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?  twitter

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?