clouds are so much fun because they do look like cotton candy. It’s fun to write about everything I do.

Tyler:  Sandra, what role did you have in the book? Did you help with the content, or the revision?

Sandra:  My most important role in Jared’s book was that of a supportive parent. I put aside my regular household duties in order to pay attention to what HE was doing. Okay, I did start dinner for my children in the kitchen as I mention above, but I then joined Jared on the kitchen table to see what he was writing. Jared’s dad Bill, my husband, finished making dinner. Bill and I were both stunned at his “writing spurt and writing skill.” I helped Jared “physically write” the rest of his thoughts after the bass section on paper because he was tired of physically writing.

As I mentioned above, Jared’s few words took up a whole 8 x 11 piece of paper. Remember, Jared was in 1st grade and learning to “physically write.” I wrote down on paper what he wanted in the rest of his “song.” I really did not correct his spelling or sentence structure on his own first few written pages because I recognized that his work was his learning process. I also helped him with the correction of singular and plural words such as cloud versus clouds or sock versus socks. Overall, the content was his actual thoughts. Jared was only seven years old. I remember as a kid talking to animals, objects and things and answering myself back. His writings made me feel like a kid again. I told Jared his song should be a book and he said okay.

Jared and I typed up the revision on his computer. He typed a few pages and then he let me do the rest. I explained to Jared reasons for the punctuation marks such as the quotation marks. He was extremely proud of his complete book.

Tyler:  Will you tell us about the pictures? Who decided on them?

Jared:  I wanted my book to have cartoon pictures like all my books that I read. I told my mom we should look up on the computer and find someone. My mom told me we could look up a cartoon guy. I do not know how to draw people cartoons.

Sandra:  Jared drew stick drawings of himself and of all the different objects, things and animals on the original sheet the first few nights when we were in the kitchen. I liked his drawings. Jared insisted on finding someone to draw him as a cartoon person. Jared and I navigated through the computer and searched the Internet for cartoonists. We both searched many sites and offers. There was so much to learn about all the different cartoon terms such as comic, animation, caricature, contemporary, and traditional to name a few that both our heads were spinning. After about a week of searching for the right cartoonist, we found Simon Goodway’s website. His main page impressed both of us. He also authored a book called the “Unhappy Hiccup.” Jared liked his drawings and his book. I decided to email Simon to see if he would take on the project. Simon Goodway took on our project.

I emailed Simon Goodway a typed version of Jared’s work. I also sent him a picture of Jared. I expressed to Simon that Jared wanted to be the character in the book and that Jared wanted all his pictures to be cartoon-like with eyes. I explained to Simon that Jared’s original pictures had himself in it talking to all the different objects, things and animals and answering himself back. Simon Goodway then said he would have a few samples to Jared and me in about three weeks.

The first page Simon Goodway sent us made Jared, Jason, and me laugh so hard. Jared said, “I’m not an old man, Mom, and I don’t wear those kind of sandals!” He also said the flower looked scared of him. The sun and cloud picture looked pretty good except for the old man character. The pictures were actually in black and white. I sent an email back to Simon explaining what Jared was looking for in his pictures. I also reminded Simon about making the character look like Jared as Jared wanted. Simon sent the first three pages with changes again. Jared said, “He looks like me!” He then noticed that he had four fingers on each hand and the tennis shoes looked babyish. Jared also wanted pants instead of shorts and a basic t-shirt just like he wears everyday. Jared also wanted big boy tennis shoes. Simon again made the necessary changes before moving on to any more pages. I gave Simon the okay to continue the rest of the pages. Simon would later put color to the pages.

One of Jared’s favorite picture scenes was with the racecar. Jared’s dad Bill loves to watch racecars on television and Jared mentioned his dad would like this page. Simon originally drew one racecar on the picture, but Jared wanted more racecars on the race track. Jared liked that Simon drew Jared’s next subject in the background of each page. Simon captured Jared’s random thoughts in each picture brilliantly. Jared, Jason, and I laughed at almost every picture Simon was sending us. Jared laughs today when he remembers the drum picture and how high his hair was above his head. Jared had input on almost every picture in the book. Jared saw things I overlooked in the pictures like missing eyes. We loved the pictures when Simon put color to them.

