Monday, June 4, 2012

Children's Author Catriona Hoy and The Little Dinosaur Blog Tour

 Welcome Catriona Hoy! 

Today, Catriona is visiting my blog as part of The Little Dinosaur Blog Tour.

Thank you, Catriona. It's great to have you here. First of all can you please tell us a little about yourself.

Thank you, Robyn. It's great to be here. I'm a Melbourne based writer/teacher/story teller and mother. I write mainly for children, both books and magazine articles. 

Catriona's latest release is The Little Dinosaur.  
What is The Little Dinosaur about?

That’s a complex question! At its most basic, it’s a story about fossil formation and how scientists recreate the past from a number of different clues. This sounds pretty dry but it’s also the story of one particular small dinosaur, a Leaellynasaur, which existed during the Cretaceous. Back then, Australia was joined to Antarctica and was much further south than it is today. Conditions were quite different to our modern climate. We meet the little dinosaur, then see how millions of years later her bones help us to piece together information about the way she moved and behaved.

So…you kill your major character half way through. Is that a problem?

That’s everyone’s first reaction, lol! I think I do it in a tasteful and sensitive way. I had a couple of problems writing the book. I had to make the reader care about the dinosaur but I had a lot of other ideas that I needed to connect up. So sadly, the dinosaur passes and the world changes and moves on. In a way, the little dinosaur does come back to life at the end and I think it’s quite poignant.

How did you come up with the idea for The Little Dinosaur?

The story began as a series of articles which I was pitching to Pearson’s Comet magazine, now sadly defunct. The theme of the issue was ‘Dinosaur Dig.’ I began by interviewing Lesley Kool from the Monash Science Centre. She is a fossil "preparator’" and her job is to prepare fossil bones by carefully examining and cleaning them. It’s a complex job and Lesley was so enthusiastic I came away with an hour of recorded interview and reams of notes. In the end, Comet took one of my other articles and not the one on Lesley. She inspired me and taught me so much that I was determined to do something to help inspire others. Lesley showed me a number of fossils and one story in particular stuck in my mind. About a little dinosaur’s leg bone that was deformed. This little dinosaur would have been crippled. However, she survived and grew. This tells scientists that she had a herd, as a little dinosaur on her own would have made a meal very quickly.

Is it important to you that this is an Australian dinosaur?

Yes, there is so much material out there on North American and European dinosaurs. It appeals to me that our dinosaurs lived in quite different climates and had different characteristics. While there are other books on Australian dinosaurs, I wanted to make mine accessible to children, so I decided on a fictional picture book. Also, I’m not an expert so I didn’t want to attempt to write something I'm not qualified for.

What did you enjoy most about the writing process for this book?

The fact that I was learning something new. The research process was quite involved and I met and spoke to a number of interesting and passionate professionals. I took my children down to the Dinosaur Dreaming site at Inverloch and wearing two hats at once, that of teacher and writer, I took my year 9 class there for an excursion. I’d have to also say that working with Andrew Plant again was great.

Thanks, Catriona. I appreciate you answering my questions, and all the best with The Little Dinosaur.

Thank you, Robyn, for participating in my blog tour. It's great to visit your blog. Thanks for reading, everyone.

You can find out more about Catriona by visiting her website:

The Little Dinosaur
Catriona Hoy & Andrew Plant

In a time before Australia existed, a little dinosaur with big eyes roamed the Antarctic forests, nibbling on cycads and ginkgoes. One day the little dinosaur fell and hurt her leg. She struggled to keep up with her herd. Time passed and the world changed, but the discovery of the little dinosaur's leg bone millions of years later, meant her life would not be forgotten.

The Little Dinosaur
combines dramatic narrative with scientific fact to tell a fascinating, poignant story.

By the team that created the 2011 CBCA Notable Book, Puggle.

ISBN 978 1921504 29 7
250 x 240 mm
HB 32 pp $24.95
Full colour

The Little Dinosaur
Blog Tour Dates

Wednesday June 6, 2012
Robyn Opie Parnell

Wednesday June 13, 2012
Sheryl Gwyther

Wednesday June 20, 2012 
Tania McCartney

Wednesday June 27, 2012 
Sally Odgers

Wednesday July 4, 2012
Jackie Hosking

The Little Dinosaur
Launch Dates:

Melbourne Sunday 17th June, 2012
Monash Science Centre

Sydney Saturday 30th June, 2012
SCBWI conference

Tasmania Saturday 14th July, 2012


Terrie said...

I love how you presented this interview! Very creative :)

Mike Marinos said...

Hi from Tasmania,
we have enjoyed your blog discussions,
thanks Jan and Mike