The Ugly Teapot and Author Interview!!!! (MMGM)



Title: The Ugly Teapot
Author: Fred Holmes
Publication Date: 2016
Page Count (PDF): 249
Age Recommendation: 11
How I Came Across the Book: ANOTHER REVIEW REQUEST!!! THANK YOU!!!!!! 🙂 ❤

Fourteen-year-old Hannah Bradbury loved her father so much that she worried about him constantly. After all, he was a photographer who traveled to the most dangerous places in the world.

To allay her fears, each time he came home he brought her silly gifts, each one with supposed magical powers: the Seal of Solomon, the Ring of Gyges, even Aladdin’s Lamp. It was that lamp Hannah found the most unbelievable, for it looked like an ugly teapot. Nevertheless, her father assured her it was real, and made her promise to save her three wishes for something very special.

Then . . . six months later . . . the unthinkable happened. Her father was killed while on assignment to Baghdad. And so on the day of his funeral Hannah did something she never thought she would ever do.

She took out that teapot and gave it a rub . . .

The Ugly Teapot by Fred Holmes is a timeless tale, filled with magic and adventure. More importantly, it will make you believe in the overwhelming power of love. ~ Goodreads


So… My final impression of this book is definitely quirky. One of the strangest books that I’ve read, not that the exact idea or story was weird, just…the book as a whole was weird. And that’s what I like about it! The whole idea of Aladdin’s lamp in a modern day society and it being used to bring back people from the dead was super cool! Though it isn’t the most original idea, how it was executed and told was definitely something that I hadn’t read before! The whole story was basically told in Hannah’s (the MC) POV, but it would occasionally switch from hers to her mother’s. Which was a nice little jolt, because her mother is doing everyday things and Hannah is going on a magical adventure, and you can definitely tell the difference just by the tone and pacing of it! I was never even bored throughout the entire thing either (a mighty feat indeed). It also was extremely funny. I LOLed more than once throughout the book. However, even though I enjoyed the book in general, there are a few things that bothered me. First off, Hannah’s mother! She was so so so mean!!! It was awful! Especially since Hannah’s dad had just died! Argh it was frustrating. The other main thing that bothered me, was that it would have been an absolutely AMAZING adventure story! But some of the descriptions felt just slightly…off. And most of the scenes were rushed and could’ve had more detail. Also, the ending was very strange and I was just like ?????? What? WHAT??? Though the very last part made me question literally everything so…Two Thumbs Up!™

Wish-Worthy Quotes!

It was ragged and raw and very frightening; the kind of scar tough men got in really bad bar fights. Not that Hannah knew anything about bar fights—she had just read a lot of Hemingway.

He stopped on the other side to give her a scowl. “Cause you’re about to get killed.” “B-but, all I s-said was she was a s-small b-bear,” she told him, stammering. “What? —oh, no, not me, I’m not going to kill you.

His courage is legendary. His folks were shooting him out of cannons by the time he was four.” “Your parents were in the military?” Hannah asked Gus. “Circus,” frowned Gus,

What Does the Cat Think?

Shame on you Ilovecupcakes, shame on you

I give this book 4 stars out of 5!

And Now, The Interview!!!!

ME: How did you get into a writing career in the first place?

FRED: I didn’t start out to be a writer. I started out to be a director of films and television. I began writing (teleplays) because I wasn’t a fan of the scripts I was being given to direct. This led to me writing and directing a lot of television—to date, about 250 episodes of TV—mostly children’s and family television, for which I’ve won two Emmys, three CINE Golden Eagles, plus numerous other awards. I started writing novels because one of the feature screenplays I’d written on spec had never been made into a film, and I loved the story so much I wanted to give it a chance at life.

ME: There are lots of objects from mythology and magical items that the main character mentions, what made you choose the Genie?

FRED: I’d always loved the story of Aladdin. Who hasn’t thought how cool it would be to have three wishes and be able to ask for anything they want? In my opinion, having those three wishes trumps the benefits of any other mythological artifact. I mean, if you could wish for anything, what would it be? Most people would immediately think of fame and fortune, but what about loved ones who have died? Wouldn’t it be great to bring them back? When you create a story, one of the most important things you do is give your protagonist a worthy goal. And you would be hard pressed to find a worthier goal than bringing someone you loved back from the dead. So that was what I did with my protagonist, Hannah. I had her wish her father back to life. But doing something so unnatural created a whole other set of sticky issues—and that is where my story kicked off.

