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PASS THE BOOK BATON

Catherine CarvellIt’s Friday! And that means it’s time for Pass the Book Baton. Alphabet Soup features a book creator every Friday who will answer one question before throwing a new question to the next Friday visitor. (It’s kind of like a book relay in slow motion.)

Catherine Carvell takes the book baton today. Catherine is an Australian author living in Singapore (but soon heading back to WA!). Her first book is Darcy Moon and the Deep-Fried Frogs, a humorous adventure story about a girl with a mission to save the swamp.

If you like the sound of Darcy Moon you can read a sample chapter of the book.

 

Last week Oliver Phommavanh asked:
What is one thing you’d like kids to walk away with after they’ve read your book?

Catherine answers:
I tried to make Darcy Moon and the Deep-fried Frogs as funny as possible, with lots of disgusting and embarrassing situations to make kids cringe and laugh. So the one thing I’d like kids to walk away with after reading this book is … a smile!

Darcy Moon and the deep fried frogs.


The Smugger's CurseAnd now Catherine Carvell passes the baton to the next Friday visitor — Norman Jorgensen. Norman is the author of many books including The Last Viking, and The Last Viking Returns. His latest book is The Smuggler’s Curse.

Catherine asks:
Your latest book was released in October and what an adventure!
My question to you is, have you based any of  The Smugglers Curse on real life? And if so, which bits are real?
Check in every Friday for questions and answers from children’s authors and illustrators.
See you next week!

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PASS THE BOOK BATON

Oliver PhommavanhIt’s Friday! And that means it’s time for Pass the Book Baton. Alphabet Soup features a book creator every Friday who will answer one question before throwing a new question to the next Friday visitor. (It’s kind of like a book relay in slow motion.)

We’re pleased to feature author Oliver Phommavanh as he takes the baton today. Oliver writes funny novels and short stories, he’s also a comedian and primary school teacher. Oliver’s first book — Thai-riffic — was published in 2010.

Here are some of his book covers:

Last week Deborah Abela left a question for Oliver to answer.

Deborah asks:
In your writing, you have this wonderful ability to create characters that feel real and who I very quickly feel I know and like. Do you know your characters really well before you write or do they come to life as you rewrite each draft?
 xx
Oliver Phommavanh:
It depends on each story that I write. Sometimes it comes to me straight away like in Thai-riffic or Con-nerd and then I just write the draft with the voices of each character fully in my head. Other books, I have a faint voice of what the characters could be like and then I write the draft to build that voice. A lot of my characters are drawn from my own childhood friends and family, but more recently just from observing kids in schools when I visit them. I have a fair idea of what my characters will sound like, so I let them roam around in my head awhile, but some shout louder than others, haha!

Darcy Moon and the deep fried frogs.


And now Oliver passes the book baton to the next author — Catherine Carvell. Catherine is the author of Darcy Moon and the Deep Fried Frogs.

Oliver asks Catherine Carvell:
What is one thing you’d like kids to walk away with after they’ve read your book?

Check in every Friday for a Q&A with children’s authors and illustrators. See you next week!

For other posts featuring Oliver Phommavanh at Alphabet Soup check out:

What’s Funny?

3 Quick Questions and

Meet Oliver Phommavanh

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PASS THE BOOK BATON

Deborah AbelaIt’s Friday! And that means it’s time for Pass the Book Baton. Alphabet Soup features a book creator every Friday who will answer one question before throwing a new question to the next Friday visitor. (It’s kind of like a book relay in slow motion.)

Award-winning author Deborah Abela takes the baton today. Deborah Abela’s recent book, Teresa: A New Australian, was inspired by her dad who was born in a cave in Malta during one of the heaviest bombing raids of WW2. Her latest book is The Stupendously Spectacular Spelling Bee.

