School of the Ages


Indie Writer Interview -- Jeremy Rodden , Comic Dispenser

Posted by Matt Posner on October 20, 2011 at 6:20 PM

Jeremy Rodden makes me laugh -- in a good way.

What's your name, where are you from, where do you live?

What is your quest? What is your favorite color? What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?!

African or European?

Kidding aside, I am Jeremy Rodden. I am originally from Philadelphia, PA but my family and I moved to Chesapeake, VA in 2010. It was at this time that I became a stay-at-home dad and finally sat down to write the stories that had been in my head for ten years.

As long as they weren't voices in your head. What do you write and why do you write it?

I write comedic fantasy for all ages. I write something that I would like to read. I don't understand people who write strictly to pick a popular genre in an effort to capitalize on trends and make a quick dollar. My favorite current authors in the fantasy genre are Rick Riordan (Percy Jackson) and Eoin Colfer (Artemis Fowl). They write fantastic adventures that are appropriate for all ages, the same thing I try to do with Toonopolis.

I don't agree with you about Eoin Colfer, whose books I tired of quickly after the first, but I definitely agree with you about people cashing in on a popular genre. I will support any writer who's serious about building a career and writing well, but as for me, I can only write what I can write. I am writing about teen wizards, which is a genre with some popularity at the moment, but I'm doing it because I really really want to -- not because I'm calculating about it.

Recommend to readers a book you have written. Include details. Open sales pitch here.

Ever wonder what would happen if you got transported into a cartoon universe?

Uh -- I wouldn't get laid? No, sorry, start again.

Ever wonder what would happen if you got transported into a cartoon universe? Gemini finds out when he wakes up in Toonopolis, a city populated by the thoughts and ideas of sentient beings in the universe. He begins a quest to recover his memories and figure out who he is but is subverted by a mysterious Shadowy Figure, who has figured out a method for killing cartoons.

Inspired by and parodying popular culture in the forms of cartoons, movies, books, comics, and more, Toonopolis: Gemini brings about a feeling of nostalgia while exploring an entirely new and ever-changing world populated by strange characters and fantastic adventures.

(I've read Toonopolis. It is genuinely funny. I laughed a whole bunch of times. Jeremy writes a novel set in a cartoon world. I had my doubts that he could pull it off, but he did, triumphantly so, I think.)

Recommend to readers a book by someone else.

I will recommend two by the same author, as they are both novellas under 20,000 words long. Jonathan Gould is a brilliant satirist who has released two amazing novellas this year, Doodling and Flidderbugs. Gould has the ability to tell wonderful humorous fantasies that point out some of the absurdities in modern society ranging from an inability to slow down and enjoy life (which is what leads his main character in Doodling to literally fall off the world) to the ineffectiveness of the finger-pointing party system of politics (which frustrates the lead character of Flidderbugs, a young 'bug who is new to the political process). They are fun stories with very real messages in them.

Tell an interesting experience from your life as a writer.

When I decided to form my own publishing company (Portmanteau Press LLC), I thought that I had made it clear to my wife that I was serious about this endeavor into the realm of publishing and not just sitting on my writing and hoping that an agent and/or publisher would save me from the query-grind process of traditional publishing. I did not realize that she hadn't accepted the reality until I handed her some printed proof pages for the hardcover version of the book. She looked at it, looked up at me, and said, "Wow, this looks like a real book."

After a facepalm, I responded with, "What do you think I've been doing these past nine months?"

She shrugged and said she was proud of me for seeing this endeavor through to the end. It was a very happy moment that started with a moment that wasn't so happy. Although, I do have to say, the irony of my book taking nine months to produce really wanted me to respond to the birth of any future children with, "Wow, this looks like a real baby."

Tell an interesting experience from a non-writing job you've had.

I worked in retail for ten years, many of it as either a Supervisor with Best Buy, a store manager with GameStop, or a lead home theater install technician with Geek Squad and you want me to tell you of AN interesting experience from a non-writing job?!

Actually, I'll go with a positive interesting experience from my time as a career preparation instructor for Job Corps (my last job before moving from Philly to Virginia and becoming a stay-at-home dad). In this job, I was working with urban youths that had either not finished high school or was otherwise trying to better themselves through career training.

I got the students when they first started the program and taught professionalism skills and adult lifeskills. My proudest moments were when I would see a student months after they finished my courses and they would tell me of their successes: GEDs, High School Diplomas, career certifications, new jobs! These were kids that came from poor backgrounds, broken homes, and bad situations and were improving their lives and proud of it. I was proud of them too.

If you had a brush with death, describe it.

Actually, I met Death a little over two years ago. I wrote a short story about it from the perspective of one of my cats. I think it captures the moment appropriately:

Write about your favorite teacher. Skip this if you hate teachers.

I had a lot of favorite teachers growing up but I think I recall my fourth grade teacher, Mr. Gilbert, most fondly. I recall him always having a sharp wit and a good grasp of sarcasm. I think he was one of the reasons I was able to let my own sarcasm grow into something marketable (eg, input into characters and dialogue in my writing). I also recall spending a lot of time reading in his classroom. I feel the best teachers are ones that can nurture a love of reading in their students and my love of reading blossomed into a desire to become a writer.

I recently reconnected with him and spoke to his current fourth grade students and his personality is just as wonderful as I remember. It was a proud moment for me to be able to share my story with a new group of students and to have Mr. Gilbert see how far I've come in the last 20 years.

Here is a picture of me and Mr. Gilbert:

Give me a link to a funny youtube video.  THUNDER LOLCATS!

Give me all the links you want to post to promote your work.

Cartoon Review/Author Blog:

Toonopolis: Gemini Buy Links:


Amazon UK:



Toonopolis Short: Anchihiiroo Buy Links:

Smashwords:  (Currently FREE [through December 31st])


Amazon UK:  

-Jeremy Rodden

[email protected]

Buy My Kindle Bestselling Cartoon Novel, Toonopolis: Gemini, at Amazon:

Download my FREE novella, Toonopolis Short: Anchihiiroo, from Smashwords:

Author/Cartoon Blogger:

On Twitter: @toonopolis

Categories: None