Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Interview with author Connor Boyack

The Tuttle Twins and The Road to Surfdom

Connor Boyack is president of Libertas Institute, a free market think tank. In that capacity he has spearheaded successful policy reforms on property rights, civil liberties, parental rights, education reform, government transparency, and more. He is the author of ten books on economics, education, politics, and society, and has written hundreds of columns on these subjects for a variety of newspapers in the U.S. Boyack serves on the board of the Utah Home Education Association and is a popular speaker at conferences around the country. He teaches several classes to teens in his home state and along with his wife, homeschools his two young children in Salt Lake City, Utah.

1. What really inspired you to write your book, to force you from taking an idea or experience and conveying it into a book?
I’m a dad to two young, inquisitive kids. I’m also very conservative and wanted to find a way to share my values with them. Unfortunately there were no books that helped me talk about freedom, free markets, property rights, etc. in a way that was accessible to—and enjoyable for—young kids. So I talked to a bunch of other parents to see if they shared my interest, and the response was overwhelmingly positive. So we decided to begin The Tuttle Twins as a series to cater to this market and help parents have these engaging and value-based conversations with their kids.

2. What is it about and whom do you believe us your targeted reader?
Our latest book is the 5th installment in the series and, like the others, is based on a classic free market text. In this case, we chose The Road to Serfdom, by F.A. Hayek, a Nobel prize-winning free-market economist. The book was written half a century ago in response to the prevalence of socialism. Hayek warns us of the dangers of central planning and the unintended consequences that result from a small group of bureaucrats trying to manage the affairs of millions of people.

Our version takes this basic storyline and presents the core concepts in a fun story centered around a new beach called “Surfdom.” The twins team up with their uncle, an investigative reporter, to try and research how the new beach resort community is causing harm to many other people who are negatively affected by the government’s plan.

Our target market for the series is conservative, libertarian, and independent families—primarily parents who want to help their children understand the fundamental principles of freedom in a really fun way. Our target age range for young readers is 5-10, but we’ve had lots of older and younger readers as well!

3. What do you hope will be the everlasting thoughts for readers who finish your book? What should remain with them long after putting it down?
Like Hayek, we want to open people’s eyes to the many consequences that result from an action. Perhaps it’s a tax proposal, or a new park being built, or a government program, or a new law being passed. Whatever the action, these plans inevitably have unintended consequences that we need to be sensitive to. We should be humble and considerate of others as we decide what the government should do, because as the end of the day, somebody may end up being negatively affected by what we want done.

4. What advice or words of wisdom do you have for fellow writers?
First, I have to give a shout out to Scrivener. I use this app to write all my books, and it’s fantastic!

The second thing I would say is to find and cater to a niche. Writers that try to appeal to all people generally end up appealing to very few. Focus on a segment of society—whatever that may be—and you’ll end up with a dedicated and passionate fan base.

Lastly, and this may be a personal preference, but I find it’s better to write in small chunks than in long sessions of writing. If I spread my writing over a long period of time, my subconscious mind is working through details, coming up with scenarios, contemplating the strengths and weaknesses of what I’m doing, etc. Giving myself more time to think about what I’m writing, rather than focusing on producing large amounts in a limited time, has helped me to have better stories and better books.

5. What trends in the book world do you see and where do you think the book publishing industry is heading?
I really love that bookstores are making a comeback after an initial decline. I think technology is destabilizing the industry, of course, which is a good thing—it eliminates wasteful processes and procedures, forces efficiency, and leads to a better system in the end. But like many others, I only read books on paper, so seeing the market respond to this—especially the smaller niche used bookstores—has been a great new trend that’s going to help authors continue to appeal to a diverse audience in both the physical and digital world.

And if the 2016 election has proved anything, it’s the futility of trying to predict the future! While I don’t know what the next decade will look like for authors, I’m really excited to see where it leads—and to try and innovate and take advantage of newly developing trends.

6. What great challenges did you have in writing your book?
I’ll admit it—it’s really hard to take a dense book full of economic and political analysis and turn it into a 60-page illustrated book for children. On top of that, after summarizing the principles and conveying the information we want, it’s hard to wrap a fun story around it that’s enjoyable and memorable for kids.

But I think we’ve found our rhythm in nailing the balance between information and entertainment, so it’s both educational and fun for kids. The heavy amount of positive feedback we get suggests that our readers agree!

7. If people can only buy one book this month, why should it be yours?
It’s not hyperbole to say that nothing else like this book exists—because it’s true. The Tuttle Twins series is completely unique, and fills a huge void for parents looking to help their children understand the principles of freedom. These kids are bombarded with contrary messages in schools and the world around us, so why not give them a solid foundation in preparation for those challenges? 

The Tuttle Twins and the Road to Surfdom enables parents to introduce these important ideas in a really fun way for their children, leading to some engaging and powerful conversations about all sorts of events and issues in the world around us. Parents can’t go wrong in making sure our unique book series is in their home library.

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2016 ©.
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