ME: You mentioned in your email that this was originally a screenplay optioned by Jerry Molen. How did this story find its way to become a novel?

FRED: While I was writing and directing TV, I was also writing spec screenplays. Writing spec screenplays in Hollywood is a challenge, but I really enjoyed it. One of those scripts was called FIREFLIES, and everyone who read it, loved it. It was optioned numerous times by several high profile producers in LA, one of whom was Jerry Molen. Jerry had won the Academy Award for producing SCHINDLER’S LIST (along with Spielberg and Branko Lustig). I’d met Jerry while I was directing FORGET ME NOT: THE ANNE FRANK STORY at Universal/Hollywood. At the time he was producing THE LOST WORLD, the sequel to JURASSIC PARK, and was shooting nights at Universal while I was shooting days. He invited me to come over and hang out for a couple of nights, so I did, and it was great fun; and then we started collaborating on a TV series for DreamWorks Television. While we were doing that, he read FIREFLIES, loved it and optioned it for a feature film. He tried to get it going for several years, but never could. There are a million reasons why some scripts never get made into films in LA, but then one day a friend of mine at Disney read it and loved it and suggested I turn it into a novel. I’d always been intrigued with the idea of writing a novel, so I gave it a shot, and the result was THE UGLY TEAPOT. Different title, but the same story; and my manager wants to shop it around LA again. Maybe this time it will get made!

ME: You also mentioned that you write and direct TV shows! Was it hard transitioning from writing screenplays, to writing books?

FRED: Truthfully, it was a challenge. As a screenwriter, I never saw myself as a “professional” writer. I know that’s crazy. There are some incredibly talented writers writing television and film. My problem was that I’d never had any writing courses other than the ones you take in school. I was able to write teleplays and screenplays because there isn’t a lot of emphasis on good grammar when writing scripts. Scripts have their own unique structure and style. They’re designed to be shot, not necessarily read, so from that standpoint they’re merely blueprints by which you build the film. So when I came around to writing a novel, I had to reacquaint myself with good grammar, plus I had to learn how to get inside my characters heads and reveal their thoughts and emotions—something you never do in screenplays. In screenplays you only write down what the audience can see and hear, and actors and directors frown on you giving too much screen direction. What has helped me in learning to write novels is that novels have become much more visual and free-form the last few years—they’re more like screenplays. That I love, and I am working hard at getting better at both.

ME: How long did it take you to fully complete the book?

FRED: If you count all of the time I spent on it as a screenplay, plus the time it took me to turn it into a novel…then it took me a LONG time to write. Decades! Interestingly enough, the sequel took me just six months to write.

ME: If YOU got the Genie, what would you wish for?

FRED: Wow, that’s a tough one. I would face the same dilemma as my heroine, Hannah—too many wants with too few wishes. With me, my first wish would be a Sophie’s Choice—who would I bring back from the dead? I have a lot of people whom I’ve loved who have died—my brother for one—and having to choose who I would save and who I would let go would be awful. For my second wish, like my heroine, I would think about all of the diseases I could fix. Cancer, MS, AIDS—there are so many maladies attacking mankind—but the rules of the Djinn say you can only ask for one item per wish, so which disease would I choose? I have no idea. And for my third wish, I would think about wars, accidents, asteroids racing toward us, and of course the elephant in the room—DEATH. Wouldn’t it be amazing to eliminate death from the entire world? Then again, that would create all sorts of other issues—overpopulation, etc. Jeez, thinking about all of this makes my brain hurt! So, in the final analysis, what three wishes would I ask for? I have no idea. What would you and your readers wish for?


Okey dokey then!!! THANK YOU SO MUCH FRED FOR THIS AMAZING CHANCE TO REVIEW YOUR BOOK!!!!! 😀 And I would wish for worldwide infinite peace, awesome ninja skills that lasted forever, and a time machine that never malfunctioned or broke or messed everything up! (So I could stop robbers then steal all of the money they robbed! AND GET THEN NEXT KOTLC BOOKS WHEN THEY CAME OUT MORE IMPORTANTLY:D I’m a true genius, I know)

6 thoughts on “The Ugly Teapot and Author Interview!!!! (MMGM)

  1. warrchick

    Sounds like a fun read, and what an interesting journey the novel took on its way to publication! Best of luck to Fred, and Happy Halloween to you both!

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