Welcome to #TheQuickSixInterview with Leo Baker!

It’s a real privilege to welcome award-winning filmmaker, animator and author – a master of storytelling – Leo Baker! His extensive background in film and other creative mediums has led Leo to write his first middle grade novel, Tuckshop Terrors; an irresistible, action-packed mystery that will keep its readers on tenterhooks, and throws main character, Kip, into the line of (food) warfare on a mission to uncover a cloche-full of suspicious (culinary?) crimes. This sounds very tantalisingly cool, Leo! 🙂

About the Author

Working in the film and animation industry in Australia and overseas for the last 20 years, Leo Baker has explored storytelling through a variety of mediums.

Leo was a key creative and the sole animator of the Academy AwardTM winning film adaptation of The Lost Thing by Shaun Tan. He also animated the spider on the film adaptation of Charlotte’s Web. In 2011 Leo was awarded a Winston Churchill fellowship to research animation industries around the world. Leo wrote and directed The Will To Fly, an empowering documentary about the Australian Olympic champion aerial skier, Lydia Lassila.

Leo recently created the visual effects for the ABC Kids series, Planet Lulin. He is writing two feature film screenplays and structuring a potential sequel to Tuckshop Terrors. Leo gives talks in schools through Booked Out Speakers’ Agency. Aside from being a big foodie, some of his personal interests include furniture making, printmaking, cinema and surfing.

Visit Leo Baker at his (awesome) website: Film Creative | Leo Baker, and on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Tuckshop Terrors can be purchased via Leo Baker’s website.

WHO wrote, illustrated and published this book?

I’m afraid that is me. Guilty as charged.

WHAT is it about?

It’s about a boy named Kip, fitting into a new school in a new town. Whilst coming to terms with his diabetes, Kip discovers the devious headmaster is testing mind-controlling science through the irresistible food at the school canteen. Avoiding the sinister canteen staff, Kip must stop this evil scheme, revert his mutating friends, and save the fate of the town.

What is your favourite part of this book?

There’s lot of bits! Maybe favourite would be a part at the ending involving monsters, a triumphant skateboard ride and a fierce bum crack. That’s all that I will reveal here.

WHEN did you begin writing this book?

This book began in 2018! It has been a side project that was wrestled into shape amidst periods of languishing on a hard drive. Now it’s grown up and ready to dance.

When is its release / launch date?

May 2024! Yikes! (and yippee!).

WHERE did the inspiration for this book come from?

This book has been a delightful time capsule taking me back to my youth. Tapping back into the rascal, devilish things we used to do. I have always loved food and as a kid, was always hungry and always envious of the junk food or tuckshop orders some classmates had. These delicious treats were undeniably the currency of the schoolyard, and so I thought there had to be a story in that! Stylistically I was inspired by writers I enjoyed in my youth – the zany fun of writers like Roald Dahl, Paul Jennings and Morris Gleitzman.

WHY is this book meaningful to you?

This book is particularly meaningful for me because I have worked as a creative on the projects of many other people, and now I am finally releasing some fictional fun of my very own.

Why would its message resonate with readers?

On the surface I think readers can relate to desiring the delicious food they (maybe shouldn’t) gorge on. But on a deeper level the book has some key messages, such as people are not always who you presume them to be – for both good and bad.

HOW do you feel about the illustrations / cover design? How do they convey the feeling or mood you envisioned?

I did the illustration for the front cover and felt I encapsulated the feel of the book. It shows the main character, Kip and his friends caught in the middle of the action!

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

This book is being promoted through blogs, podcasts and social media. It is distributed through John Reed Books and Lamont, available through bookstores and libraries. For more information, see tuckshopterrors.com.

Thanks so much, Leo! Congratulations on your deliciously exciting new release! 🙂

#thequicksixinterview #tuckshopterrors #action #adventure #mystery #middlegrade #justkidslit

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