Today is the official release day for Catriona Hoy's new picture book George and Ghost.
To celebrate the release of George and Ghost, this week Catriona Hoy is on a blog tour. On this auspicious occasion, the official release day, I have the privilege of interviewing Catriona about the idea for George and Ghost and how this idea became her latest picture book.
Congratulations, Catriona, on another wonderful picture book and welcome to my blog. Thanks for visiting during your blog tour for George and Ghost.
Hi Robyn, thanks for having me here today to celebrate my latest picture book George and Ghost and....its release day. I'm definitely going to have a champagne today! It's like watching my little girl go to school for the first time...I'm sending this little book off into the big world and hoping it does okay.
I'm sure your little one will be a great success.
I'm also sure my readers would like to know about the birth of George and Ghost. Did the idea for George and Ghost pop into your head? Can you explain the inspiration to us?
George and Ghost was an idea brought about by a combination of living in England and having my children learning science over there. We were surrounded by lots of ghosts and traditions. I loved the fact that the pub just down the road was supposedly haunted and things like Guy Fawkes' Night. There were articles occasionally in newspapers about ghost hunters and how they would go about measuring paranormal activity. I wondered what a child would make of all that.
Once you realized you wanted to write this book, what did you do next?
Once I had in my mind that I'd like the book to be about a little ghost trying to prove his own existence, I had to think about the kinds of things that could be measured and the kinds of questions that little children would ask. I brainstormed a lot of ideas and kept the ones that I thought would work well visually. I tried to work these around a pattern of threes; I like threes. Three reasons Ghost couldn't exist, and three reasons he might. I had to have my sad page in the middle and my happy page at the end.
Did you have to write many drafts? And how long did the drafts take from idea to submission?
I'm not sure how many drafts I wrote...probably lots of scrappy ideas on paper at first, which I gradually shuffled till they made sense visually and literally. Once I wrote it, it was probably one draft which I continually refined.
I must say, it was edited quite severely! When I sent it off to the publisher, it came back half the size, with a lot of my science teacher extraneous stuff taken out. I wanted it to have a section called "big ideas for little people" at the end but that ended up on the cutting room floor too. The editor and I decided that it could form the basis for curriculum notes, which it now has.
Here is a link to the curriculum notes: http://www.catrionahoy.com.au/George_and_Ghost_curriculum_notes_1_.pdf
How did writing George and Ghost compare with your first published book?
My first published book was My Grandad Marches on Anzac Day. I guess I did a lot more research for that one and checked out the text with the RSL to make sure they were happy with it. In the end that was a good move as they have been really supportive of the book and were one of the reasons for its successful promotion to schools. Like most of my picture books, I carried Grandad around in my head for a while, but sat down to write it eventually in one long slab. Then it went through many drafts.
George and Ghost was more of a progression because I had to fit together some fairly complex ideas, while making them seem simple. I was also more confident about what I was doing. I know the kind of structure that I like to use. In fact, most of my books have the same pattern....look for those threes!
What was the hardest part about writing George and Ghost? And what was the easiest part?
Definitely getting those complex ideas to hang together and flow. The easiest part...the characters came really easily and I could see them in my head. I was so pleased to see Cassia's roughs, as Ghost looked so lovable.
Is there any advice you'd like to pass on to aspiring writers?
Learn as much as you can, network, join SCBWI and read, read, read. Be critical of your own work and don't fall into the trap of thinking that just because your friends like it, a publisher will.
You need to find out what else is on the market like your book and tell a publisher why yours is different and better and why it will sell. And be positive about rejections. We all have them and it's nice to have a group of like-minded friends to share with.
Thanks again for visiting my blog today, Catriona, and sharing with us your journey in writing George and Ghost. We wish you every success with your latest picture book and all your future books. Congratulations!
Title: George and Ghost
Publisher: Hodder (UK)
Publication Date: Nov 2010 (UK) March 2011 (Aust.)
Author: Catriona Hoy, http://www.catrionahoy.com.au
Illustrator: Cassia Thomas, http://www.cassiathomas.com
ISBN: 9780340988855 (hardback)
George and Ghost are friends, but George isn’t sure he believes in Ghost anymore. How can Ghost prove to George that he is real?
A delightful tale of friendship, with a little bit of science and philosophy thrown in. Guaranteed to be the starting point for many interesting discussions.
George and Ghost Blog Tour Dates:
Mon 7 March 2011
Claire Saxby's Blog - http://www.letshavewords.blogspot.com
Topic: Art vs science
Tue 8 March 2011
Alphabet Soup Magazine Blog - http://soupblog.wordpress.com
Topic: Does a picture book need editing? How do you work with your editor?
Wed 9 March 2011
Trevor Cairney's Blog - http://trevorcairney.blogspot.com
Topic: Writing journey
Thur 10 March 2011
Robyn Opie's Blog - http://www.robynopie.blogspot.com
Topic: Writing George and Ghost
Fri 11 March 2011
Book Capers Blog - http://content.boomerangbooks.com.au/kids-book-capers-blog/
Topic: Ghosts? Do you believe?
Sat 12 March 2011
Chris Bell's Blog - http://christinemareebell.wordpress.com
Topic: Writing picture books
Mon 14 March 2011
Lorraine Marwood's Blog - http://lorrainemarwoodwordsintowriting.blogspot.com/
Topic: In conclusion…