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Kids' Q&A

John van de Ruit

Describe your latest project.
Spud is the diary of a boy's first year at an elite South African boarding school in 1990. With a cast of mostly disturbed and eccentric characters, Spud tries desperately to keep himself afloat in a volatile environment. His unbroken singing voice lands him the lead in the school play and he is soon beset with fame issues and complex women trouble. His father is terrified of communists, his grandmother is senile, and he may well be sleeping next to a psychopath. Other than that it's just another day in the life of Spud Milton.

  1. Spud


    John Van De Ruit

If you could choose any story to live in, which story would it be? Why?
I would choose to be a Hobbit and live in the Shire. Firstly their burrows look incredibly cozy, they eat seven meals a day, and have furry feet.

Offer a favorite sentence or passage from another writer.
"How selfhood begins with a walking away and love is proved in the letting go." It's the final two lines of a poem by Cecil Day Lewis.

How did the last good book you read end up in your hands?
I stole it from my South African publishers.

What was your favorite story as a child?
Rapunzel. People who have analyzed me closely are convinced that I'm still obsessed with her.

What do you do for relaxation?
I live less than 150 miles from a fantastic game reserve. So whenever I have time I disappear into the bush.

What is your idea of bliss?
Sipping a cocktail on a beach in Southern Thailand.

Why do you write books for kids?
To be honest Spud wasn't intended to be a kid's book. In South Africa it was released into the adult market and then gained wider popularity with teenagers. Perhaps the moral of the story is just to write the story and allow the readers to apply the labels themselves.

Share an interesting experience you've had.
I was on a beach in Thailand when the 2005 tsunami struck. I watched the first wave coming towards me and forgot to run.

Name the best Simpsons episode of all time, and explain why it's the best.
I'm not sure why, but the one where Crusty the Clown shot Luke Perry out of a cannon. Crusty then does a classic version of Send in the Clowns.

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John van de Ruit was born in Durban, South Africa, in 1975. John is an actor, writer, producer and playwright, and will release a sequel, Spud: The Madness Continues, in the U.S. in 2008.


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