Three Times A Charm with Sands Hetherington

Welcome to the 2013 version of Three Times A Charm. I love meeting new authors, illustrators, bloggers, agents, editors or promoters from the children’s publishing industry and sharing their careers with you. Today’s guest is via World of Ink tours.

Author, Sands Hetherington, is visiting with us. Sands, tell us about yourself, please.

Hi, and thanks for having me.  I'm an old man who lives by a lake on the edge of town with two Saint Bernards: Dudley and Maggie.  My publicist intensely dislikes my calling myself old, but it’s the truth. I’ve been telling stories to small children for many years. I was born in New York City but have lived in Greensboro, North Carolina, most of my life.  I go to a gym on weekday afternoons and the grocery store on Saturdays. That’s kind of old-fashioned, but I did say I’m old.-J I’d be happy to provide a list of provisions for your visitors, upon request!
I travel a lot, up till now almost everywhere in North America and most of Europe over to the Levant.  I have degrees in history, English and creative writing, and quit high school about halfway through.  I have been a hod-carrier (my publicist thought I meant sod-carrier, but no.), newspaper laborer, professional student, short story writer, financial advisor, sportsman, land speculator and dog breeder.  I raised my son John as a single parent and could never have come up with the NIGHT BUDDIES series without his inventions when he was six or seven.

*Snort* You’re a funny man, Sands.

Tell us about your book.

The book is Night Buddies, Imposters, and One Far-Out Flying Machine.  It's the second in the NIGHT BUDDIES series featuring John Degraffenreidt, a young kid who isn't ready to go to bed yet, and Crosley, a wacky red crocodile who shows up just like in the first book to sneak John out on an adventure.  This time, though, after they get outside, Crosley doesn't know what to do.  He can't get in touch with his brother Crenwinkle to find out what the Program is for the night.  When they finally do find Crenwinkle, he tells them Crosley has been spotted all over the Borough committing theft, vandalism and malicious mischief.  Crosley is innocent, of course, and it's clear someone is impersonating him.  So the Program is to get the business stopped before Crosley is run out of town for being a jerk.  (Meaning no more Night Buddies!)
Our two friends decide on a stakeout, and this means going to a fantastic Emporium and getting a wonderful flying machine.  The deal is, Rodney Oglesby's sauerkraut and jellybean hot dog cart keeps getting attacked by the fake Crosley, and our friends determine to fly over it and watch.  Soon enough, a mysterious red crocodile sneaks up and snatches the cart and sails off down the sidewalk with it, causing general pandemonium.  Crosley and John chase from the air, but the impostor turns into the adjacent park and escapes.
What's going on?  Why Rodney Oglesby's sauerkraut and jellybean hot dog cart so often?  When John and Crosley finally figure this out, the contest begins.  It takes many twists and turns, and a night of magical flying around, and we meet lots of cool new characters who help along the way.  It's almost dawn when things get wrapped up.

Sands visited Strands of Thought while on tour for his first book. You can read that interview here.

Now for the threes. Help us know you a little better by answering your top three choices to the following questions:

  • Top 3 books you’ve read in the past year.
Semi Tough by Dan Jenkins (1972).  An outrageous, rollicking, wonderful novel about the NFL that I hadn't read and saw in a used bookstore.  I can't believe I let this one get by me for so long.
You Can't Go Home Again by Thomas Wolfe.  I read the others many years ago and realized I had neglected this one.
Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin.  I'm a Civil War buff and this is one of the best books on the subject to come along in years.  It's about Lincoln and the four men in his cabinet who contested with him for the Republican nomination.

  • Top 3 tools of the trade you couldn’t live without.
Actually there are four: My old green clipboard, a supply of used letter-size paper with unused backs, my Cross ballpoint pen, and a place to sit and prop my feet up (these or near-substitutes).  In other words, there are scarcely ANY tools involved in this trade!
Or let me try another tack:
1.  I need to have read a lot.
2.  I need a writing schedule.
3.  And I need to stick to #2 no matter what.
These two lists are essentially all any writer needs.

  • Top 3 authors.
Mark Twain, Charles Dickens and Kurt Vonnegut.  There are many writers just as good as Twain and Dickens, and there are legions as good as Vonnegut.  I favor these three, though, for their clarity and readability.  Gertrude Stein is admirable, of course, but where's the fun?  With my three you get the whole package.

Sands, where can our readers go to keep up with you and your writing? 

Thanks for charming us on this week’s Three Times A Charm, Sands. It is always a pleasure to host a leg of your World of Ink tours. Best of luck with your writing!


OPEN CALL FOR GUESTS! I am always looking for guests for Three Times A Charm. If you are an author, illustrator or book reviewer, an agent or an editor. If you have something related to children’s publishing that you’d like people to know about, feel free to contact me about a future appearance.


  1. Kai, thank you for letting us get to know author Sands Hetherington better and for hosting him on your blog. My girls really enjoy his Night Buddies series.

    1. I'm so glad he could return with the second book in the series. It has been fun getting to know him and his books better.

  2. Thanks for sharing! I grocery shop on Mondays (and have for fifteen years) when I discovered as a stay-at-home mom that hardly anyone shops on Mondays. :-)


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