by Tracy Darlington
Justin Lookadoo Interview
just blown away that God would use a kid who couldn't read or write
well to write a bunch of books that people actually read."
-- Justin Lookadoo
Throw out the word “normal” when the subject turns to author/speaker Justin Lookadoo. From the memorable name to the 6’7” Texas size frame, to the fascinating ability he has to connect with the youth market through live national speaking engagements “Lookadoo” translates into one word: Original. This is obvious in the library of successful books he’s authored--most notable among them Dateable (co-authored with Hayley DiMarco).
When the subject turns to teens and young adults, his is a rare insight into what makes today’s youth “tick.” Lookadoo is, in fact, a certified specialist in the field having served as a Juvenile Probation Officer Crime & Drug Prevention Specialist for 6 years.
I caught up with Justin to talk about his latest book 97: Random Thoughts About Life, Love & Relationships, plus some other goodies:
Tracy: What was growing up like for you?
Justin: Great family. Raised in the church.
Were books a big part of your childhood? If so, what books would you say influenced you most as a child?
None really influenced me much but I can remember lying in bed every night while Mom would read us Little House on the Prairie and the 23rd Psalm.
How did you come to know the Lord?
Natural progression that ignited when a traveling music group came to our church and sang.
Let’s talk about your latest release 97: Random Thoughts About Life, Love & Relationships. What did you try not to do with this book?
Not to be boring.
What’s your favorite entry and why?
The Broken Road. Because that’s the heart and meat of girls.
What was the hardest part about writing 97?
Finding the time.
What exactly did you do as a Juvenile Probation Officer and Crime & Drug Prevention officer?
Developed and implemented school programs.
What was the number one thing you learned about teenagers during that time?
That all kids have the same issues no matter how rich or poor or what their family life is about.
You’re sitting across the table from a teen who’s making bad choices in their life. If you could tell them only one thing what would it be?
I love you just like you are.
You have said, “Everything I do wraps around two themes---identity and purpose.” Can you expound on that?
Everybody has the same 2 questions, “Who am I?” and “Why am I here?” You connect to one of the 2 questions and you’ll make an impact.
What would you say to people who are struggling to find their purpose in life?
What’s the passion in your heart? Go do that.
How did you meet your “loud-mouthed, skydiving, WEIGHT-LIFTING” wife?
She was my waitress. I ordered chicken fried chicken and got a side order of wife-to-go. That’s my baby.
Your book Dateable has been extremely popular. Why did you originally write that book?
Because there are plenty of books out there telling teens not to date so I saw a need to tell them how to date with God’s principles.
What do you hope readers take away from it?
That being Godly is attractive
Ever had any unusual or embarrassing moments during your travels?
Flown into the wrong state.
What would you love to write someday but haven’t yet?
A graphic novel.
Who are some authors you enjoy reading now, and why do you enjoy them?
John Eldredge. Because he’s passionate, powerful and speaks deep truth simply
What most inspires your imagination?
Dr Seuss and a creative family.
You’re at the checkout counter in Barnes & Noble and are purchasing something from the book, music & movie sections. What are you buying?
Books on tape.
Who is Justin Lookadoo?
The man, the myth, the legend in his own mind.
What are two things people might be surprised to know about you?
That I skydive, and I still read Dr .Seuss.
When you’re not writing or speaking, what do you enjoy doing?
Sleeping. Hanging out with my wife.
What did you have for breakfast this morning?
Oatmeal & fruit and scrambled eggs with a tall coffee.
Three things always found in your refrigerator:
Hot sauce, eggs and chicken breasts.
You’re next in line at Starbucks. What are you ordering?
Upside down, extra hot caramel macchiato venti with an extra shot.
What’s left unchecked in your “goals for life” list?
To grow old and sit in a rocking chair with my wife talking about all the cool stuff God did in our lives.
What’s currently in your CD player/iPod?
Family Force Five.
When was the last time you cried?
Anything else you’d like to share with TitleTrakk.com readers?
I’m just blown away that God would use a kid who couldn't read or write well to write a bunch of books that people actually read.
Tracy Darlington is a freelance writer, and her work has appeared in Brio, Breakaway, YS, CCM Magazine, Insight, Susie Magazine, and other publications. She has interviewed countless Christian musicians including Rebecca St. James, Delirious, Newsboys, Leigh Nash, Barlowgirl, Krystal Meyers, Joy Williams, Pillar, Michelle Tumes, and many others. In her spare time she can be found riding horses or listening to music and sipping a Venti 3-shot sugar-free vanilla latte. Visit her online at her blog where she talks about Music, God, dogs and coffee. You can also look her up at Twitter and Facebook.