In Conversation with Sonia Bestulic and Nancy Bevington

#ReeceGiveMeSomePeace #blogtour #BooksOnTour #Day8

What a pleasure to discuss the behind-the-scenes secrets into making Reece Give Me Some Peace! and its exciting journey ahead, with special thanks to two talented creators, Sonia Bestulic and illustrator Nancy Bevington! 🌟🌟


Hello ladies! Thank you both for joining forces to talk about Reece Give Me Some Peace today! Congratulations on your gorgeous book! How would you describe the process? How much collaboration was there between you?

Sonia (SB): Thanks Romi for this opportunity!

The process of putting Reece Give Me Some Peace! together was certainly a smooth one. Big Sky Publishing was great at liaising between us, essentially facilitating the process. I answered a number of questions, to formulate a brief for Nancy to work from, and this gave her a basis to start putting it all together. The publishers sent through the illustrations at various stages for thoughts and feedback; and this was from the initial pencil sketches of the characters, to more detailed pencil sketches, and then eventually the coloured illustrations of the first few pages etc. Nancy pretty much nailed the brief from the outset, so it made for a smooth process.

Nancy (NB): Hi Romi, from my perspective it was a very smooth process, both Sonia and Big Sky were a dream to work with. The brief was detailed, but they gave me the flexibility to put my interpretation into the mix. As Sonia has said, I made sure everybody was happy along the way, from initial concepts through to the final illustrations.

Sonia, what were your initial thoughts upon receiving the first images / sketches from Nancy? Did she capture your story as you had imagined?

SB: I actually found it quite emotional seeing the first sketches; I had tears in my eyes seeing how Nancy brought the story to life – she is one very talented lady. She absolutely captured it as I had imagined, and created such an amazing personality for the book.

    

Nancy, what were your initial thoughts upon receiving the manuscript for the first time? Do images immediately emerge in your mind or does it take time to develop?

NB: FUN, FUN, FUN. They story leaped off the page. I immediately had a visual in my head for Reece and Mum. I had to modify the two main characters slightly after submitting my first pencils, but from there everything was full steam ahead. The music, the chaos, Mum’s frustration all called for bright colours and lots of movement. To accentuate the confusion I introduced a cat, hiding, jumping and finally sleeping. I tend to work on a book by firstly scribbling out all the pages very loosely, in fact when I go back to rework them sometimes I even have difficulty recognising what I have put down on the page! By working this way, I can maintain flow, continuity and be sure the story comes to life. I then take those very loose drawings and work on them to produce the thumbnails for approval.

Do you share the role in marketing your book, or do you have your own individual strategies? How do you go about promoting your book via social media and face-to-face presentations?

SB: We have individual strategies; I use social media, mainly Facebook and Instagram for general profile building and promotion of the book. In terms of face to face presentations, in recent months I have been presenting school readiness seminars to parents and educators within the local community, and within this I speak a lot about how to develop oral language and pre literacy skills, including the use of books as a tool to do this. I have incorporated Reece Give Me Some Peace! within these presentations. I will also be doing  Author visits/ story time combined with parent/carer talks within various libraries.

NB: I too will be using social media and also place the book on my website. I am looking into having an exhibition of my illustration work and Reece will of course be part of that.

What is your favourite part of Reece Give Me Some Peace, and why?

SB: My favourite part of Reece Give Me Some Peace is the crescendo or climax point of noise that occurs as Reece’s mum stomps to his room – I think it is a point that many parents can relate to when they feel they just aren’t being listened to by their children! Also, it is this part of the story where his mother’s frustrations are at a peak; in time with the peak of noise coming from Reece’s room. The dynamics of the story parallel the dynamics that occur in a classical piece of music.

NB: My favourite pages are where Reece is playing the violin and Mum has her fingers in her ears. I think Mum’s reaction says it all, the noise and energy levels that emanate from such a small little person can be sometimes quite overwhelming and exhausting.

What do you hope readers will gain from their literary experience with your book?

SB: Readers will gain an all-encompassing auditory experience, with the text intentionally providing strong rhythm, repetition, alliteration and rhyming – important features that contribute to getting children ready to read and spell.

Readers will also gain a lovely visual experience, being introduced to a variety of instruments, some of which will be new to them.

It is a playful interactive book that children can have a lot of fun joining in with. I envisage strong connections, with children relating to Reece, and parents relating to Reece’s mother.

Overall the book creates a lovely dynamic book sharing experience.

NB: I agree with Sonia. The story has a wonderful rhythm and the visual explosion of colour and movement will be both engaging and entertaining for young and the young at heart!

Do you have any tips for aspiring or new authors / illustrators about working in a partnership with a fellow creator?

SB: As an Author, generally, I’d say respectful communication is key to the process, as is providing a clear and cohesive description of how you imagine it all to look visually.

Being open to receiving feedback is also important, as is sincerely acknowledging and considering other ideas that may be different to your initial thoughts – this adds fuel to the creative process.

NB: As an illustrator, take on board the brief, read and read again the story so you can interpret what is being said to the best of your ability. Don’t be afraid to put forward new ideas. You are privileged to have been given the task of bringing an authors words to life visually.

Final Fun Question: If you could be any kind of instrument, what would you be and why?

SB: A violin, due to;

  • Its versatility in beautifully complementing various other instruments
  • The mesmerising quality it has it creating so many different moods.
  • Its practicality in being transported easily.
  • It being such a graceful instrument that can create such beautiful music all whilst resting on a shoulder!

NB: A flute. I am always amazed out of what appears to be such a simple instrument, such a beautiful and soulful sound can be made.

Thanks again for sharing your journey with us today, Sonia and Nancy! It’s been a blast! 🎹🎷🥁🎹

Sonia Bestulic grew up in Sydney, enjoying a childhood filled with wonderful books, a passion for writing, and musically entwined, having played the violin until her late teens, including performances at the Sydney Opera House. Sonia is the Founder of Talking Heads Speech Pathology, established in 2006.

Sonia: website

 

Nancy Bevington is a talented illustrator and also recognised for her distinctive large scale paintings. Her artistic career spans over three decades. Nancy has worked extensively in the publishing industry. She created the book series ‘Mad Dog the Chef’, which proved extremely popular with children and adults in Australia and overseas. Nancy was also the co-developer of another popular children’s book series, ‘Zen Tails’.

Nancy: website

 

Sonia ‘shares her story’ over at Share Your Story with Michelle Worthington. Take a look! 🙂

 


 Play it LOUD for a Chance to WIN!

If you love music and noisy play then this book giveaway is right up your jazzy alley! Click the image to enter.



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