Outswim a Shark Tour: Interview with Jess Keating


Guess what? I get to interview one of my favorite people today here on this little blog of mine.

Jess Keating is everything you want in a kid lit author: she writes great books, she’s super nice on Twitter, she’s not afraid of snakes, and she love working with kids. What more could you ask for?

Hello, Ms. Jess Keating. I interviewed you last year before How To Outrun a Crocodile came out.

Can you tell me a little bit about what the last 6 months as a published author have been like?

Hey, Colby! Thank you so much for having me today! These past 6 months have been crazy! It never stops feeling surreal to see my own book on the shelves at bookstores, and chatting with readers is one of my favorite things. I’m a very lucky author, so as soon as CROC came out, I was back at work on the second book. It’s been the fastest year of my life, but also the most rewarding. I’ve gotten to meet some wonderful people, and even did a library event with a real live crocodile!

I know that myself and all my Nerdy Book Club friends are excited about How to Outswim a Shark Without a Snorkel. What can readers expect from book 2?

I’m so glad that Nerdies are excited! I wanted to bring even more fun to readers for Ana’s second adventure. I also wanted to surprise them! As you can probably tell from the title, Ana is about to have her life turned upside down again—and this time there are wetsuits involved! When she’s assigned to work in the new marine exhibit at the zoo, Ana is pretty scared. Sharks aren’t exactly cuddly. But when her enemy Ashley turns up to help out (yes, that Ashley!), Ana has much bigger problems than toothy sharks. Can Ana survive a summer of sharks, sabotage, and scuba gear? You’ll have to read it to find out. *cue JAWS music*

As for an official insider secret: you can expect Ana to make a HUGE mistake in this book. I cringed writing about it!


We were so honored to have you join us last summer for Nerd Camp. Can you tell us a little bit about your experience at camp?

Nerd Camp was AMAZING! 

Getting to be around people who believe in learning and the power of kids books is the greatest inspiration out there. Everyone I met was incredible, and you could feel the excitement and passion in the air during every session. (Is there anything better than sitting around and chatting about kidlit?!) The nerdies are the most dedicated, generous souls, and learning from them is an honor. It feels like one giant nerdy family that we’re all proud to join.

Jess Keating (2)

AND you decided to come back for Nerd Camp 2015. We’re honored!

I wouldn’t miss Nerd Camp for the world! Where else can I hang out with all the awesome nerds?!

This question is a little off topic, but I need to know. You see, I’m super scared of tons of animals: mice, snakes, sharks, racoons, gerbils, etc. Since you have a zoology background, I picture you having no fear when it comes to wildlife. Is that true? Do you have ANY weird or unusual fears?

Aw, don’t be afraid of gerbils, Colby! They only attack during the full moon.

It’s true that most zoology folks don’t usually have a fear of animals. The key to not being afraid of animals is all about respect and knowing how to handle them if you need to. I’m not afraid of great white sharks, but that doesn’t mean I would swim up to one and poke it in the eye! (In fact,I don’t recommend poking any animal in the eye.)

As for weird fears, I’m afraid of heights. I’ve tried to cure myself of this for years, by doing ridiculous things like glacier climbing and hiking beside cliffs. You’d think that would help, but nope. Still terrified. But I have some cool pictures now, at least! 

Lightning Round: Answer these questions as fast as you can. No second guessing or revising.

What are a couple of 2015 books you are looking forward to reading?


Not surprisingly, I have a soft spot for animal picture books. (And other nerdies.)

What is the best lunch?


When was the last time you read the newspaper?

Real newsprint makes me sneeze! But I read daily news on Feedly every day.

Favorite sport?


Favorite book as a child?

Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, and Matilda!

Favorite author as a child?

Blume, baby!

What’s the last book you bought?

Timmy Failure, and The Fourteenth Goldfish!

Thanks for stopping by Ms. Keating. See you at Nerd Camp!

Thank you so much for having me, Colby! Keep on nerding out!

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