Summer is all about relaxation. And after the crazy year we’ve all had, it’s been so nice to finally have time to unwind with a great book. Recently, we’ve been enjoying The Adventures of Rockford T Honeypot, a fun tale of a shy, bookish chipmunk who dreams of adventures across the forest.
My nine-year-old and I have been loving reading this together as we’ve been following along as Rockford’s journey unfolds. And what a journey it is! Throughout the book, we loved following his incredible journey that included flying with hawks, becoming a chef, training with ancient warrior monks, and more. To learn more about the story, we chatted with Josh Gottsegen as he shared more about his inspiration and how the story came about.
Interview with Josh Gottsegen on The Adventures of Rockford T. Honeypot
Weekend Jaunts: How did the idea for Rockford T Honeypot come about?
Josh Gottsegen: Many years ago, I wrote a children’s book about a family who runs a juice bar in Tropland Forest with the intention of making healthy eating “cool.” After completing three books in my “Joosh’s Juice Bar” picture book series, I decided to tell 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 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.
Weekend Jaunts: How did the idea of shaping him as a chipmunk come about?
Josh Gottsegen: The central theme is overcoming the impossible. I wanted to tell a larger than life origin story of the most successful animal in the forest while staying true to the ups and downs we all face in our lives. I instantly knew a chipmunk would be perfect for the main character. Aside from being a fan of Disney’s Chip ’n Dale: Rescue Rangers when I was young, I knew the epic adventures of a smaller animal would stay true to the theme: even one of the smallest animals can have the biggest impact in the world. Anything is possible.
Weekend Jaunts: We have been loving following along on Rockford T Honeypot’s journey and how it all interweaves together! What’s been your journey like as a writer – either developing this story or other works that you have created?
Josh Gottsegen: It certainly was a journey over the three years to complete the book! It’s always challenging to stay disciplined every day to write. However, when there is purpose and intention behind the words, such as writing for my friend so she can escape to Rockford’s incredible adventures, it becomes a higher level of creativity.
During my journey, I truly immersed myself in the Tropland world. What do the characters smell, taste, and hear in the forest? I also wanted to provide the reader with a perspective change from the point of view of a chipmunk, a frog, a hawk a or even monkey. Through hours of research, I incorporated these animal characteristics into capturing Rockford’s daily experiences in a vivid, fun, and exciting adventure story.
Weekend Jaunts: What do you hope readers will get from the book?
Josh Gottsegen: There are two messages 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.
Weekend Jaunts: What were some of your favorite books growing up?
Josh Gottsegen: Growing up, I was always drawn to fantasy and adventure stories from an early age. From James and the Giant Peach to The Alchemist to Siddhartha.
Weekend Jaunts: Anything else to add?
Josh Gottsegen: When writing the story, I set out to write for all ages. Ultimately, I’d love to have the book turned into a major film or tv show! If anyone happens to know Jon Favreau or Dwayne ’The Rock’ Johnson, please let them know I’ve got a book with their name on it! 🙂
Get The Adventures of Rockford T Honeypot today!