Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Ed Vere, Author of Max at Night



Author Bio:
Ed Vere is an award winning and New York Times bestselling writer & illustrator of picture books, which are published all over the world. He lives and works in London... if he's not somewhere else, preferably Mexico.

Title: Max at Night
Author: Ed Vere
Age Range: 5 - 8 years 
Grade Level: Kindergarten - 3 
Series: Max 
Hardcover: 32 pages 
Publisher: Puffin (July 23, 2015) 
Language: English 
ISBN-10: 0723294577 
ISBN-13: 978-0723294573


Tell us about your book:
Max is the fearless mouse catching kitten from NYT bestselling 'Max the Brave'. It's way past Max's bedtime and he's very tired. He's brushed his teeth, he's washed behind his ears and now he just needs to say goodnight to the moon... as all cats do. But the moon is nowhere to be found. Adventures ensue as Max searches through the starlit night.

How long did it take to write the book?
It took about 9 months from beginning to end.

What inspired you to write the book?
Max at Night is the sequel to Max the Brave, I really wanted to write more about Max and to show him in a different light. He was very feisty in Max the Brave, in this book he's still curious about the world, but he's also very sleepy, so the energy is different. This book is a much more poetic, bedtime read. I loved writing it, and particularly loved making the artwork, which has much more of a sense of place... a city at night kind of a space.

Talk about the writing process. Did you have a writing routine? Did you do any research, and if so, what did that involve?
Like most of my books it started the wrong way round... with a drawing. I rarely have a plan, I just draw until I find a character who insists on having a story. Max seems to be insisting on a few stories. I then try to figure it out from there. It would be more logical to start with the story, but I never seem to be able to work that way round. My writing process requires a lot of thinking time, and a lot of observing the world time. To many it may not look like work, but so much of my inspiration comes from looking at the theatre of everyday life (preferably with a coffee in hand), the way people are and how they interact with each other, whether it's a family setting or out in the world.  I almost definitely did not watch any cat videos on youtube whilst reseaching this book... not a single one.

What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?
I hope that my readers get to know and love Max a little more, as well as feeling very sleepy and ready for bed. It's a lyrical and gentle night-time read, full of rich colours and a feeling of warmth & home.

Excerpt from book:
Max steps out into the starlit night. 
'Goodnight Night,' says Max,
'have you seen the Moon?'
But the night is dark and quiet.
'Maybe I'll see Moon if I get a little higher?' thinks Max.

Where can we go to buy your book?
All good bookshops

Any other links or info you'd like to share?
www.edvere.com  twitter @ed_vere.com

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Helen Docherty, Author of The Knight Who Wouldn’t Fight



Author Bio:
Before becoming an author, Helen used to teach Spanish and French. She also has an MA in Film and Television Production. Helen has lived and worked in France, Spain, Cuba and Mexico. She now lives in Swansea, Wales, with her husband, the author and illustrator Thomas Docherty, and their two young daughters. 

Her first rhyming story, The Snatchabook (illustrated by Thomas Docherty), has been translated into 17 languages. In 2014 it won the Oldham Brilliant Book Award in the UK, voted for by school children. The Snatchabook has been staged as a play and also as an opera (by a school in Canada).
Helen’s other books include Abracazebra, Do you Remember? and Ruby Nettleship and the Ice Lolly Adventure, which she co-wrote with Thomas Docherty.

Title: The Knight Who Wouldn’t Fight
Author: Helen Docherty (illus. Thomas Docherty)

Tell us about your book:

Leo is a knight, but unlike all his fellow knights he would rather curl up with a good book than fight. His parents, however, have other ideas, and they send him off to tame a dragon, armed with a brand new shield and sword. Leo packs some books as well, and these come in useful when he runs into a griffin and a troll along the way… But will he be able to tame an enormous, fire-breathing dragon with a story?

How long did it take to write the book?

