I currently have a young reader picture book available from JLB Creatives Publishing co-authored with "Dinosaur George" Blasing. It is my great privilege to call him friend first and co-author second. He is kind and generous. His dedication to children and education is exceptional. Whew! Got all the flattery out of the way up front. Now I can get into the embarrassing stuff. If you don't already know George, I hit him with the hard questions in this interview.
MM: I know this one is a high priority. For anybody that follows you on Facebook, we know you have a "rocky" history with an un-named Ex-Wife and her mother. Can we get intimate for a moment? What inspires these jokes? Have you ever been married?
DG: Ah, my famous mothers in law jokes are truly classics. LOL. I’ve been married twice, but I am not married any longer. Honestly, both of my ex-wives and ex-mothers-in-law were the nicest people you could meet. I have a very good relationship with all of them and I don’t have anything bad to say about them at all. I just like telling jokes about them because it makes people laugh. My biggest worry is that one day they’ll read my jokes and come hunting for me.
MM: That is something I've noticed about you. You definitely like to laugh. That must come from spending all day with hundreds of kids. I wonder what a day with Dinosaur George would be like?
DG: I think people would be surprised to find out that I am actually very quiet when I’m not performing in front of an audience. I don’t like being in large crowds and I stay away from big public events, like sporting events, concerts, etc. I feel like I give all of my energy when I’m speaking to the public, and so I really need some down time to myself to rest up. When I’m off, I often do things by myself just so I don’t have to have a conversation with anyone. I’ve performed live to well over 2 million people in my career, and I would rather speak to a huge crowd instead of a small group. But once I am finished performing, I like going to my hotel room and not going out to see the sights or hang out with friends. It’s such the opposite of what people expect.
MM: Funny that you say "when you are off". It seems that you are constantly working. You are always heading to a school or library. It is apparent that kids and their education are very important to you. When you do get a few seconds of alone time, what do you like to do?
DG: I have three favorite things to do when I’m not working. First, I like to go fishing. I have loved fishing since I was very young, and my favorite place to go is the Texas coast. I like fishing in the ocean. Second, I like to go to my family ranch and look at the wildlife. I study modern animals so that I can learn how they behave in nature. Not only do I find this very relaxing, but it gives me insight into how prehistoric animals may have behaved. And third, I like to go fossil hunting! I’ve had the chance to dig for fossils all over North America. I really like looking for dinosaur bones, but I also like looking for prehistoric mammals too. It is so awesome when you find something cool, like a tooth or claw. Maybe someday you can join me in a fossil hunt. Maybe we’ll find a Tyrannosaurus!
MM: Some people might think that fossil hunting is the only thing a paleontologist does. However, you also consider yourself an educator. Each provides its own challenges. What do you consider particularly challenging?
DG: The most challenging part of my job is convincing some children that some of the things they see on television or on line are not scientifically accurate. The Jurassic Park movies were very exciting and looked quite realistic, but unfortunately they included a lot of things that were not accurate. For instance, Velociraptors were depicted as being taller than a human, when in fact they were actually smaller than a large dog. It’s sometimes difficult to explain to young children that the movie was wrong. A book of fiction, like ours, is made for fun. But we work very hard to insure that the information about the dinosaurs is as scientifically accurate as possible.
MM: Since you mentioned the book (the first of many), let's switch focus. Our first book together is called Ask DG. It is a young reader, which means it is ideal for ages 5 to 10. The concept is based on your YouTube series, Ask Dinosaur George. It is non-fiction and presented in a straight forward question and answer format. I appreciate the opportunity to work with you. It's not everyday that an author gets to write with one of his heroes. It was also a distinct pleasure for me to include some illustrations by my son, Zak. He is an incredibly talented young man (all bias aside). Looking atAsk DG the picture book, what do you want to accomplish with it?
DG: I started the “Ask DG” page of my website about 15 years ago because I wanted young people, or anyone for that matter, to be able to ask questions that they might otherwise not be able to get answered. It started off with a handful of people mailing me letters. I would sit down and answer every single letter I received. But soon it became impossible to answer so many letters, so I began to post their questions and my answers on my website. As word spread about my willingness to answer any and all questions, I began to receive hundreds of questions every month. So then I started filming my answers, because it was easier than emailing my answers. Now I receive as many as 1000 questions a month. I wish I could answer every one, but it’s just not possible. But I hope that by answering their questions, it will encourage people to continue to study paleontology.
MM: It definitely does that. I see it as another opportunity to share your knowledge. It is also a lot of fun to create.
Both the paperback and eBook are available exclusively on Amazon. Readers can get the eBook at this link: http://amzn.to/1fRom8L
Starting November 22nd, Ask DG will be a Kindle Countdown Deal. On Friday, you will be able to get it for ONLY 99 Cents, but that special price only lasts for 35 hours. Then it goes up to $1.99. Finally at midnight on Sunday, back to the usual $2.99 (which is still a great deal!). Put it on your calendar, or get it today.
Dinosaur George and I had such a great time with this interview that it won't all fit in this one post. Subscribe to my blog by so you don't miss Part Two. Up at that top left, you can "Follow by Email".
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Mark Miller Author
Illustration by Zak Miller - Dyoplosaurus Giganteus skullas seen in Ask DG Volume One