The Quick Six Interview with Steve Heron on Ling Li’s Lantern

Welcome to #TheQuickSixInterview with Steve Heron!

It’s a pleasure to welcome back author and children’s presenter, Steve Heron OAM to the blog, sharing his new picture book release that is full of beauty and wisdom, Ling Li’s Lantern; a book of compassion, challenge and true kindness. Thanks for being here, Steve! 🙂


About the Author

Steve’s passion is to power hope in children, especially through children’s literature. His love of picture books is shown by his extensive collection. He craves to write quality picture books and novels that engage children, at the same time aid them to handle the tricky things in life. He aspires to keep it real and unreal for kids in his books, some for fun, some to stir hope.

Steve is the founder of Nurture Works Foundation and developed the acclaimed ‘BUZ – Build Up Zone’ social and emotional programs and initiatives used in many schools throughout WA. In 2016, he was listed in the Queen’s Birthday honours and received an Order of Australia Medal for contribution to the social and emotional wellbeing of children.

His first dabble with writing for children led to a series of six picture books in the ‘Feel Safe Feel Right Series’ published by Nurture Works in 2007. Steve has extensive experience working with children in schools and is no stranger to doing presentations to kids. He has a positive web and social media platform to promote his books and presentations.

A champion of wellbeing for children, he has been called an affirmative vandal and a hooligan of hope.

 

You can find out more about Steve and his work on his website: www.steveheron.com

Please follow Steve at the following links:

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram


WHO wrote, illustrated and published this book?

Author:            Steve Heron

Illustrator:       Benjamin Johnston

Publisher:        MidnightSun Publishing

 

WHAT is it called and what is it about? What is your favourite part of this book?

Ling Li’s lantern

After she and her siblings are set a challenge to nurture their wisdom, Ling Li returns from the village with only a lantern to guide her way. How will she prove herself to her father? Ling Li’s Lantern is a heart-warming story of compassion, kindness and the true nature of wisdom.

My favourite part:

This is the hardest question to answer. All of it? I like the rewarding feel of it in my hands knowing that it is a story I wrote, so wonderfully illustrated and published. I think my favourite part is knowing that now the book is published it will tilt the world toward the more compassionate side of the scale. (May I add – at a time when the world needs it)

 

 

WHEN is its release / launch date?

Release date: 1st September 2020

Launch dates TBA – Perth late Sept/early Oct. Sydney – October.

 

WHERE did the inspiration for this book come from?

The idea first came when I was writing a drama for a creative arts camp for children on the theme of light overcoming darkness. Inspiration came from Dr Martin Luther King Jr’s quote. “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that.” And the quote from the old book, “The foolish will confound the wise.”

 

WHY is this book meaningful to you and why would its message resonate with readers?

The manuscript is the first of my picture books to be picked up by a mainstream publisher. When I asked, “why do you want to publish my book?” Anna Solding from MidnightSun said, “It is a wonderful story, it made us cry and the strong character is the girl.”

Too often we think of wisdom in material terms. The idea behind the story is to reveal that true wisdom is about how we treat others and the world. Readers will appreciate the simplicity and genuine compassion of Ling Li. Her innocence in not trying to over-prove herself but just being herself is enough to demonstrate special wisdom to her father. In simple terms, be kind, and the rest will look after itself.

 

 

HOW do you feel about the illustrations? Do they convey the feeling or mood you envisioned?

I first met Benjamin Johnston at a SCBWI Conference in Sydney when I perused his portfolio. I told him at the time I would love for him to illustrate one of my books. (I had Ling Li’s Lantern in mind) When the publisher asked if I had an illustrator in mind, I didn’t hesitate to suggest Benjamin. He said yes to illustrating the manuscript on its merit without realising it was me and the conversation we had at the conference. Benjamin didn’t disappoint. The story is about light; Benjamin’s illustrations superbly capture Chinese culture in a time and place. His magnificent sense of perspective comes from his architectural background. Each illustration with its subtle, restrained colour palette draws the eyes to the brighter colours and brings light to the forefront. Simply put. Benjamin has nailed it.

 

How have you promoted this book and how can we find it?

Currently in the process of promotion via the normal channels including press releases, all social media angles, visiting bookshops, contacting the Chinese community, emailing schools and libraries, and through my website https://steveheron.com/ and MidnightSun https://midnightsunpublishing.com/

It will be available through regular bookshops and online bookstores.

 

Thanks so much, Steve!  🙂

Ling Li’s Lantern is available to purchase at: Booktopia

 

#linglislantern #steveheron #picturebook #compassion #kindness #wisdom

InterviewByBook with Maximus by Steve Heron

Title: Maximus

Author: Steve Heron

Illustrator: Tash Macfarlane

Publisher: Serenity Press

Genre: Middle Grade

Age Range: Nine to twelve-year-olds

Synopsis:

Sometimes you need a special friend to give you wings…

Eleven-year-old Mitch is a regular kid who argues about cleaning his room, thinks his younger sister is a pain, and enjoys hanging out with his friends. But he’s finding life tough going. For one thing, he’s being picked on by Jason, both in class and on the football field, and he feels like the spirited Maddy is his only true friend. Even worse, his Fly-in, Fly-Out dad has become increasingly distant and angry, and Mitch misses their father-son time. In Mitch’s eyes, ‘stuff sucks’!