Once I’d got the idea, the first draft took a couple of weeks to write; but then my editor suggested some plot changes (the first version had an extra character), which took a while longer to resolve. Every picture book text I write goes through a series of drafts; it’s all part of the process. For the US version, I had to change a few of the rhymes because of vocabulary differences – it was fun revisiting the text.

What inspired you to write the book?

Tom came up the idea of a knight who meets a succession of creatures, but doesn’t want to fight them. He passed it on to me to develop the story. Being a bookworm, I decided to give our knight a similar passion, and to tame the creatures he meets with stories about themselves (who wouldn’t like to be the main character in a story?). I thought it would be funny to give him pushy parents who weren’t too happy that their only son was into books, rather than more ‘manly’ pursuits. Of course, they would eventually be won over once they saw how effective his strategy was! I think it’s important for kids – especially boys - to see that there are many different ways to be a hero and gain respect.

Talk about the writing process. Did you have a writing routine? Did you do any research, and if so, what did that involve?

I did do some research into mythological creatures before I wrote The Storybook Knight. In the end, I settled on a griffin, as I knew it would look great visually, and a troll, as this meant I could reference the story of the Three Billy Goats Gruff.  And of course, there had to be a dragon too.

I don’t have a writing routine as such. Usually I work during the day while the kids are in school, but recently I started writing a story at midnight! Sometimes you just have to work when the inspiration strikes. The hardest thing about writing is getting a really good idea, or finding a way into a story.

What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?

Firstly, I hope that people enjoy sharing the book and looking at the pictures together, and find the story fun and exciting. I hope that both the story itself, and the experience of reading it, reinforce a love of books and storytelling. And finally, I hope it makes people think about how problems can be resolved without violence or aggression, and how lots of troublemakers just need a bit of love and attention – and a good story, of course.


Any other links or info you'd like to share?
www.helendocherty.com

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Gigi Sedlmayer, author of Talon, Come Fly with Me



Author Bio:
Gisela (Gigi) Sedlmayer was born on 19 May 1944 in Potsdam, a suburb of Berlin in Germany.
Her family escaped to the West just before the infamous wall went up. They moved around in Germany until finally settling in Munich where Gigi studied architectural drafting and met Albert in 1965, marrying in December 1967. She worked as a civil draftsperson in various private consultancies in Munich.

Since her uncle was a writer, she tried to write short animal stories herself. Nothing further came of it, but she developed a love for the written word and started to consume books.

In May 1975, Gigi and her husband moved to New Zealand. Because of language challenges, she started a handicraft business. As a specialty, she made colourful parrots of which she sold thousands in a few years.

In 1988, they decided to adopt and became adoptive parents of twin girls the year after. They lived in New Zealand for eighteen years and moved to Australia in September 1992.

Two years later Gigi was diagnosed with cancer. After operations and radiation, she withdrew, thinking that she would probably soon be dead, like her friend who died of cancer, but her two little girls gave her the courage to keep going. After a few years, still among the living, her brain started to work again, so she thought, 'Get a grip on yourself and do something good with your life'.

She remembered the time she wrote short stories and got inspired again, seeing her husband Albert writing the story of their adoption. Her English became increasingly better so she pressed on to develop her creative writing. 

Albert taught her how to use a computer and she wrote many short stories. She entered them in competitions and often got very good reports back, which gave her confidence to go on writing. One day the idea for the TALON series came to her and she spent the next several years bringing the story and the characters to life.

She now loves writing and spends most of her time at the computer, developing new story lines. She also loves travelling, 4x4 touring, swimming, gardening, handcrafting, reading, fossicking and enjoys good adventure DVD's or going to the movies.

 Title: TALON, COME FLY WITH ME
Author: Gigi Sedlmayer
ISBN:  9780992339920
Page count: 183 pages
Genre: Children, YA, all ages
Price: Kindle US $ 3.91, Paperback US 17.88

Tell us about your book:
Nine year old Matica lives in a remote village on a dry plateau in the Andes of Peru. She moved to Peru when she was five with Australian missionary and schoolteacher parents. Because Matica is trapped in the body of a two year old, her growth handicap has caused her to be rejected by the local people and they would not accept her into their community or allow her to play with the children.

