This post has got me very excited for a couple of reasons. The First is that is my first joint book review with junior. It has been great sharing our thoughts about this book. The second is that is the first author interview that I have done and with luck not the last. I am also excited to introduce this first time author to you. I hope that you enjoy this post as much as I did writing it.
The Giant Bowl of Chocolate by Marion Lucy Illustrated by Nathaniel Eckstrom
Lazy Book Reviewer Jr.
The giant bowl of chocolate is a great funny book, aimed at kids around 2 to 6 years old. It is a great book to read when you're feeling down or just want to read. Its got all the right qualities that a children's book needs which means it’s short and easy to read. Packed with humour, adventure and a bit silly stuff I loved it. When I read it immediately the thought this book is perfect popped into my mind
Lazy Book Reviewer
Marion Lucy has hit the mark with her debut book delivering a charming tale that dances off the page at you. Combine this with the slightly quirky artwork and the tale of one girls quest to find a big bowl of chocolate and this book delivers the goods. This is one childrens book I wont mind telling again and again to my children.
LBRJr: How did you come up with the idea of a big bowl of chocolate?
Marion: I used to make up stories for my kids every meal time to keep them still. The stories were always random things that came into my head and one morning a big bowl of chocolate just happened to be one of those things. I think my girls were eating porridge at the time and I was imagining what their ultimate breakfast might be. The rest of the story followed on from there.
LBRJr: What would you do with a big bowl of chocolate?
Marion: I love this question. First of all I'd ask lots of friends and family over for chocolate fondue and chocolate banana cheesecake. Then I'd put an ad in the paper asking people to come around with their mugs, ladles and containers to eat up the rest of the chocolate. I'd ask them all to donate a gold coin for the chocolate and I'd donate this money to charity. Then I'd turn the empty bowl upside down, cut windows and a doorway into it and make it into a cubby house. What would you do ?
LBRJr: Um....I would eat it!!!!!!LBR: Have you always wanted to write a children’s book?
Marion: I think I've always wanted to write in all kinds of genres and for all different ages. I probably fell (back) in love with picture books when I had kids and started reading to them. I freelance in other genres but I do particularly like the idea of writing children's books.LBR: Did you find it difficult to get the book published?
Marion: No, luckily. But it took me a long time to get the courage to send it out. I made the story up about six years ago. Then three years later I sent it into a competition that gives feedback to the writers. I didn't win but it scored quite well. So I re-wrote it (taking in some of the advice) and eventually sent it to a publisher.
LBR: Was the artist someone you knew? If not how did you end up finding him?
Marion: I didn't know Nathaniel Eckstrom at all. JoJo (my publisher) provided me with a list of possible illustrators and after checking out their websites I asked if they could see if Nathaniel was interested. Luckily for me (I'm a very lucky person) he took it on. I really like his style- he is creative, quirky and a little retro.LBR:Did you give Nathaniel complete artistic control and did you have an idea of how you wanted the book to look?
Marion: Nathaniel called me to get an idea of what I did and didn't like. I was pretty vague. I basically said that I trusted him - just go for it. The funny thing is I am quite picky about images in picture books but I'm not an artist, I don't really know how to describe my preferences. I didn't have a clear image of how I wanted it to look but when I saw Nathaniel's rough drafts they seemed just right.
LBR: What do your children think about you having this book published?
LBR: Do you have any set goals you would like this book to achieve?
LBR: Do you have any advice for other authors wanting to get books published?Marion: I've had a few people ask me about getting picture books published recently and they've been surprised that I didn't have to have the story illustrated prior to sending it in. It's my impression that many publishers are happy to receive the text alone. They often have their own list of illustrators that they can call on. Other than that (and this is probably all obvious): try and get some feedback from a writing group or similar. Edit your manuscript many, many times and make sure the manuscript is as professional as possible. Try and find the most appropriate publisher you can for your work and adhere to their submission guidelines. And once you have sent something in- get on with your next project, don't put all your energy into waiting for a reply. If it is accepted - bonus! But if not, re-work it if necessary, send it somewhere else and get on with your current project which is hopefully keeping you inspired.
LBR: Will we see more children’s books from you?
Marion: I hope so! I have four more picture book texts ready to go and a fifth in the pipeline. One has been accepted by The School Magazine (produced by the NSW Education dept) as a short story. I'm hoping once that appears in print I can see if anyone is interested in it as a picture book. I also have ideas for older children. I really like the age of ten. It was the year I truly fell in love with books - and with writing - so I'd like to give that age a go. I have non-fiction ideas too.LBR: In hindsight would you have gone about creating the book and/or getting it published differently?
Marion: I would probably fiddle around with the words a bit; I can see how some might grate on my nerves once I've read it out loud a dozen times. But overall - no. JoJo are lovely to work with and Nathaniel was great.