Can warthogs fly? Do tigers eat broccoli? For answers, follow along as Warthog lies his way to the throne in this timeless, yet most timely tale from the Watering Hole. With a nod to Aesop and Kipling, The Lying King has lessons for everyone, from the playground to the boardroom and beyond.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in NYC in the 1970s, back when the city was a little grittier than it is today, but wonderful for its eccentricity.
Did you read a lot as a child?
I didn’t really start reading voraciously until I was about 10 years old. I was swept away by Roald Dahl’s Danny, Champion of the World, and from there it was off to the literary races.
What are some of your favorite authors and books?
I’m still a big fan of Roald Dahl, but I also like Kipling and Conrad, in addition I’m a big fan of the genre of anthropomorphic parables, from Animal Farm to Watership Down, Yertle the Turtle and Maus.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I always wanted to be an artist and author, which I am, but I also would have liked to play third base for the Yankees. I never got the call from George Steinbrenner, though. Oh well.
Tell us about some of the jobs you’ve had before you became a writer.
I don’t know that I’ve ever really had a job as one might think of it, but I’ve been working pretty hard on the whole artist/author role for quite a while now ... all the way back to my first solo exhibit in SoHo when I was in my early 20s, and while sometimes it’s a little hand to mouth, at least there’s no retirement age.
How did you get started writing?
I started writing because I was presumptuous enough to think that what I had to write was worth reading, and while my wife would tell you that more often than not what I have to say is hot air, I still think I’ve got a few thoughts worth conveying.
Why do you write books?
I write books to try to impart truth, and I use wildlife as a means of doing so, because I believe that it’s easier to reflect back on ourselves through the eyes of animals than it is by using people.
What do you like best about writing?
I like the process of chewing on a thought until I can refine it down into its most simple and concise form. It’s a little like putting together a puzzle until every piece fits just right to complete the whole.
What do you find the most challenging about writing?
The most challenging aspect is having something worth saying in the first place, and then working on it until the message is conveyed in its least pedantic fashion. It can be hard not to get too preachy, but I learned early to kill my darlings, and that’s been quite helpful.
What do you think makes a good story?
The best stories are those that transcend the time in which they’re written. A good story is one that entertains and teaches at the same time.
Where do you get your inspiration?
I draw my inspiration from Nature. I use animals to soften what I think to be particularly pointed subjects, and try to search for truth and beauty (even when it’s ugly) in what I observe.
Tell us about your latest book.
My latest book, The Lying King, is a parable about the rise and fall of the archetypal demagogue. At a time when it seems that truth is on the defensive, The Lying King is my version of what happens in the end to the serial liar. Hint, it never ends well for the liar!
What’s next for you?
As soon as I’m done touring to promote The Lying King, I’m off to the coast of East Africa to dive with the whale sharks, to spend some time with my family, and to listen to the wind blowing off the Indian Ocean. After that, it’s all wait-and-see pudding!
Is there anything we didn’t ask that you’d like people to know about you and/or your books?
I’m not sure what more to say about me and my books, but I would like to leave you all with the following three things:
1) Tell the truth!
2) Expect OTHERS to tell the truth, and
3) Be honest with yourself.
If we all do those three things, I think the world would be a better place.
For more information about Alex Beard and his books, visit alexbeardstudio.com.
Visit Alex Beard at the Miami Book Fair! November 11-18, 2018 at Miami Dade College.
Alex is presenting The Lying King at noon on Sunday, Nov 18
at Mr. Wembley’s Storytorium in Children’s Alley.
For more than three decades, Miami Book Fair has been committed to fostering a love of reading in children of all ages. This includes Miami Book Fair’s literacy initiative Read to Learn Books for Free, in partnership with The Children’s Trust, which distributes of thousands of free children's books around Miami-Dade county via its bookshelves; during the 2017-18 school year, over 91,711 books were distributed to the children of Miami-Dade County.
Additionally, MBF hosts over 10,000 school kids – elementary, middle and high school students from all over Miami-Dade County to listen to and meet their favorite authors – many of whom leave with free books.
All-aged fairgoers will enjoy the lively Street Fair and Children’s Alley, a pop-up children’s learning activities village boasting live performances; and, students in K-12 enjoy special author presentations and workshops at the Fair and in their schools as part of the Generation Genius program, and college students will meet with selected authors for in-depth discussions on specific subjects as part of the Fair’s Classroom Collaborations program.
Tickets: Free for kids; $5 12-17 and seniors and $8 general admission
For more information please visit miamibookfair.com