With patience and a sense of adventure Matica befriends a pair of condors. A strong bond and love develops between them.

Matica rescues the egg the condors, Tamo and Tima, are trying to protect from poachers and nurtures it to hatching. The egg hatches on her 10th birthday and she names the new fledging Talon.

Many adventures unfold, including her finally being accepted into the local community. And something totally unexpected...

This is the beginning of many incredible adventures with Talon and Matica. It is a story of hope, determination and love.


How long did it take to write the book?
That is actually a question, I really don’t like answering, but here it is: I started the book, not thinking of a series at all. It was a short story for competitions. The judges said, it is a good story. And so I worked on it and thought, I could do a book out of it and even make a series. And so it started. All in all, the first book took me more than 15 years to get published with so many rejection letters, that I lost count. Finally I published it with an self-publisher.

What inspired you to write the book?
Surviving cancer and finding myself still alive after two years of just sitting around, but still locked after my two little girls and my husband, Albert, I finally came to my senses again. Since I couldn’t work at a traditional job any longer, I couldn’t stand or sit too long, Albert, my husband, taught me how to use a computer. I started to write, since there was nothing else for me to do. In the beginning I wasn’t sure, in which language I should write. But then I decided to write in English, since my English became better and we live in an English-speaking country. 
I wrote many short stories and entered them into competitions and often got very good reports back, which gave me confidence to go on writing and inspired me to go on. One of the short stories was about Talon and Matica. Judges from the competition loved the story and so I thought, I could develop a series about Talon and Matica. And so the TALON series came to life. 
I wanted to write a story about a handicapped or challenged girl to show readers what they can achieve if they put their minds not to the negativity (the challenge) but to the positivity (what they can achieve). (As Matica had to learn it as well, and I have done nearly my whole life myself. Being rejected in school as well, I was always an outsider, keeping to myself in the turtle shell, had hardly any friends.) And since I love birds, I decided to let her have a bird. But then came, what bird? And then the idea went even further. What is if she could fly on the bird? That would be something. But to do that, she has to have a disability to be very small. But again, the bird has to be big as well. And there the condor came to my mind. I loved the condors before. Amazing birds. They are the biggest land birds (vulture) on our wonderful earth. And so the story about Matica and Talon came to existence. And then I had to set the scene in Peru close to the great Andes where the condors live. And so it came, that I decided to let her family go to Peru as missionary from Australia.
My motto was and is: “Teaching Children Self-Confidence through Service to Others.” Children today face immense pressure to fit in with their peers. (As I faced in my own life) This pressure is leading to record rates of depression among preteens and teenagers and this to suicide. Parents look for ways to build their children’s self-esteem; however, teens look to their peers and popular culture for acceptance rather than their parents. This puts parents in a challenging situation. Most children of this age group have issues with acceptance and this is explored and resolved in a positive manner within the story line of the Talon series. Matica shows children and teens that they can overcome great obstacles with love, patience and a selfless attitude toward helping others and experience exciting adventure on the way.
I just wanted to let the world know that, when you put your mind to something and really want it, you can achieve it. Matica was rejected by the local Indian because of her disability. She hated that state, but couldn’t do anything against it. As it is in real live. But, there is always the ‘but’. Even that Matica was not always happy, but she tried to be. And so she chose being kind over being right. She had to learn it as well, but she learned it well, as I have as well, because if you think like that, you’ll be right all the time.
A quote from my books: “If you don’t know how to go on in life, whatever it might be, even if you have a disability, find a ‘condor’.” That is just what Matica does in my book, TALON, COME FLY WITH ME. Now she can handle every obstacle…In the beginning Matica acted out of instinct and her own survival. Only so she could cope with the rejection.
