Theo and Sprout by Joseph Gergen

GENRE: Literary Fiction (YA)



While Theo longs for some guidance through the perils of adolescence, the guidance he knew his family wouldn’t give him, he isn’t prepared for Sprout, his inner Divine Feminine, to present herself and offer it to him. In fact, he doesn’t appear to have a choice since Sprout, sassy and confident about her presence, won’t go away.



SPROUT. My brother had no idea the impact the nickname he derisively gave me would have. Neither of us knew how unwittingly appropriate it would become. Was it destiny or self-fulfilling prophecy? I don’t know. Memories and dreams and possibilities like to mix together. As far as my past is concerned and the makeup of who I am and what shaped me, I can make no distinction between memory and reality and dream. I usually don’t try.

While I certainly don’t remember all of my childhood, and many aspects are densely foggy, I remember with clarity the day my life changed. I was preparing for school in the basement bathroom—the small, cramped bathroom that seemed more like a large porta-potty with a shower than an actual bathroom. Wet towels covered the floor and almost all available surfaces. Countless toiletries jumbled themselves wherever space allowed them to balance or stack. Most of these did not belong to me. They belonged to my collection of brothers and sisters. I had a toothbrush. I knew that. Usually, I found toothpaste. If I absolutely needed a less common toiletry, I picked through a baffling array of products, many of which I had no understanding, until I found something useful.

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Author of “Theo and Sprout”. Born and raised on the plains of North Dakota. Moved to Twin Cities because it’s actually warmer. Enjoy creating in whatever form it takes, including writing, painting, and furniture making. The enjoyment is in the doing. Looking to add a little magic to the world through art.

Other books include “Without a Pang” and “Methane Wars.”

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What group did you hang out with in high school?

I hung out with a group of outcasts who didn’t even fit into the typical outcast groups. One of the guys was the smartest guy in school but didn’t hang out with the nerds . Another guy was the goalie for the hockey team who didn’t hang out with the hockey team. One guy was the biggest guy in school and didn’t play football because he was a gentle giant. I was just super shy and grateful that I actually got to hang out with anybody.  

What are you passionate about these days?

Mind/Body balance. The health of one complements the health of the other. Or the unhealth of one negatively affects the other. I use my mind regularly for work and for writing so I am trying to focus enough on my body to keep it strong so it doesn’t become a hinderance. Functional mobility exercises, stretching and Tai Chi are improving the balance. So I am excited about that because it makes everything easier.

How did you come up for the title of this book?

Well, let’s see. The working title was “Sprout”. It started that way because there were two main characters, Theo and Sprout, but Theo didn’t have a name until the novel was basically finished. When I gave my relatively complete manuscript to my editor, she responded, I love the book and I don’t even know the lead character’s name. Anyway, I came up with Theo’s name after finishing the book.  I actually liked the working title but since Theo and Sprout are essential co-main characters I wanted them both to get top billing. I suppose I was influenced by other great books that had title of characters. The sub-title came from wanting highlight the connection between Sprout’s name and the theme of growth in the book, which was also highlighted by the chapter names, which all reference phases  or activities in the lifecycle of a plant.

What is your favorite scene in this book?

That’s a tough one. Many of the scenes are special in their own ways for me. My favorite scene in “Theo and Sprout” might be when Sprout confronts the biggest sexist jerk in the school. It was courageous and harrowing. She used the confrontation to show Theo that it wasn’t okay for boys to treat women like objects. To show him what that felt like to be treated that way so he could remember and never be like that.  

If you were to write a series of novels, what would it be about?

I think it would have to be about a quirky detective. I’d end up stealing all kinds of stuff from Sherlock Holmes and Dirk Gently Sam Spade. Sprinkled with themes from like “Woman in White” or “Turn of the Screw.” Maybe the detective would be a painter who painted all the clues onto a canvas until it started to shape a story and lead him to the answer, like the portrait of Dorian Gray emerging on a canvas.

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