We did not have an ending for the book. The ending was the socks. I asked Simon for any ideas for Jared. Simon emailed us back and asked Jared to come up with a “Hey…Hey…Everyone…” Jared was so exited that he asked me if he could email Simon his verse. He emailed Simon his ending verse. Simon just was so thrilled at Jared’s ending that he said it made drawing the last picture easy for him because it incorporated all Jared’s subjects from the previous pages when Jared invites “them” back for another day. Jared was so happy about his entire book and Simon’s drawings. I finalized payment to Simon Goodway through the Internet. Simon’s address was in Honeysuckle Cottage, England. Jared and I both smiled and looked at each other. We both thought HMMM, Honeysuckle Cottage, what a fun place Simon must live.
Tyler:  Wow, Sandra and Jared. That sounds like a really detailed process. I’m surprised you stayed focused on it for so long. Do you think Jared is unusual in staying so focused and detailed throughout the process?

Sandra:  I believe the unusual or rare part of this whole process is our willingness as parents to spend such a great amount of time with Jared on HIS interests. We as parents are willing to turn off the television and give up our personal time to focus on both our children’s interests. Jared’s determination and focus on projects comes from our support as parents. We tell Jared he can do anything he sets his mind to do. Since Jared was three years old, Jared could build complicated detailed 500 piece Lego sets with our encouragement. Jared would not stop until his project was completely finished. Jared likes finishing projects such as the detailed process of searching for a cartoonist and finishing the illustrations for his book. He has an incredible amount of determination. Today, Jared still uses that same determination and focus to finish anything he is doing with our help and guidance as parents.

Tyler:  That’s wonderful, Sandra, and a real testament to you and your husband as parents. So what then made you decide to publish the book?

Sandra:  I liked my son’s rhyming verses and Simon’s drawings. I would definitely buy such a book if available in the bookstores. I wanted to make a professional children’s book of Jared’s writings and Simon’s pictures. Simon suggested a few print on demand companies that would help me publish his book. I researched so many options. I even bought how to guide books and Jeff Herman’s “Guide To Book Publishers, Editors, & Literary Agents 2009.” I spent numerous hours after ten o’clock reading and making notes of publishers, editors, and literary agents. I even tried a query letter to an open publisher and literary agent. I received positive responses after three months about how impressed they were about Jared’s work but the industry just did not print children writing children books. I was referred to the “Highlights Magazine.” The editor of “Highlights Magazine” referred me to a publisher who conducted writing contests of children and youth writing. I still was not confident about a print-on-demand company because the end price of the book would be $15.95 and above. Parents like myself will buy a children’s book if under $10.00.

I decided to start my own publishing company after so many people around me told me “they” would buy Jared’s book. I had a little background in the music publishing industry and I felt I could do this on my own. I choose the name Kid Adventure Pack Publishing (KAPP) for my company. I also designed and developed the building block logo for KAPP. I looked at every children’s book I had in both of my son’s bookshelves. I studied everything about the first few pages and the last pages in order to learn how these publishers complete such a project. I then searched for printing companies in Albuquerque, New Mexico that would take on my book project for Jared. I am amazed how many companies turned me down. I found a company willing to work with me who had never printed a children’s book. Bill and I invested in a professional printing job for our son’s first book. I was successful getting Jared’s book an ISBN number and a LCCN number just like all the other children books on our shelves at home.

The Albuquerque printing company had two blank pages at the end of the book. I filled those pages with Kid Adventure Pack Publishing’s motto for kids around the world:  Think It! Write It! Draw It! Read It! And Play It! Sing It! I wanted a picture of Jared and his grandfather, Al Hurricane, to be on the Play It! Sing It! page. Jared’s grandfather was a former Honorary Chair for the “Read Across America” campaign for the National Education Association of New Mexico. Their picture in the book represented my logo and motto of the building blocks of KAPP. The “Read Across America” campaign is a program of the Dr. Seuss Enterprises. I was hoping to get some type of endorsement from the Dr. Seuss Enterprises for Jared’s book. The Power of the Building Blocks is Parents, Teachers, Educators…and Kids! Late October, the printing company completed Jared’s book. The book looked great! Jared was so thrilled about his book. We took several copies to his school. All the teachers and kids loved his book! All the kids think Jared is so cool because he is a “kid” author. The kids are excited about Jared’s other books, “Hey…Hey…Think Out Loud Again!” and “Hey…Hey…Think Out Loud At Night!”

Tyler:  Are you planning to publish those books also?