An encounter with a bedraggled magpie he names Maximus gives Mitch something to look forward to when he’s at home. As their connection grows, so too do other relationships in Mitch’s life, as his self-confidence grows, he starts to stand up for himself, and the reason for his dad’s moodiness is revealed.

Maximus is an engaging, warm-hearted story about family, friendships, self-confidence and reconciliation, with the gentle message that life is like riding a wave.

Dear Maximus,

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.

I am a down-to-earth story about a boy, his family and friends, and a magpie. My publisher says that I am gold. My editor says I shine. I say that I am a treasure trove, where every reader can discover something that will make them feel. Young and old will find me appealing because I’m about real stuff.

What makes you so funny, endearing and inspiring?

Funny – there are some very funny bits in the narrative, and Maddy’s sense of humour will bring a smile to your dial.

Endearing – Any story where kid meets animal (bird) and both help each other gain their mojo may moisten your eyes. The connections and reconnections between the characters will grip your heart.

Inspiring – Everyone will see a little of themselves somewhere in the story and relate to their situations. No matter what happens, there is an opportunity for hope. The story has some inspiring quotes.

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

I stand out of course. My author has forty years of experience working with kids. Not only does he understand and ‘get’ kids he knows how to communicate to them.

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

Some similarities to John Marsden in his book The Year My Life Broke where he writes about a regular kid going through a tough bit. And Kate McCaffrey in her book Destroying Avalon which is for YA readers having slightly heavier themes.

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

Tash Macfarlane has really captured the moments in the story warmly and artistically. I think my favourite image is the one where Mitch is in his bed with the pillow over his head … hmmm … or is it the one at the beach where Mitch writes ‘I like you’ in the sand? The cover is striking. One bookshop owner said, ‘It’s a little scary, but kids will like that.’

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?

An earlier mock version of the book was used by a year six teacher who said, ‘The kids regularly wanted to stop me reading so they could discuss what was happening. I could see the kids were really connecting with the story.’ When one child found out who my author was, he said, ‘I knew the author is someone who knew us, kids that is.’

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

My author took me (my mini finger puppet Mini Maximus me and the manuscript) on a road trip around Australia. I visited lots of Aussie icons, but best of all was being kissed by a Quokka on Rottnest Island. My author has been invited to Qingdao in China to talk about me – I’m looking forward to that.

Multiple Choice Question:

Who would you most like to be in the hands of?

  1. Some totally famous author like Dr. Suess, Enid Blyton or Roald Dahl
  2. Some totally famous Royal like The Queen, Prince William or the Princess of Pop
  3. Some other-worldly creature that can spread the joy of your book across the entire universe
  4. Some random kid you sat next to at the bus stop
  5. Other. Would love to hear it!

I’d most like to be in the hands of any kid, including the random kid I sat next to in the bus, any kid who says, ‘Stuff sucks,’ and the one who can’t mark a footy.

Mostly I would like to be in the hands of a film-maker!!

The Nitty Gritty:

Where is your home and where can we buy you?

www.steveheron.com

https://www.facebook.com/kidsbooksauthor/

https://twitter.com/writeskidsbooks

https://www.instagram.com/stevekidsbookauthor/

available from:

www.steveheron.com

WWW.SERENITYPRESS.ORG

At your local bookshop. 

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

Maximus is being launched on Friday March 16 at 4PM at Dymocks Busselton, WA. Click the image for details.

Steve Heron OAM has a passion to power hope in children especially through children’s literature. His love of picture books is shown by his extensive collection. Steve craves to write quality picture books and novels that engage children, at the same time assist them with things life can throw at them. He aspires to keep it real and unreal for kids in his books.

In 2015, Steve was nominated in the Australian of the Year Awards Local Hero Category for Western Australia and 2015 Finalist in the Western Australian of the Year Awards, community section. In 2016, he was listed in the Queen’s Birthday honours and received an Order of Australia Medal for contribution to the social and emotional wellbeing of children. Steve is also a champion of the Liddle Things, as seen through his photography and writing.

Steve founded Nurture Works Foundation and developed the acclaimed ‘BUZ – Build Up Zone’ social and emotional programs and initiatives used in many schools throughout WA. Steve’s first middle grade novel ‘Maximus’ is to be published by Serenity Press in January 2018 and first Picture Book ‘Te Hui’s Lantern’ contract to be signed with Midnight Sun Publishers also in January 2018.

#InterviewByBook #Maximus