Please tell us a bit of what your book is about.
When a book is ignored for too long, the story starts to leak out into the home of an unsuspecting family! J.J. (the protagonist) sees what’s happening but his parents are oblivious. Not long after, J.J. and his parents come face to face with pirates who have sailed out of the book and into their living room!
What kinds of themes / issues are raised in this story?
This story is about coming together as a family, and celebrating the infinite possibilities that stories and books present. There is so much technology competing for our attention; smart phones, video games, TV, iPads… It can be so easy to say ‘I’ll get to that book eventually.’ But ‘eventually’ never comes! The book in The Leaky Story takes matters into its own hands to make sure that it does.
Who or what inspired you to write this story?
The perfect combination of my first son (my second was still just a twinkle in my eye at the time), my love of picture books, and my obsession with metafiction. Mix ‘em all together and out pops one Leaky Story 😊
What is your favourite part of the book?
Anil’s illustrations are magnificent. I mean really, every drop of colour and every outline is filled with joy. They make me smile. She’s taken my illustration suggestions and just run with them and made them so much more than I could ever have imagined. I can’t really nail just one page because I am so in awe of every single one! Oh! But now that I think of it, I can’t go past the cover. The cover is incredible.
How would you describe the publishing process? Were they supportive? How long did it take?
EK Books and my editor in particular, Anouska Jones, are a writer’s dream. I have endless gratitude. EK and Anouska have been immensely supportive. She works very hard to make sure her authors are comfortable and that their vision is strongly incorporated into the final product, despite the collaborative nature of a picture book where there are so many points of view that need to be taken into account. Actually, I think she’s probably worked very hard to make sure everyone’s vision is incorporated, and she’s done it seamlessly! I think it took about a year and a half to two years from signed contract to published book, but don’t quote me on that.
What was the collaboration like between author and illustrator? Juicy gossip, please!
I’m one who usually rolls their eyes at those interviews on tele when the actors are endlessly praising the talent and wit of each other. So cliché! But here I am doing the same thing because there’s just nothing negative to say. The collaboration was wonderful. Anil’s illustrations are unique and vivid and just perfect for this book. It was fascinating to be able to catch glimpses of her process. Though her illustrations are so bubbly and whimsical, from what I can tell she is somewhat of a perfectionist – and that is an excellent thing for an author who wants every page to sing to a reader. She also totally understood the story and the mood I was trying to capture with the original manuscript.
What has the feedback / audience response been like so far?
Amazing!! So far all positive *knock on wood*. I went into a local bookstore yesterday to see if they’d like me to sign copies. Two of their four Leaky Story books had already gone! To say I was chuffed is an understatement. Major publications have or are going to recommend the book. One overseas that I don’t think I’m allowed to say yet as the edition hasn’t yet been released, but also here in Australia The Daily Telegraph and Kids’ Book Review have highly recommended it.
I’ve also had teachers and parents say lovely things about the fact that this book can be used as a teaching tool at home. I have a teaching qualification, and have worked as an English teacher, so that is something I try to keep in mind when writing a story, so long as it doesn’t sacrifice the quality and fun of a narrative.
What teaching and learning ideas would you suggest to complement this book?
Heaps! Check out the free teacher notes. Just scroll down to the appropriate link under The Leaky Story cover image.
Do you have a book trailer for your book? Please share.
Any details on your book launch you’d like to tell us about?
The book launch was so, so fun! It is my belief that if guests are well fed, then no matter what is happening, and where they are, they’ll be happy. So I made sure to order fun sweet treats. I ordered yummy cupcakes with mini edible printouts of the cover of The Leaky Story placed on top of the frosting. They were so fabulous!
Also, I kept forgetting to sign my name in people’s books! I would write ‘To so and so’ and then the customer would look at me like I had a screw lose. “And your name…?” was said more than once 😃.
Please let us know where we can find more on you and your book.
Thank you for sharing your ‘Leaky’ story with us! 💦 🐙 🌊 ☔️
*See the review of The Leaky Story at Boomerang Books.
Devon is an author and sessional academic, a former radio producer, and a mother of two. She loves all things kidlit, and has a penchant for metafiction. Currently, she is researching Australian children’s picture books for her PhD at the University of Canberra. She is also a regular contributor to the most popular children’s literature review site in Australia, www.kids-bookreview.com.