Sandra:  Both my husband Bill and I are planning to publish “Hey…Hey…Think Out Loud Again!” and “Hey…Hey…Think Out Loud at Night!” by late 2010 or early 2011. Jared finished writing these books after he did his first book. The books are very much like his first book. Jared’s progression in writing and learning really comes out in the third book. In kindergarten and 1st grade kids learn to read. In 2nd grade, kids read to learn. His third book shows that Jared is reading about the sky and learning all about the moon, stars and planets. Jared wants to illustrate his own books now, but he still wants Simon to illustrate the above two books. Jared is currently illustrating his two other books, “The Jogging Dino” and “The Three Ninja Eggs go to China.”

The Albuquerque Public Schools (APS) proudly recognizes Jared and his book “Hey…Hey…Think Out Loud!” Currently, APS is celebrating Read Across America highlighting Jared and his book. Jared and his book are part of the APS news release for March 2nd, 2010. Bill, Jared and I would like every kid between the ages of 3-9 to read Jared’s book in hopes that his book will encourage all of them to write their own “Hey…Hey” books.

Tyler:  What do you think was the biggest learning curve from the moment the book was just an idea until it was published?

Jared:  I could really write my own book.

Sandra:  My biggest learning curve was paying attention to what was important to Jared and keeping him interested in his own project. This was an extremely fun project for both of us from start to finish. We both laughed and had fun the whole time. I tell Jared that this project was like Chocolate. Jared likes Chocolate. The more we eat it the more we want it! We had such fun!

Tyler:  What has been the most rewarding part of the entire process?

Jared:  Showing and reading my book to my class. My friends all like my book and wanted to buy my book. They wanted to write books too. I want to read their books.

Sandra:  My most rewarding part of the entire process is Jared’s look when he saw his professionally printed book and said, “This is the book I wrote, Mom! Thanks!” He had such an overwhelming joy and excitement that he wanted to write more books.

Tyler:  Jared, do you write everyday?

Jared:  I write almost everyday. In my second grade class I write in my journal almost everyday. I like writing at home because my mom encourages me to write fun stories and draw pictures. I really like drawing too. I like to write on the computer. I want to write more books. My mom took my brother and me to the Albuquerque Balloon festival. We went to the discovery club in the balloon museum. My mom told the ladies that I wrote a book and they put the name of my book on the white board. The ladies also wanted to hear what was in my book. I told them a few pages. My little four year old brother Jason told the ladies he also had a book like mine. Jason told them “Hey…Hey…Balloon what makes you fly?” I told my mom I could do a book called “Hey…Hey…What’s Up In the Air?” I also like World War II war planes and I am going to write and draw this book too.

Tyler:  Sandra, to what do you attribute Jared’s love for writing?

Sandra:  I believe Jared’s writing stems from my reading so many children books to him since he was born and my support for his writing abilities. Jared’s kindergarten teacher, Ms. Patty, required a written reading log of the week that listed the title of the book, the author of the book and Jared’s drawing of the favorite picture of the book that I read to Jared. Jared would also attempt to read the book. Jared really worked hard at “writing” this information down on the log. This task was very challenging to Jared. Jared won two reading awards in kindergarten for reading the most books. The principal rewarded Jared with two free books. Jared likes to read and write his own stories. He is now writing his first chapter book. He is using his computer at home to write the story. Zuni Elementary is a technological based school. Jared not only learned to use the computer at home, but as well as in his school. Jared completed his first pod cast in 1st grade at Zuni Elementary. Jared loves to write!

Tyler:  Jared, do you want to continue to be an author or will you end up racing motorbikes, or maybe both, or something else entirely?

Jared:  I like being an author. I am scared of racing because racers get hurt. I just want to have fun on my motorcycles. I want to do anything that is fun.

Tyler:  Thank you, Jared and Sandra, for joining me today. Before we go, will you tell us about your website and where readers can find more information about “Hey…Hey…Think Out Loud”?

Jared:  My mom let me make my own website. My website is I tell you about my book if you click my book. I am in front of my computer desk holding my book. My mom helped me create a link to our publishing company at the bottom of that picture in case anyone wanted to buy my book. I also made a page of Jason and me playing our music instruments. I used my standup bass and guitar and drums in my book. I also made a page about my teachers in school. You can also go to and see my book. My book is also on

Tyler:  Thank you, Sandra and Jared, for the interview. It’s been a real pleasure for me. I started writing myself when I was about Jared’s age, so it is wonderful to know other kids share the love of writing I had. I hope, Jared, you have a long writing career ahead of you!

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