Today I am delighted to welcome Tania McCartney who is here as part of her fabulous blog blast, a magic day of celebrating her new book. Welcome, Tania – and over to you.
Tottie and Dot, illustrated by Tina Snerling, EK Books, September 2014.
2. Why did you write the book?
Like the inspiration behind most of my books, it was just a random thought while observing children and the way they interact with and view the world. I love that children are not yet conflicted by such challenges as ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ but they can be nonetheless competitive. I toyed with the idea of having two girls compete with each other by creating the prettiest, most outlandish, crazy-pants house—and the idea just grew from there. It ended up being a lot of fun.
3. How long from idea to publication?
I wrote the first draft back in 2010, and pottered with it on and off for the next two years. In 2012, I submitted a revised version to the CYA awards and received some wonderful feedback from the judges, so felt inspired to rework it again. I submitted it to EK Books in April 2013 and it was accepted within weeks. Tina and I finished production in January 2014, so I guess it was around 3.5 years all up. Never fast!
4. What was the hardest thing about writing it?
Ensuring it wasn’t didactic. There is no direct, conscious messaging in this book. It’s become a book crafted purely for entertainment purposes and I hope the end result—the drama, the action, the stunning illustrations—are just a lot of fun for kids. Despite my intentions, however, some strong messaging has still come through, with themes such as friendship, inclusion, self-respect, and appreciation for what we already have.
5. Coolest thing about your book?
The illustrations. They’re just fantasmagorical. Sorry, but they are.
6. Something you learnt through writing the book?
How important it is for authors and illustrators to work closely together. Tina and I already had this experience with An Aussie Year, but the Tottie and Dot experience really cemented the fact that a close collaboration can’t be beat for seamlessness and a finer narrative dance. I changed text for Tina. She altered illustrations to more powerfully impact the text. We liaised, laughed, bubbled with ideas, and came up with new concepts and nuances that took the book to a whole other level. EK Books are fantastic to deal with and entrusted us with so much.
7. What did you do celebrate the release?
Champagne! Always champagne. I’m almost teetotal now, so it’s the ultimate indulgence.
8. And how will you promote the book?
This Blog Blast! It runs all day today and we’re also visiting DeeScribe for Tuesday Tips on 9 September. I’m hosting a book launch party at Dymocks Canberra today at 11am and we’re running a Tottie and Dot Drawing Competition, too (closes 7 October 2014) . It’s for kids aged 12 and under, and they can win an exclusive prize pack.
9. What are you working on next?
I’m working on a picture book on the life of a famous Australian, but I’m illustrating it, too. It will be the second book I’ve illustrated this year and will be mixed media. It’s been unbelievablyrewarding and exciting, most especially because this person was an artist/designer—very inspiring. I’m also working on some new junior fiction and loads of and loads of illustrations, some for my 52-Week Illustration Challenge (which will be exhibiting publicly in Perth next March!).
You can find out more about me at www.taniamccartney.com and Tina at http://www.theloop.com.au/tinasnerling/portfolio. Tottie and Dot have their own website … www.tottieanddot.com, with links to purchase. You can see the full tour Tottie and Dot Blog Blast schedule on my blog at http://taniamccartney.blogspot.com.au/2014/09/tottie-and-dot-blog-blast-schedule.html and also catch snippets and updates while you’re there. Tottie and Dot can be purchased from all good bookstores Australia-wide or online. And if there isn’t a copy at your local bookstore, just ask them to order it in!
Thanks for calling in, Tania. You can follow the rest of the blast by visiting this link.