How We Wrote the Book

"Hubert Invents the Wheel" was inspired by our science-minded dads, Carl and D.J., who in the words of the book's dedication "were always interested in how stuff works."

The story began life as a screenplay (movie script), back when everyone in Hollywood was going around saying, "what we're looking for is a really BIG idea." We'd been thinking a lot about inventions anyway -- particularly our toaster oven, which has never really worked right -- and when we asked ourselves what the biggest invention of all time was, the answer was obvious right away: magic. But since J.K. Rowling had pretty much cornered that market, we chose instead to write about the second-biggest: the wheel.

Our early research revealed that the wheel first appeared in about 3,500 B.C. in Mesopotamia, but probably wasn't invented by any one person, let alone a fifteen-year-old with a pet lizard. So, following the old saying, "never let the facts get in the way of a good story," we did a little inventing of our own — literary style. As a result, although much of the book is factual (there really is such a thing as an onager!), a lot of it is outright lying (like the part where Big Al invents rack-and-pinion steering). Or, as we prefer to call it, "semi-historical fiction."

Long story short, the script didn't get made into a movie, so we turned it into a book. After numerous rewrites and 78 rejection letters, we got an email from the nice folks at Walker & Co. offering to publish the thing, and ever since, our lives have been a mad whirl of parties, parades and proofreading. Well, proofreading, anyway.)

We certainly hope you enjoy the book as much as you would have enjoyed the movie. If you don't, it can always be used to prop up the short leg of a table -- a claim which can't be made by "Citizen Kane" or "Toy Story 2."

If you've already read the book and can't seem to stop thinking about it, we've created a study guide to keep your mind spinning.

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