And something else: I had to face myself and being the hero in my own books. And as Mira, Matica’s mum, and Matica are saying in my books: ‘Sometimes the worst and greatest problems in life cannot be solved. They can only be outgrown.’ And I have been outgrown them. Many times, I might say and so has Matica. Yep, I certainly am the hero of my story. I am even a hero in how I befriended the condors I named Tamo and Tima. I am also a hero raising Talon, the offspring of Tamo and Time, to the majestic condor he needs to be. I am a hero because of defeating the poachers, defeating my sorrow.
Talk about the writing process. Did you have a writing routine? Did you do any research, and if so, what did that involve?
I spent three full days in a library to get full information about Peru and their people, the land and about the condors and everything else I needed before I started to write the first book. In that time, there was nothing really available on the Internet yet, as it is now. Not even pictures of a condor. But there are now a lot. Love them.
To face myself and the struggles I went through and being the hero in my own books. I don’t have the challenge as Matica has, but different things. I had to struggle nearly all my life. Matica is me. 
And as Mira and Matica are saying in my books: 
‘Sometimes the worst and greatest problems in life cannot be solved. They can only be outgrown.’ And I have been outgrown them. Many times, I might say.
Yep, I certainly am the hero of my story. I am even a hero in how I befriended the condors I named Tamo and Tima. I am also a hero raising Talon, the offspring of Tamo and Time, to the majestic condor he supposed to be. I am a hero because of defeating the poachers, defeating even my own sorrow.
What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?
I let Matica, my main character, speaking in her own voice. It’s best to describe her:
My name is Matica and I am a special needs child with a growth disability. I am stuck in the body of a two year old, even though I am ten years old when my story begins in the first book of the Talon series, TALON, COME FLY WITH ME. Because of that disability, (I am saying ‘that’ disability, not ‘my’ disability because it’s a thing that happenes to me, nothing more and because I am not accepting it as something bad. I can say that now after I learned to cope with it.) I was rejected by the local Indians as they couldn’t understand that that condition is not a sickness and so it can’t be really cured. It’s just a disorder of my body. But I never gave up on life and so I had lots of adventures roaming around the plateau where we live in Peru, South America, with my mother’s blessings. But after I made friends with my condors I named Tamo and Tima, everything changed. It changed for the good. I was finally loved. And I am the hero and I embrace my problem. In better words: I had embraced my problem before I made friends with my condors Tamo and Tima. I held onto it and I felt sorry for myself and cried a lot, wanting to run away or something worse. But did it help me? Did it become better? Did I grow taller? No, nothing of that helped me. I didn’t have those questions when I was still in my sorrow, but all these questions came to me later, after I was loved and was cherished. One day I looked up into the sky and saw the majestic condors flying in the air.  Here and now, I made up my mind. I wanted to become friends with them. I believed if I could achieve that, all my sorrow and rejection would be over. And true enough, it was over. I was loved. I even became famous. And so, if you are in a situation, with whatever your problem is, find something you could rely on and stick to it, love that and do with that what you were meant to do. And I never run from conflicts.

Excerpt from book:
Well, I maybe give some examples what is in my books. There are so many good proverbs I have written in. Here they are: 
“Size is nothing. The heart is all that counts. And you have the best, softest and most caring heart I ever have encountered. Because of your heart, you survived the hardship the Indians have put you through.”
“Be you, yourself, be happy again. Don’t let life pass by you. Don’t look back, look into the bright future. The future is as bright as the promise of God. Smile – it’s the most beautiful attire.”
“I can do it. These four words are the most power-filled words.”
“Let your smile change the world, don’t let the world change your smile.”
“If you don’t know how to go on in life, whatever it might be, even if you have a disability, find a ‘condor’.” 
Not really, for not everyone can find a condor, but whatever they would like to find and love, as Matica loves Talon.
That is just what Matica does in my book, TALON, COME FLY WITH ME. Now she can handle every obstacle…

Where can we go to buy your book?










Any other links or info you'd like to share?


Book Trailer Link: