#InterviewByBook with Every Family is Different by Maureen Eppen

Title: Every Family is Different
Author: Maureen Eppen
Illustrator: Veronica Rooke
Publisher: Serenity Press
Genre: Children’s Picture Book
Age Range: Up to 5

Blurb:

Who’s in your family?

Some children live with their mum and dad, others live with their grandparents or foster parents. Some live in a big house, others live in a tiny apartment.

With captivating illustrations, Every Family is Different celebrates what it means to be part of a family, and reminds us that there’s something that’s always the same in every family…

Dear Every Family is Different,
It’s an honour to welcome you to our #InterviewByBook questionnaire!

Let’s begin with ‘the plug’! Please tell us a bit about yourself in the most enticing way possible.

Well, I would have to say I’m one of those books that will bring a touch of joy into the lives of youngsters – and their parents. My author, Maureen Eppen, loves her family wholeheartedly and unreservedly, and so she wrote me for other people who feel the same way about their families. She also wanted to make sure little ones know that their family might not look the same or have the same types of people in it as the families of their friends or neighbours, and that’s okay.
Also, I have beautiful, joyful illustrations by the incredibly talented Veronica Rooke.

What makes you so funny, endearing and inspiring?

I think what makes me endearing and inspiring is the combination of a positive and inclusive words with bright, colourful and cheerful pictures. What makes me particularly funny is the cheeky antics and mischievous faces of some of the animal characters on my pages. There’s a particularly rascally black cat on the balcony of an apartment block, and a dog and cat exchanging snooty looks at the end of my story.

How do you compare to other books in your approach / themes?

While there are other books out there that explore the concept of ‘family’ and what it means, I’m a lot more inclusive than most. Plus, none of them has words by Maureen Eppen and illustrations by Veronica Rooke (in case you can’t tell, I adore them both).

Who do you think your author is most similar to in terms of writing style? Why?

Oooh, this is actually a really hard question to answer, because my author, Maureen, has a style of her own. I guess you could say there’s an effective simplicity to the language she uses like that in The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle, and there’s a theme relating to the importance of family, which was also the subject of one of her favourite picture books when she was growing up, P.D. Eastman’s Are You My Mother? Of course, she wouldn’t presume to compare me to those brilliant books, but she believes the simplest messages are often closest to the heart.

What do you think of your illustrations / cover image? Do you have a favourite image? Why?

I think my illustrations are absolutely magnificent! I love how colourful and cheerful they are, and the way that Veronica (the illustrator) has incorporated such a diverse range of people. The cover pic has some really clever symbolism, with jigsaw pieces reflecting the way that all the people in a family join together to create something whole. And I think my favourite illustrations are the one that shows a small child dropping an ice cream on their dad’s head; the one of two dads with a baby (because that was the original concept drawing for me); and the one of a child hugging their grandfather while he reads the newspaper, because my author was a newspaper journalist for more than 30 years.

What kind of effect have you had on your readers so far? What’s the craziest or most heartwarming thing someone has ever said about you?

The people who have read me so far tell me I have a freshness and positivity that they find delightful, and that my message of celebrating diversity in family life is particularly important at a time when we all need to be tolerant and accepting of others. Early readers also love illustrator Veronica Rooke’s vibrant interpretation of author Maureen Eppen’s words – and all of them have found people they can relate to on my pages.

Where is the most unusual place you’ve ever visited or been read?

I’m not sure how unusual this is, but I’ve been read by the guests at a toddler’s first birthday party (and they all wanted to buy me). And my author read me out loud to her book club friends (and they all wanted to buy me).

Multiple Choice Question:
Who would you most like to be in the hands of?
a. Some totally famous author like Dr. Suess, Enid Blyton or Roald Dahl
b. Some totally famous Royal like The Queen, Prince William or the Princess of Pop
c. Some other-worldly creature that can spread the joy of your book across the entire universe
d. Some random kid you sat next to at the bus stop
e. Other. Would love to hear it!

Without wanting to sound cheeky, can I make a modification to choice ‘b’ from above? Rather than The Queen, Prince William or the Princess of Pop, I’d really like to be in the hands of Prince George and Princess Charlotte. That’s a bit of a fantasy, though, so I think I’d settle for answer ‘d’, some random kid at the bus stop. I think my author Maureen would say she’d most like to see me in the hands of her great-nieces and great-nephews, and in the hands for her friends and their families.

The Nitty Gritty:
Where is your home and where can we buy you?

The best place to buy me is via my publisher, Serenity Press, and you can find out more about me on my author Maureen Eppen’s Facebook page. You can also find out more about Maureen on her website and about Veronica at her Facebook page.

Thanks so much for coming along and spilling all the deets about you! 😊

Maureen Eppen has been a freelance journalist for more than 30 years and now works in corporate communications and marketing. She writes book reviews and author interviews, hosts the Shelf Aware blog series, and is a grammar nerd who frequently questions her own spelling and punctuation. Her first children’s picture book Every Family is Different is available through Serenity Press, and she is currently procrastinating over her first novel, tentatively titled Saving Maisie O’Day.

Maureen practises yoga regularly and has completed two half-marathons and countless fun runs – at a glacial pace. She loves spending time with her husband, two daughters, extended family, friends and beloved boxer dog, and is a founding member of the legendary First Edition Book Club, Secret Harbour.

#InterviewByBook #EveryFamilyIsDifferent #Families #Diversity

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