In this interview with Rockford T. Honeypot Author, Josh Gottsegen, we discuss his inspiration behind the book, his dream casting, and so much more!
My daughters and I love the new book Rockford T. Honeypot. We read it together as a family and it was such a great bonding experience. The book itself teaches great lessons for kids of all ages (and yes, adults too!). I recently chatted with the author, Josh Gottsegen, about the inspiration behind the book, a possible sequel (or sequels!), and his dream casting if this were to become a series or film.
That isn’t all we talked about either. So get ready to learn all about Josh, and more about everyone’s favorite chipmunk, Rockford T. Honeypot, in this author interview!
If you missed it, check out my Rockford T. Honeypot review.
Did you always want to be an author?
I always loved to imagine and write fantasy stories. I believe that my true calling was that of a storyteller, and not just ordinary stories, but adventures in other worlds where animals talk just like humans! Growing up, I watched Disney cartoons and many other shows that had animals as the lead characters.
How did you come up with the idea for Rockford T. Honeypot?
In 2014, I wrote a children’s book about a family who runs a juice bar in Tropland Forest with the intention to make healthy eating “cool.” After completing three books in my “Joosh’s Juice Bar” picture book series, I decided to dedicate a full story of another character in Tropland. As I was brainstorming ideas, a close friend of mine fell ill, so I wrote a collection of short stories for her while she was in the hospital, all of which had messages of never giving up in the face of any obstacle.
During her recovery, I continued to write and developed one of the stories, “The Adventures of Rockford T. Honeypot,” while sharing each chapter with my friend during her path to recovery. I was motivated and inspired to write something filled with laughs, love, perseverance, and excitement for both of us. She is now 100% healthy, happy, and strong.
How long did it take you to write Rockford T. Honeypot?
From start to finish, it took four years. In between my real job of running my own creative / marketing company, it took about two years to complete the first draft, then another year or so to revise, edit, and make adjustments. When I thought it was finished, I asked my good friends and former professors to read the book. Little did I know, we spent the next several months reviewing, editing, and polishing the book. Their guidance improved my technical and creative writing.
How would you describe Rockford T. Honeypot to the younger generation?
An epic origin story of the most successful animal in Tropland Forest. No taller than a banana and timid of germs, Rockford T. Honeypot proves that even a small animal, such as a chipmunk, can overcome fear, travel the world, make new friends, and live a life full of adventure.
What lessons do you want families to take away from Rockford T. Honeypot?
There are two messages that I’d like readers of all ages to take from the book. First, never give up on your dreams, even when people tell you it’s impossible. If you have a goal in life and work hard towards reaching the “unshelled diamonds” on your path, anything is possible.
Secondly, Rockford’s communication with all animals throughout the book, no matter the species, comes from a place of respect, gratitude, and kindness. It didn’t matter if it was a squirrel or rabbit; he treated others the way he wanted to be treated.
Are any of the characters based on people in your life?
Every character has traits inspired by people I know or have met in the past. I was also inspired by many film and TV characters to add attributes to each animal. With all the characters being animals, it was fun to add these traits while keeping specific animal gestures.
What character in do you identify with the most?
I identify with Rockford the most, which is why I probably added many traits to his character. I’m not the biggest fan of germs, but I love to explore. From an early age, Rockford had a gut feeling to ‘change the forest’ in some way, shape, or form. I have always wanted to to be a storyteller and create stories (from books to movies) that entertain and inspire others.
If Rockford T. Honeypot was to become a series or movie, who would be your dream cast?
I would love to see Rockford and friends as a series or movie. That was my intention from the very beginning! An absolute dream cast would be:
- Kelsey Grammer, as an older Rockford recounting the story from Green-Hut Market 39.
- Ewan McGregor as a younger Rockford.
- Emma Watson as Jewel.
- Jeff Bridges as Chuck.
- Rami Malek as Billy Fence.
- Constance Wu as Sora.
- Whoopie Goldberg as Eve.
- Meryl Streep as Rockford’s mom.
- John Goodman as Rockford’s father.
- Chloe Coleman as Apple.
- Benedict Cumberbatch as Braxton McFudden.
- Al Pacino as Don Ribbit.
Rockford wanted to be just like Captain James. Who are some of your heroes?
Growing up, I read about Walt Disney and how he set out to create the impossible. I’ve always been drawn to people who innovate and build something from the ground up. Aside from fictional heroes, I always looked up to my father and grandfather. My grandfather was always happy, even when he first woke up in the morning! He encouraged me to find happiness by doing whatever I enjoyed, as long as I respected everybody. Period.
Do you already have a story in mind for a sequel?
There are several other books on the drawing board from Tropland Forest. More than a pawful of characters that have fun and exciting adventures to tell! Hopefully, we’ll also see them on the big screen (keep your fingers crossed for me, please!).
About Rockford T. Honeypot
As a young chipmunk, shy, bookish Rockford T. Honeypot had dreams of thrilling adventures across the forest. However, timid of danger and germs, his only adventures were found in books and in his imagination. When his family abandons him after a mistake that destroys their hazelnut business, Rockford sets off on a legendary journey beyond his wildest dreams.
From exploring cuisines with a famous chef, training with ancient warrior monks, flying on giant hawks, finding true love, and much more, Rockford recounts his epic origin story of hardship, perseverance, and fortune.