Saturday, 22 March 2014

Author Blog Hop-Hoppity-Hop

Emily on the cover of her inspiring autobiography
'Finding My Voice'
I've been tagged on a blog-hop by my good friend and fellow children's author, Emily Lim

Emily is the author of many picture books including Prince Bear & Pauper Bear, A New Home for Kai Kai and Jia Jia, and her most recent creation Tibby the Tiger Bunny. She has also won many awards including the MDA first time writers award in 2007, Mediacorp Woman Award Honoree in 2013, and 3 IBBY awards in between.

Emily and I first met at the 2013 Asian Festival of Children's Content in Singapore. Emily had been selected as the first Singapore Representative to attend SCBWI WA's Rottnest Retreat, in a new exchange program with the Singapore Book Council. I had been attending the Rottnest retreat since 2010 and as I would also be there in 2013 I introduced myself and gave Emily some tips as to what to pack for the chilly wintry weather (a beanie, warm PJs etc).

While we were at Rottnest our friendship consolidated on the dance floor and strengthened further when, on our return to Singapore we formed a critique group and met for regular writerly discussions over lunch.

Read Emily's blog, Mum Mum's the Word, HERE.

Thank you for tagging me Emily.

Now it's time for me to answer the blog-hop questions.

Q1; What am I working on?

Well, my current work in progress has been put aside temporarily while I promote my new book Darcy Moon and the Deep-fried Frogs.

Who knew there would be so much to do! 

The book was released by Fremantle Press just a few weeks ago and I've been on a major learning curve on (apart from writing) what an author does. I've already done a heap of interviews via phone, email and skype and I'm now preparing for my first ever radio appearance next week - yikes!

I've also been doing school visits at the Australian International School (750 kids over 15 sessions in 5 days) and am planning a book launch at the Arts House in April. It's a free event and there will be cake, so if you live in Singapore, please do come and help me celebrate.

I've also been having fun blogging on my brand new website  Please do check it out.  It is a great place for kids to research their science homework.  And it has fun stuff too, like crazy drawings and swamp animal cartoons by Michael Scott Parkinson, so kids can research interesting facts and have a laugh at the same time.

Q2; How does my work differ from others in its genre?

Darcy Moon and the Deep-fried Frogs is fast-paced action-packed fantasy/adventure story with more than its fair share of slimy frog jokes. Its crazy characters and over the top lot plot will appeal to readers aged 7 to 12, but what makes this story different is that it also deals with some serious themes such as the impact of humans on the environment, endangered species and sustainability - albeit in a fun and friendly way.

Q3; Why do I write what I write?

As a child, the adventure, friendship and laughter I found inside the pages of a book added magic to my life. These days I write to entertain, excite and inspire children like the child reader I used to be.
And I’ve also always been drawn to nature, especially the slimy bits. When I was small, I used to love snails and earthworms. I also remember collecting dead flies from windowsills and peering at them through the school microscope. I was fascinated by their alien eyes and strange, hairy legs. I drew them in a sketchbook and labelled all their body parts.

So I suppose I was always going to write an environmental book. Darcy Moon is a culmination of my two loves. Stories ... and mud!

Q4; How does my writing process work?

I don't plan my work. It evolves. I write every day and I scribble in notebooks and I spend a good deal of my time talking to my imaginary characters. I put them in different scenarios to see what they will do, so I suppose my plot is very much driven by the characters I create.

I certainly had no idea when I started Darcy Moon and the Deep-fried Frogs how the plot would play out. I knew my main character would be an adventurous tom-boy with an affinity for nature, and I had a vague idea that the problem would be environmental. But the rest just evolved as new ideas came to me.

My writing process can be summed up by two simple quotes from E.L. Doctorow;

“Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing.” 

“Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” 

So now it’s my turn to tag 3 other authors (who will answer the same questions) as they hop on;

Dianne Touchell

I first came across Dianne when I fell in love with her hilarious and heartbreaking debut novel Creepy and Maud. I immediately looked her up and asked to be her facebook friend. She accepted and I have thoroughly enjoyed reading her entertaining posts and insightful blogs ever since. 

Read Dianne's blog, Swallows in the Eaves, HERE.

Gavin Latz

Gavin isn't exactly an author (as yet), but he is certainly a writer to watch. His blog, The World According to Garv (read it HERE), is not what you would expect from a Financial Planner. His posts cover topics from fatherhood to mortality and are insightful, laugh-out-loud funny and quite often heart-wrenching. So much so that one of his followers (who just happened to be the boss of 'Financial Writer's Australia') approached him to write for her magazine and add more 'humanness' to the industry. Fantastic!

Myra Garces-Bacsall

Myra is one of the most inspiring, intelligent and well-read women I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. Myra is a clinical psychologist and coordinates the Masters and Bachelor's Program in High Ability Studies and Gifted Education at the National Institute of Education, NTU is Singapore (among other things) and her blog, Gathering Books, is dedicated to YA and children's literature.

From author/illustrator interviews, to book reviews and more, read all about it on Myra's blog HERE.