Thursday, May 14, 2015

Author Interview: Jon Jon Lannen author of The Giraffe That Taught Me How To Laugh

Jon Jon Lannen, author of The Giraffe That Taught Me How To Laugh, stopped by for an interview.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I'd love to. I'm Jon Jon. I'm a writer and performer who resides in Denver, Colorado. I love improv and want everyone to give it a whirl. It's not only a fun art-form, but it truly changes lives.

What do you do when you're not writing?

I perform improv comedy and teach. I also own and operate a small, boutique firm called Jon Jon & Co. We focus on three things: coaching, comedy and consulting.

When did you first start writing?

The idea came to me after an improv show. My friend and I were sitting in a parking garage and I said, "I wish I knew about improv as a kid." Bam! It hit me. Write a children's book about the wonderful world of improvisation. It took me about 6 months to complete the manuscript and the rest is history!

Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?

Yes. No doubt. My two largest inspirations are Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein.

What inspired you to write this particular book?

I was lucky enough to have found improv comedy in high school, but felt more kiddos should discover it sooner. I wanted to let children know about the world of improvisational theater. The Giraffe That Taught Me How To Laugh reaches that demographic.

What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?

Honestly, the whole book was a blast to write! I truly put my heart and soul into The Giraffe That Taught Me How To Laugh. After the writing was complete, I started working with an illustration team to make the words come to life. The whole process was pretty incredible.

What is best writing advice you can give?

The best writing advice I can give is write about something you genuinely love and care about.

Is there anything else you'd like your readers to know about the book?

The Giraffe That Taught Me How To Laugh is a sweet tale. I hope it inspires at least one person to try improv!

About the book:

The Giraffe That Taught Me How To Laugh is the culmination of Jon Jon Lannen's love for the art of improvisation. This uplifting story begins with a young boy who finds his way through the jungle to meet a supportive giraffe; one that taught him how to laugh. Life, the giraffe, influences the young boy to teach him the basics of improv. The giraffe's love and understanding for the art is contagiously caught by the boy, which blossoms beautiful scenes, full of character. The Giraffe That Taught Me How To Laugh is the first improv children's book of its kind and has inspired a diverse group of people. It combines an enthusiastic, yet respectful, approach to passing on the study of improvisation. Sparking imagination to create beautiful journeys is the essence and beauty of a child's world of improvisation. The journey of The Giraffe That Taught Me How To Laugh will stick with you, whether you're a seasoned actor or a child. Everyone and everything is a gift.

About the author:

Jon Jon Lannen is a writer, actor & director living in Denver, Colorado. Jon Jon has been performing improv comedy for over ten years and wants everyone to fall in love with the art of improvisation. Jon Jon writes and performs regularly. He formerly co-founded and ran FORK Productions, along with executive produced the Denver Improv Festival. He recently won Outstanding Author and Outstanding Entertainer by Outfront Magazine. Jon Jon also won the third season of Denver's Next Improv Star. Lannen has performed and taught in improv festivals across the country, including Chicago, Colorado Springs, Denver, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York City and Oklahoma City. Jon Jon Lannen currently owns and operates Jon Jon & Co. and is the author of the award-winning book, The Giraffe That Taught Me How To Laugh. Lannen is also adjunct faculty, teaching improvisation, at numerous schools throughout the state.

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