Posted in illustrator

Three Quick Questions: Rebecca Cool #12

All through October, Alphabet Soup is celebrating turning three. We have heaps of writers and illustrators stopping by to answer THREE QUICK QUESTIONS and today’s visitor is Rebecca Cool, illustrator of Isabella’s Garden and For All Creatures (both written by Glenda Millard).

Isabella's Garden

For All Creatures

 

1. Where do you like to draw/paint/sketch?

My favourite place to paint is of course in my studio and I often sketch out ideas while watching T.V.

2. Can you name a book you’d recommend to our readers?

Pocketful of Posies: A Treasury of Nursery Rhymes by Salley Mavor published by Houghton Mifflin is a book I recently bought. Each traditional nursery rhyme is illustrated by stitching onto felt—gorgeous!

Pocketful of Posies by Salley Mavor
Rebecca Cool recommends 'Pocketful of Posies' by Salley Mavor

3. Can you offer a word or phrase that kids could use for inspiration if they have illustrator’s block?

Go for a walk.

Find out more about Rebecca Cool—visit her website and read about her on the Walker Books website.

© October 2011 “Three Quick Questions with Rebecca Cool” by Rebecca Newman (Alphabet Soup magazine)

(Psst … see you back here tomorrow, when we’ll hear from author Sandy Fussell!)

Posted in competitions

3rd Birthday Giveaway Day 1

It’s always fun to unwrap a few presents at a birthday party—and since we’re turning three we’ve decided to give away some notebooks and pens to celebrate. All writers need a notebook for jotting down interesting words, snippets of conversation or ideas for the next story or poem. We have one writer’s notebook and pen to giveaway each day for three days (starting today!).

Here’s today’s notebook and pen giveaway. One spiral-bound notebook and a blue pen.

Notebook giveaway Day 1
Win this notebook & pen and get writing!

If you’d like to enter today’s notebook-and-pen-giveaway, there are two steps.

1) Leave a comment on this post, saying how you first heard about Alphabet Soup magazine.

2) Send our editor an email quoting a favourite first sentence in a children’s book you have read, and the book it is from. (Children’s book must be suitable for readers under 12.)

Note: this is not a random draw, we will choose the entry with the first sentence that makes us want to read (or re-read) the book in question!

Some fine print:
We are only able to post the prize to Australian addresses. You are welcome to enter if you live overseas but you will need to nominate a lucky friend or relative in Australia to receive the prize.
Competition opens at 3am on Monday 17 October 2011 and ends on Friday 21 October at  11.59pm. (Times as per Perth, Western Australia)
We will email the winner asking for an address where we can post the prize. If we do not hear back from the winner by 28 October, we will award the notebook to the runner-up of the competition.
Notebooks and pens were purchased by Alphabet Soup’s editor. We have no affiliation with the brands or stockists and have received no incentives from these companies. (Our editor just went out and bought notebooks with inviting-looking covers.)
No correspondence will be entered into regarding the winner. Our decision is final.
Posted in info

Three Quick Questions: Katrina Germein (#11)

All through October, Alphabet Soup is celebrating turning three. We have heaps of writers and illustrators stopping by to answer THREE QUICK QUESTIONS and today’s visitor is Katrina Germein, author of Big Rain Coming and My Dad Thinks He’s Funny.

"Big Rain Coming"  "My Dad Thinks He's Funny"

 

1. Where do you like to write?

I’m not picky. I’ll draft anywhere—on a bus, in a park, beside the sea. I love notebooks with fancy covers and keep a store in my car and my handbag for when I find a few minutes to scribble ideas. When it comes to sustained writing and editing I like to work at a desk with my computer. It doesn’t need to be my desk and it doesn’t need to be very big but it needs to be in a quiet place. I’m not one of those authors who can work with music playing.

2. Can you name a book you’d recommend to our readers?

George and Ghost by Catriona Hoy and Cassia Thomas. It’s beautiful. I love all of Catriona Hoy’s picture books. I’d love to have written them myself!

"George and Ghost"
Katrina recommends George and Ghost by Catriona Hoy, ill. Cassia Thomas

3. Can you offer a word or phrase that kids could use for inspiration if they have writer’s block?

Katrina Germein
Katrina Germein

‘I was the only one with a key.’

Find out more about Katrina Germein and her books—visit her website and her blog.

© October 2011 “Three Quick Questions with Katrina Germein” by Rebecca Newman (Alphabet Soup magazine)

(Psst … see you back here on Monday, when we’ll have the first of our birthday giveaways!)

Posted in info

Three Quick Questions: Aleesah Darlison (#10)

All through October, Alphabet Soup is celebrating turning three. We have heaps of writers and illustrators stopping by to answer THREE QUICK QUESTIONS and today’s visitor is Aleesah Darlison, author of many books including the Totally Twins series and new series, Unicorn Riders.