You might recognise some of these book covers:

Last week James Foley asked a question:
Do you find that your characters reflect different aspects of your personality? So the heroic characters might reflect your good side, the villains might reflect your naughty side, the protagonists might share your strengths and weaknesses, etc?
 xx
Deborah’s answer:
Dear James,
That’s a great question. My characters are often small versions of people I know or of me … or the me I’d like to be.
In my series, Max Remy Superspy, Max is a young feisty but very clumsy girl who loves adventure … that is pretty much how I was as a kid.
In Grimsdon — my novel about kids living in a flooded city — the hero is a girl called Isabella Charm. She is brave and courageous and very good with swords … she is someone I would very much like to be.
In The Stupendously Spectacular Spelling Bee, India Wimple is a brilliant speller but is terribly shy and lacking confidence … I was also a bit shy as a kid.
 xx

The Other ChristyAnd now Deborah Abela passes the baton to the next Friday visitor — Oliver Phommavanh. Oliver is a comedien and the author of many humorous books. His latest book is The Other Christy.
 xx
Deborah asks:
In your writing, you have this wonderful ability to create characters that feel real and who I very quickly feel I know and like. Do you know your characters really well before you write or do they come to life as you rewrite each draft?
 xx
Check in every Friday for questions and answers from children’s authors and illustrators. See you next week!

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PASS THE BOOK BATON

James Foley photoIt’s Friday! And that means it’s time for Pass the Book Baton. Alphabet Soup features a book creator every Friday who will answer one question before throwing a new question to the next Friday visitor. (It’s kind of like a book relay in slow motion.)

Today author-illustrator James Foley takes the baton. James Foley is a writer, illustrator and cartoonist. He likes working with pen and ink, pencil, charcoal, watercolour, and digital tools. He has illustrated books by other people, and written and illustrated his own books.

He has quite a stack of books behind him now.

Check them out:

His most recent book is the graphic novel Brobot.

Last week AL Tait posed two questions for James. AL asks:

Q. You started out as an illustrator — what made you decide to write In The Lion and Brobot yourself?

A. I’ve always written and illustrated my own stories; it just worked out that my first book was only as the illustrator. It’s easier to break into the industry by working with someone more established, as Norman Jorgensen was. Then I got the opportunity to make In The Lion on my own, which was great. It’s a different experience writing AND illustrating a book yourself, as opposed to illustrating a text written by someone else (as I did with Sigi Cohen for My Dead Bunny) or collaborating with a writer quite closely through the initial process (as I did with Norman Jorgensen for The Last Viking and The Last Viking Returns). Also, when you do the book yourself you get the full royalty … 😉

Q. As an author-illustrator, do you start with the words for a story or start with the pictures?
I usually start with a bit of both — some loose images and a few phrases. I may have a few key scenes playing in my head, but they’re fragments of what the overall story will eventually become. Then I nut out the character designs and the overall storyline at the same time; these two processes feed off each other. A character design may give you a plot idea, and vice versa. Then when the characters and the storyline seem to have settled, I can get started on thumbnails and storyboards, and then final artwork.


The Stupendously Spectacular Spelling BeeAnd now James Foley passes the baton to the next Friday visitor — Deborah Abela. Deborah is the author of many books. Her most recent title is The Stupendously Spectacular Spelling Bee.

James asks:
Do you find that your characters reflect different aspects of your personality? So the heroic characters might reflect your good side, the villains might reflect your naughty side, the protagonists might share your strengths and weaknesses, etc?

Check in every Friday for questions and answers from children’s authors and illustrators. See you next week!


Visit James Foley’s website for more information about him and his books. You can also read earlier Alphabet Soup interviews with James here and here.

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PASS THE BOOK BATON

It’s Friday! And that means it’s time for Pass the Book Baton. Alphabet Soup features a book creator every Friday who will answer one question before throwing a new question to the next Friday visitor. (It’s kind of like a book relay in slow motion.)

Today bestselling author AL Tait takes the baton. AL Tait is the author of The Mapmaker Chronicles — a series full of danger and adventure.

The Mapmaker Chronicles

Last week Paula Hayes posed a question (actually two questions!) for AL Tait. She asks:

Q. Which book in your Mapmaker Chronicles series have you enjoyed writing the most?

A. It’s funny, but kids always ask me which of the three books are my favourite, and I always give the same answer: I love them all. But then, I qualify that answer. I love the first book a little bit more because that’s where I met all of my characters for the first time. As someone who doesn’t plot very much, I’m really watching the story unfold and the characters develop in much the same way as the readers are.

Q. Does creating a series get easier or harder to achieve?
I think the most difficult part of any series is the middle. But then I feel the same way about every book I write — the middle (act two) is the most difficult section to write. I’m in the process of writing a brand new series at the moment and I’ve whisked my way through book one, and am about to climb the mountain that is book two. Writing a series does teach you the value of at least having an outline to work from, even if you don’t plot every detail.


BrobotAnd now AL Tait passes the baton to the next Friday visitor — James Foley. James is an illustrator and an author-illustrator. His most recent book is a graphic novel, Brobot.

