Wednesday, 7 November 2012

The Next Big Thing

Blogging is something that i am not very good at remembering to do really, but last week I was asked by lovely Lari Don to be one of her authors to pass the blog-baton onto, as part of The Next Big Thing. The idea behind this is to spread the word about as many writers as possible. I have three to pass onto, two of whom are illustrators like me. 
I am primarily an artist, but telling stories visually has taught me a lot about writing and I am now giving it a go myself. 
I couldn't pass up the opportunity here to mention the amazing Vivian French (my adopted Edinburgh Mum) who has not only had hundreds of books published, but also taught me everything I know about working as a visiting illustrator in schools and libraries and book festivals. She is the best. I would've asked her to be one of my authors to pass the questions onto, but I am sure she is far too busy, and has probably been asked by everyone!

So are the questions, and my answers.

. What is the working title of your next book?
Basil. It is about a rabbit. And that is all I am saying at the moment. I didn't know what to call him so I googled "good names for rabbits" and that was a suggestion.

. Where did the idea come from for the book?
I have had an idea in my head for a picture book about a rabbit since I graduated from my Illustration masters course in 2007. My brother always wanted a pet rabbit when he was wee, and he got one. He was called Carrots and my mum still has a scar on her finger where he bit her.

. What genre does your book fall under?
Picture books. The pictures are the easy bit.

. What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Well...since my characters are animals and the only way Basil would become a film is through animation, I guess I would need a voice actor. My choice would be Peter Serafinowicz.

. What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
A counting book seen through the eyes of an adventurous rabbit.

. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I am very pleased to be represented by Katherine Ross at Fraser Ross Associates.

. How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
About half and hour. Should I say that?!

. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I'm not a fan of comparison but it always happens anyway. I would say Rosie's Walk and The Cockatoos have probably both inspired me whilst working on this particular book.

. Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Oh! See above! Also, I have worked with Vivian French as a tutoring team at Edinburgh College of Art. I have heard her suggest to many stuck students that they perhaps think about a counting book. I took her advice and I think I have come up with a really sweet story. Thanks Viv!

. What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?
The images are great, even if I do say so myself. 

So now I am handing over to the following awesome people:

Kristyna Litten is one of the most talented people I know in the picture book field, and indeed illustration in general. She is also from Yorkshire and tiny, like me.
Kasia Matyjaszek was previously one of my printmaking students at Edinburgh College of Art. She has a great eye for a character and fun stories that are a little bit dark and wicked.
Suzi Moore is an author of books for children. We met on Twitter and regularly discuss important issues such running and eating. I am excited to read Suzi's new novel which I am hoping she will tell us more about next week...

And of course, you can read Lari's answers by visiting her blog. Lari and I will have a book of Scottish Stories published next year by Frances Lincoln. 


Lari Don said...

I love your answers, and I love the tiny little glimpse of Basil. I also love your honesty in admitting that you took half an hour to write the first draft. I think it's the idea which matters in picture books, and the perfect idea can come very fast! (Though getting all those pesky words right when editing can take a lot longer...) Best of luck with Basil, and also with our Scottish stories!

Cate James Freelance Illustrator & Hand Lettering Artist said...

Thanks Lari!
It's a really good way to read what everyone is up to. Our line of work can be one filled with solitude (apart from when working with hordes of noisy children) so it's nice to build a network of like-minded people.