It’s always a pleasure to have an author drop in to introduce us to their new book – but today we have a special treat because both the author AND the illustrator have agreed to answer my questions. Welcome Jackie Hosking and Marjorie Crosby-Fairall who are here on the first day of their blog tour. Jackie’s answers are in blue, and Marjorie’s in red.
1. Give us the details – title, publisher, illustrator, release date.
Publisher: Walker Books
Author: JAckie Hosking
Illustrator: Marjorie Crosby-Fairall
Release date: 1st July 2014
2. Why did you write the book?
Because I was pretty certain no else had. I knew Julia Donaldson had written the sequel to The Owl and the Pussy-Cat so I thought I’d give an Aussie version a go.
An illustrator usually chooses a manuscript to illustrate because there is an immediate emotional response. With The Croc and the Platypus my first impressions were ‘bouncy’ and ‘joyful’ and images were quick to form in my mind.
3. How long from idea to publication?
I wrote the first draft early 2011 and the book was released 2014 – so 3 years.
Creating a picture book can be a very lengthy process. I’m not certain how long Jackie waited from submission to acquisition, but I think it was over a year. When the manuscript was handed to me, things moved along fairly quickly. I was given a year to illustrate the book but ended up handing the artwork in early because the process ran so smoothly.
4. What was the hardest thing about writing it?
Sticking strictly to the meter followed by Edward Lear in the original poem. That was the test to see if I could write an Australian version, using Australian animals and icons while following the same rhyme scheme and meter.
Initially I was quite intimidated by the idea of drawing the Ute because I have never had much interest in cars. However, when I researched the old Holden Ute, I started to see it as a character with a personality so it became much easier to draw.
5. Coolest thing about your book?
It’s got my name on the front! And of course the illustrations. They are they the coolest thing for sure. Marjorie Crosby-Fairall has taken my story and created a work of art.
One of my favourite things about the book is the final spread with the Croc and the Platypus asleep in their fleece tent. These pages were originally set aside to be part of the Glossary and endpapers. However, the story just didn’t feel ‘finished’ to me so I suggested that we include this wordless spread. Donna Rawlins, the art director at Walker Books works very collaboratively and was happy to proceed with the idea.
6. Something you learnt through writing the book?
Even after I’d thought it was finished it wasn’t. Fresh eyes helped me to improve it. Fresh eyes are critical.
I really enjoy the collaboration process so I think I learned more about working with the editorial team.
7. What did you do celebrate the release?
There were two book launches. A local one at Great Escape Books in Airey’s Inlet and a Sydney one at The Children’s Bookshop in Beecroft. Both events were wonderful with the bookshops going that extra mile by dressing their windows with books and crocodiles. And the children of course were delightful! I was also invited to join a panel at a recent SCBWI conference where I discussed, along with the illustrator and Walker Books’ staff – the journey the book had taken from idea to publication.
Luckily for us, the recent SCBWI Conference coincided with the release of The Croc and the Platypus so we were able to participate in a panel ‘From Submission to On the Bookshelf’. The panel showed the progress of a picture book from submission and acquisition through editing, illustrating, publishing and marketing and used The Croc and the Platypus as a case study. In addition, we held book launches in our local bookshops.
8. And how will you promote the book?
By visiting blogs, likes yours. By doing school events, bookshop readings and signings, library events, interviews, running competitions and giveaways.
Jackie and I will be participating in a Blog Tour. In addition, we each have promotional days with Bookshops, CBCA, and schools. We developed a website for the book and have included Teacher’s Notes and free downloads.
9. What are you working on next?
I’m always writing poetry and I have a few of those in the pipeline. I’m also working on more picture book ideas, I have lots of those but mostly I’m enjoying today, with this book. Always best to live in the moment I think.
I have two different picture books at different stages on my desk at the moment.
10. Where we can find out more about you and your book?
You can go to the Walker website – here
You can visit my website: crosby-fairall.com
or the website for the book: thecrocandtheplatypus.com