AL asks:
You started out as an illustrator — what made you decide to write In The Lion and Brobot yourself? As an author-illustrator, do you start with the words for a story or start with the pictures?

Check in every Friday for questions and answers from children’s authors and illustrators. See you next week!


Visit The Mapmaker Chronicles website for more about AL Tait and her books. You can read an earlier interview with AL Tait at Alphabet Soup, too.

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PASS THE BOOK BATON

It’s Friday! And that means it’s time for Pass the Book Baton. Alphabet Soup features a book creator every Friday who will answer one question before throwing a new question to the next Friday visitor. (It’s kind of like a book relay in slow motion.)

Today Perth author Paula Hayes takes the baton. Paula has one husband, four children, three dogs and five rabbits. She is the author of a YA novel and also a recent children’s novel, Lily in the Mirror, which one of our regular reviewers (Matilda, 10) described as ‘creepy but good’.

Last week Joshua Button and Robyn Wells posed a question for Paula. They ask:

Q. Your character Lily loves all things dark and mysterious. Were you inspired by any real life mysteries, strange events or unusual people?

A. Lily loves all things dark and mysterious and so do I. I like fantasy that is almost scary but not too scary.  The book was inspired by a room in my grandmother’s house full of vintage family treasures. The door would shut behind you but that was because the house really did need restumping and not due to supernatural events. But add a little imagination … and I was in the Rosy Room.


And now Paula Hayes passes the book baton to the next Friday visitor — AL Tait. AL Tait is the author of the bestselling series, The Mapmaker Chronicles. The Mapmaker Chronicles

My question(s) for AL Tait:
Which book in your Mapmaker Chronicles series have you enjoyed writing the most? Does creating a series get easier or harder?

Check in every Friday for questions and answers from children’s authors and illustrators. See you next week!


Visit Paula’s website for more about her and her books. You can read Matilda’s review of Lily in the Mirror on Alphabet Soup’s site.

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PASS THE BOOK BATON

It’s Friday! And that means it’s time for Pass the Book Baton. Alphabet Soup features a book creator every Friday who will answer one question before throwing a new question to the next Friday visitor. (It’s kind of like a book relay in slow motion.)

Today we are lucky to have two visitors at once! Joshua Button and Robyn Wells collaborated over ten years to create their recently published picture book Steve Goes to Carnival.

Joshua Button and Robyn Wells.

Joshua Button and Robyn Wells.

Joshua Button is an Indigenous artist from Broome. He is descended from the Walmajarri people of the East Kimberley in Western Australia. He first worked with Robyn in a literacy program at primary school that resulted in the picture book Joshua and the Two Crabs. Robyn has a degree in Fine Arts and has lived in the Kimberley for many years. She is passionate about enabling young people to express themselves through language and art.

Kathryn Apel posed a question for Joshua and Robyn. Kathryn asks:

Q. I read that you collaborate for hours over the kitchen table. Can you describe your process — and how you came to form this wonderful working partnership?

Joshua answers:
Robyn and I help each other a lot with the artwork. Robyn often cuts out stencils and does the background textures with sponges. Then I usually use black drawing ink to paint the characters or animals over the background textures.

Robyn and I research the animals and characters together. We look at the size and shape of the animals, the structure of their bones and the texture of their fur. Sometimes we take photos of people we know in Broome to base the drawings on — we study the colour of people’s skin, how they are standing, the expressions on their faces and what clothes they are wearing.

Robyn and I work really well together. We don’t have any arguments — working with someone else means it takes half the time to finish the work!

[Here are some photos of Joshua Button and Robyn Wells working together. Thank you to Magabala Books for permission to use these photos.]

Joshua and Robyn creating a picture book together.

Joshua and Robyn creating a picture book together.

Joshua working with ink.

Joshua working with ink.

 


 

LILY IN THE MIRROR by Paula Hayes.

And now Joshua and Robyn pass the book baton to next Friday’s visitor — Paula Hayes. Paula is the author of the novel Lily in the Mirror.

Our question for Paula Hayes is:
Your character Lily loves all things dark and mysterious. Were you inspired by any real life mysteries, strange events or unusual people?

Check in every Friday for questions and answers from children’s authors and illustrators. See you next week!


Visit Magabala Books for more information about Joshua Button and Robyn Wells and their books. You can read a recent review of Steve Goes to Carnival here on Alphabet Soup.

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