G. Neri is the Coretta Scott King honor-winning author of Yummy: the Last Days of a Southside Shorty and the recipient of the Lee Bennett Hopkins Promising Poet Award for his free verse novella, Chess Rumble. His novels include Surf Mules and the Horace Mann Upstander Award-winning Ghetto Cowboy. His latest books include the YA novel Knockout Games, and the picture book biography Hello, I’m Johnny Cash. His work has been honored by the Museum of Tolerance and the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Antioch University, the International Reading Association, the American Library Association, the Junior Library Guild, and the National Council for Teachers of English. Neri has been a filmmaker, animator, teacher, and digital media producer. He currently writes full-time and lives on the Gulf Coast of Florida with his wife and daughter.
What was your favorite book when you were a child?
Picture book: The Hat by Tomi Ungerer, MG novel: The Phantom Tollbooth by Norman Juster, Teen novel: Lord of the Rings.
What’s your favorite line from a book?
“I lost my own father at 12 years of age and know what it is to be raised on lies and silences my dear daughter you are presently too young to understand a word I write but this history is for you and will contain no single lie may I burn in Hell if I speak false.” – The True History of the Kelly Gang by Peter Carey
Who are your top three favorite authors or illustrators?
Melvin Burgess, John Fante, Andrew Smith / R.O Blechman, Tomi Ungerer, Joann Sfar
Why did you want to become an author or illustrator?
It was an accident. It wanted me to become one. I had no say in the matter.
Do you have any advice for future authors or illustrators?
If someone told you that you’ll never be published and you still write, then you’ll make it. Writing is about persistence and never giving up. The longer you persist, the better the odds.