Welcome to #TheQuickSixInterview with Wendy Buss!
It’s always wonderful to welcome new authors to the blog, and today we have Wendy Buss, picture book author of Creme and Caramel’s Big Adventure; a story of two adventurous guinea pigs and a rascally housecat, with the themes of anti-bullying, courage and a positive attitude. Thanks for being here, Wendy! 🙂
About the Author
Wendy Buss wrote a number of books whilst working as a primary school teacher, predominantly in the creative arts field in Queensland, NSW and Victoria. She became an author following early retirement and since glandular fever stopped her in her tracks in her mid fifties. Wendy then had the time and energy to devote to realising her dreams and goals to illustrate and self publish her books.
Wendy has always been a writer ever since she can remember. She was awarded funding from the Australian Film Commission to develop a children’s animated musical film script called Bruce Caterpillar’s Big Adventure.
Please follow Wendy Buss at the link:
Creme and Caramel’s Big Adventure is available for purchase at Wendy’s SHOP | Booktopia
WHO wrote, illustrated and published this book?
I am the writer, illustrator and publisher of my book Creme and Caramel’s Big Adventure – the publication of which was the fulfilment of a long-held dream and the first cab off the rank for my fledgling publishing company, Wendy’s Window Books.
WHAT is it called and what is it about? What is your favourite part of this book?
Creme and Caramel’s Big Adventure is a funny, warm, engaging little ‘David and Goliath’ type tale about two little guinea pigs who are away from home on an adventure, and living it up at the Laundry Basket Hotel. Alas, their night of cosy revelry, basking in the joys of cosy blankets, all-you-can-eat room service buffet and flat screen TV turns to chaos when they come face to face with Ty the household pussycat, who has arrived home wet and hungry and wanting his dinner.
“‘Hmm’, says that marauding moggie”, as he comes across these unexpected little houseguests far from the safety of their cage. “Come to papa!” The two guinea pigs are then suddenly called upon to stand strong on their quaking, trembly little legs, and need to dig deep to draw on courage they didn’t even know they had to outwit their foe and live to tell the tale.
The book has a gentle antibullying message and a message of positive self empowerment, with a happy ending of plentiful rewards for two plucky little creatures with brave, positive, can-do spirits.
WHEN is its release / launch date?
The book is out now!
WHERE did the inspiration for this book come from?
Creme and Caramel’s Big Adventure was inspired by two little guinea pigs I had the pleasure to meet whilst house sitting in Cairns at the end of 2019. I had just spent some months fulfilling another bucket list goal of snorkelling up the East Coast of Australia. It was quite a journey of stepping out in trust as an older woman with variable health circumstances and only my suitcase and lap top, with no car – travelling on trains, buses, planes, boats and taxis. I saw some very beautiful and extraordinary sights and met some wonderfully interesting and generous people. It was the trip of a lifetime! I was then offered a housesitting job in Cairns for a family who were heading overseas for the summer holidays, which I gladly accepted.
WHY is this book meaningful to you and why would its message resonate with readers?
The gentle antibullying message I feel is a very timely one. For me, during COVID the lockdowns were actually a bit of a blessing because I was living in a beautiful part of the world on the Sunshine Coast Hinterland and had no excuses to be diverted from my creative work. However, I was acutely aware that for many kids across the world who did not have happy, easy home lives, the lockdowns meant being potentially trapped in situations of abuse and domestic violence, and physically and emotionally abusive circumstances. I did some reading of news reports by Child Helpline International who work with children’s helplines in 143 countries across the world, who reported that during the COVID lockdowns the number of children reaching out to kids’ helplines for support had increased exponentially.
I feel my book encourages children to realise they can stand strong in the face of bullying and reach out for the support they need in order to stay safe. At the back of the book are a couple of resource pages, which include the contact details of Child Helpline International where kids can log on and find a Kids’ Helpline in their country.
For this reason, I would love to see my book in libraries and school libraries, feeling that perhaps in a time of crisis, in the most needed hands the book might actually save a life.
HOW did you create the illustrations? How would you describe your style?
I came to art and illustration much later in life after I had retired, and find it such a joy to paint. When you are in the moment with painting and the work is flowing, it can take you to a joyous zone – somewhere above stress and worry. I am amazed it took me so long to find that I had an affinity and talent for art.
I was thinking of hiring another illustrator to do the pictures for my books but other people encouraged me to see that my own quirky naive style was actually a good, organic match for my stories. When I look at the pictures some of them seem to have a sort of older world, European feel to them which makes sense as I grew up in the UK and no doubt those early childhood influences have somehow been reflected in my work.
I was still travelling when I started the illustrations for the book and as I continued my journey, my suitcase became increasingly heavy with art supplies! I can look at the pictures and fondly recall where I was when I painted each of them. For example, the scary cat who appears on the front of the book was painted when I had left the housesitting position and was spending a week in a little rainforest cabin in Kuranda. I would sit at night on the patio painting while these enormous and exquisitely patterned, plate-sized moths swirled around the patio lights. Then when I travelled on to Atherton for a few days, I actually sat in the Atherton Library to do the first sketches for the Laundry Basket Hotel picture.
How have you promoted this book and how can we find it?
My book is currently available in online book stores such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Dymocks, etc across the world.
Thank you, Wendy, for sharing your new story with us! 🙂
#cremeandcaramelsbigadventure #antibullying #courage