When Lisa Falkenstern emailed me letting me know about her new book and book signing (it hit the book shelves on Tax Day), I asked if she would tell me how it came about. She said, “This book started a few years ago, when I was showing my editor, Margery Cuyler at Marshall Cavendish (now Two Lions), an idea for a picture book done in steampunk style.
Steampunk, often described as Victorian science fiction, is a genre I love. I had been collecting gears and clock parts for years with plans to use the pieces as still life props. The imagery of steampunk gears, metal machinery and steam engines is so rich and interesting to look at, I thought that the progression from still life to picture book would work well.
“Margery liked my idea, however she suggested an alphabet book. I did a rough dummy, and after the idea was approved, I started work on how I would present a steampunk alphabet. I decided that the individual letters should also be illustrated as though built with steampunk parts. That way they would be part of the workshop setting I was playing with.
Then my husband and I spent a large part of our vacation in the Outerbanks going through the dictionary, selecting which words to use. We had a long list and Margery helped make the final selections. Since the text of the book only featured a single sentence for each letter of the alphabet, I decided to illustrate a background plot in which the two mice are building something in their workshop. Each letter propels the story along until the mice reveal their masterpiece, with the letter ‘Z’, of course.
Once I had the whole concept, I started all the illustrations. I draw and paint from reference materials. First, I collected an immense amount of photographs as well as buying parts of lamps and other objects that worked as steampunk. Then I made models of the mice characters and a model of the steam engine. My husband posed for the mice, which is funny, considering he is six feet, four inches!
I did the roughs of the letters first, and when finished, I added the mice and had them interact with the letters. Then I did final drawings, and finished the book using oil paints.
And that was it!
SAVE APRIL 26TH AND 27TH – LISA’S HAVING A BOOK SIGNING AND EVERYONE IS INVITED!
The Huffington Post featured an interview yesterday on Ginger Heller and her new book, The Kid Who Beat Wall Street and Saved Africa.
Here is the link:
After I read the interview, I emailed Ginger to ask why she was calling her book a YA Novel. Here is her answer:
“I use the YA label only when it’s all that’s available. My book is really a “tween book” for ages 10-14. I have had some success with reluctant readers in 9th grade, (ages 14/15) if it’s presented right.”
My story, trading stocks and commodities on the internet, is a sophisticated one as are the issues with which I deal.
The fact that there is a “dictionary,” in the back of the book (I refer to it as my appendix A, 100 Words of Interest ) helps the reader easily look up some difficult words. The interesting part is that the definition of these words appear in the same grammatical form as they do in the book.
As for how did I get the interview, the writer knew of my book and thought it would be of interest.
Click here to take a look on Amazon. If you have a Kindle you can buy the book for $3.99 or if you are a Prime Member you can read the book for free.
Congratulations! Lisa and Ginger.