Totally Twins (cover)Unicorn Riders (book 1 cover)

1. Where do you like to write?

I usually write in my study where it’s quiet and cosy and where I can display photos, posters and props, etc about what I’m writing about.

2. Can you name a book you’d recommend to our readers?

A book I read recently—The 13-Storey Treehouse by Andy Griffiths. Very funny.

The 13-storey Treehouse (cover)
Aleesah recommends The 13-Storey Treehouse by Andy Griffiths

3. Can you offer a word or phrase that kids could use for inspiration if they have writer’s block?

Magic.

Find out more about Aleesah Darlison and her books—visit her website.

© October 2011 “Three Quick Questions with Aleesah Darlison” by Rebecca Newman (Alphabet Soup magazine)

(Psst … see you back here tomorrow, when author Katrina Germein answers our Three Quick Questions.)

Posted in info

Three Quick Questions: Sheryl Gwyther (#9)

All through October, Alphabet Soup is celebrating turning three. We have heaps of writers and illustrators stopping by to answer THREE QUICK QUESTIONS and today’s visitor is author Sheryl Gwyther—her most recent book is Charlie and the Red Hot Chilli Pepper.

Charlie and the Red Hot Chilli Pepper cover

1. Where do you like to write?

I have a study to write in, but I can write anywhere (if I’m in the writing mood). Funny thing, though, the place where I write a first draft reminds me of that time whenever I go there—like on our back deck, where I wrote the first draft of Singing the Wires and the words poured out of my head. Luckily, it’s all good memories.

2. Can you name a book you’d recommend to our readers?

Just finished John Heffernan’s book Battle BoySpying on the Past, written under the name of Charlie Carter. It’s the first in a series of exciting, short adventure books for young readers. Easy to read, gripping and cleverly bringing the past alive when a young boy—Napoleon Augustus Smythe—hurtles back through time and into … the big battles of the past. Lots of techo stuff (and illustrations) to intrigue kids.

Battle Boy (cover)
Sheryl Gwyther recommends Battle Boy by Charlie Carter


3. Can you offer a word or phrase that kids could use for inspiration if they have writer’s block?

Sheryl Gwyther
Sheryl Gwyther

Rather than one word or phrase, I use my ‘Double Trouble Game’—think of two words that are ‘bad roommates’, put them together and ask, ‘What If? I used this method to get the ideas flowing for my story Princess Clown. Also for my work-in-progress, Fangus Fearbottom (fang and banana—yes, bad room mates!)

Find out more about Sheryl Gwyther and her books—visit her website and check out her 4Kids blog, too.

Sheryl’s most recent book, Charlie and the Red Hot Chilli Pepper is available from Pearson Australia.

© October 2011 “Three Quick Questions with Sheryl Gwyther” by Rebecca Newman (Alphabet Soup magazine)

(Psst … see you back here tomorrow, when author Aleesah Darlison answers our Three Quick Questions.)

Posted in info

Three Quick Questions: Cristy Burne (#8)

All through October, Alphabet Soup is celebrating turning three. We have heaps of writers and illustrators stopping by to answer THREE QUICK QUESTIONS and today’s visitor is Cristy Burne, author of the Takeshita Demons books.

Takeshita Demons (cover)The Filth Licker (cover)

 

1. Where do you like to write?

In a café, on my laptop, with a chilli hot chocolate somewhere nearby. I like writing in cafés because it usually means I have two or three hours of uninterrupted time.

2. Can you name a book you’d recommend to our readers?

I usually read action-adventure-fantasy stories, but lately I’ve been trying some different genres. Most recently, I loved Meg McKinlay’s Duck for a Day … it’s quirky and clever and fun. I also loved Warning! Aliens are Invading the School! by Dinah Capparucci—it’s Very Funny!

Duck for a day (cover)
Cristy Burne recommends Duck for a Day by Meg McKinlay
Warning! Aliens are invading the school! (cover)
Cristy also recommends Warning! Aliens are Invading the School! by Dinah Capparucci


3. Can you offer a word or phrase that kids could use for inspiration if they have writer’s block?

Cristy ... and head
Cristy ... and head

“headless”

I like to write scary stories about strange monsters and spooky demons, so “headless” is a great start for imagining a new kind of creature. It opens up lots of nice questions: Why is it headless? Does it miss its head? Does it have any extra bits to make up for its missing head? Is it attacking me? Is it making me a cup of tea?

Find out more about Cristy Burne and Takeshita Demons—visit her website and check out her blog.

© October 2011 “Three Quick Questions with Cristy Burne” by Rebecca Newman (Alphabet Soup magazine)

(Psst … see you back here tomorrow, when author Sheryl Gwyther answers our Three Quick Questions.)

Posted in book reviews

Three Quick Questions: James Foley (#5)

All through October, Alphabet Soup is celebrating turning three. We have heaps of writers and illustrators stopping by to answer THREE QUICK QUESTIONS and today’s visitor is James Foley, illustrator of picture book The Last Viking (by Norman Jorgensen).

"The Last Viking (cover)"

1. Where do you like to draw?

My favourite place to draw is in my room, really early in the morning, while it’s still quiet, before the pets wake up … penguins can be very noisy when they’re hungry, and spider monkeys are incredibly grouchy until they’ve had a cup of tea and some toast.

2. Can you name a book you’d recommend to our readers?

Sam, Grace and the Shipwreck written by new author Michelle Gillespie, illustrated by the incredibly talented Sonia Martinez. It’s coming out this month (October) and looks amazing. It’s the true story of how Sam Isaacs and Grace Bussell saved the crew and passengers of the Georgette when it was wrecked off the South West coast of WA a long time ago.

Sam, Grace and the Shipwreck, recommended by James Foley as a good read!

3. Can you offer a word or phrase that kids could use for inspiration if they have writer’s or illustrator’s block?

” … and that’s why my mum joined the circus.”

Find out more about James Foley and his books—visit his website and check out the official Last Viking blog.

© October 2011 “Three Quick Questions with James Foley” by Rebecca Newman (Alphabet Soup magazine)

(Psst … see you back here on Monday, when author Tania McCartney answers our Three Quick Questions.)

Posted in book reviews

Three Quick Questions: Susan Stephenson (#4)

All through October, Alphabet Soup is celebrating turning three. We have heaps of writers and illustrators stopping by to answer THREE QUICK QUESTIONS and today’s visitor is Susan Stephenson, also known as The Book Chook, and author of Monster Maddie.

"Monster Maddie cover"

1. Where do you like to write?

We have a tree in our garden called the Thinking Tree. There’s a seat at its base where I love to sit, because it’s so peaceful there. I scribble and think, think and scribble, and listen to what my characters have to say.

2. Can you name a book you’d recommend to our readers?

One of my favourite books is Into the Unknown: How Great Explorers Found Their Way by Land Sea and Air. It was written by Stewart Ross, illustrated by Stephen Biesty, and published by Walker Books. I loved its stories about real-life explorers, and also all the maps and foldouts and the fantastic detailed drawings. Find out more about it in my review at The Book Chook. 

Into the Unknown (cover)

3. Can you offer a word or phrase that kids could use for inspiration if they have writer’s block?

I think the very best phrase to use when stuck is “what if … ?” What if my hero falls flat on his face in front of the dragon? What if a raven swallowed the ring? What if the bully has a phobia about grasshoppers? That question has taken my stories in many surprising directions!

Susan Stephenson is a writer who lives about as far east as you can go on Australia without falling off. She loves reading, writing and pretending to be a chicken. Susan writes a blog about children’s literature, learning and literacy at The Book Chook.

© October 2011 “Three Quick Questions with Susan Stephenson” by Rebecca Newman (Alphabet Soup magazine)

(Psst … check back tomorrow, when illustrator James Foley answers our Three Quick Questions.)

Posted in illustrator

Three Quick Questions: Frané Lessac (#2)

All through October, Alphabet Soup is celebrating turning three. We have heaps of writers and illustrators stopping by to answer THREE QUICK QUESTIONS and today we are lucky to hear from Frané Lessac, illustrator and author. Her books include Simpson and His Donkey, Ned Kelly and The Green Sash and many more!

Simpson and His Donkey, illustrated by Frane LessacNed Kelly and the green Sash, illustrated by Frane Lessac

On her website, Frané says “Travelling continues to be a major source of inspiration for my work as I render my impression of a country and its way of life in oil and gouache paintings.”

1. Where do you like to draw/paint/sketch?

I love to paint in my garden studio. I planted bright flowers in primary colours outside the big windows. My walls are covered with art painted by friends and favourite children’s book illustrators. It’s also full of objects that I’ve collected from my travels around the world.

Best of all, my cat and dog come in and join me when I work.

2. Can you name a book you’d recommend to our readers?

I’m a picture book person and enjoyed, Flood by Jackie French and beautifully illustrated by Bruce Whatley. It features a lone cattle dog during the recent Queensland floods.

Flood (cover)

3. Can you offer a word or phrase that kids could use for inspiration if they have illustrators’ block?

Paint as you like, and live happy.

Find out more about Frané Lessac and her books—visit her website and her blog and check out more of her artwork here.

© October 2011 “Three Quick Questions with Frané Lessac” by Rebecca Newman (Alphabet Soup magazine)

(Psst … check back tomorrow, when author Wendy Orr answers our Three Quick Questions!)