Welcome to #TheQuickSixInterview with Vikki Marmaras!
Who doesn’t love a game of ‘I Spy’, a snarky pirate and a sparkly-kind-of-mystery?! On top of that, a high-seas adventure story with a fun environmental focus on the joys and benefits of upcycling to save our planet! This ‘charming’ new picture book, I Spy Treasure, spoils its readers with playful, enchanting text by Vikki Marmaras and magnificently whimsical illustrations by Binny Talib. I hope Captain Snarkle Tooth goes on more mysterious treasure hunts in the future! 🙂
About the Author
Vikki Marmaras is a children’s author with a passion for sustainability. She loves to recycle and reuse, and once furnished her entire house with only second-hand furniture. Originally from the UK, Vikki is lucky enough to call both England and Australia home and spends time at the beach in both countries. She often comes home with a bag full of rubbish which she has picked up from the sand. Vikki spends most of her free time writing but also enjoys reading, camping and spending time with friends and family. I Spy Treasure is her second picture book.
Please find Vikki Marmaras at her website: www.vikkimarmaras.com
I Spy Treasure can be purchased via New Frontier Publishing here and in all good bookstores.
WHO wrote, illustrated and published this book?
The book is written by me, Vikki Marmaras. It is illustrated by Binny Talib and published by New Frontier Publishing.
WHAT is it about?
I Spy Treasure is about a grouchy, greedy pirate called Captain Snarkle Tooth. Each week he sails into Shimmertown and steals anything sparkly he can find from the sea. But Billy, who lives in Shimmertown, notices the grumpy pirate never finds many jewels – instead he’s taking a different type of treasure. Can Billy learn to spot the shiny treasure too…and maybe help the ocean at the same time?
I Spy Treasure champions the importance of protecting our oceans and celebrates the joy of upcycling, as well as offering a crucial starting point for children to talk about saving the planet. A secondary theme shines light on the judgements we can make when we don’t get to know people properly.
What is your favourite part of this book?
From a story point of view, I love the ‘aha’ moment in the book, when the villagers realise they might have misjudged Captain Snarkle Tooth. There’s a moment where the characters all come together, and a lot of misconceptions are undone. It feels very inclusive.
From an illustration point of view, I love the final page. It captures my inspiration for this story (hint: sparkles) and will leave the reader feeling positive and hopeful. I hope to have it framed on my wall at some point in the future!
WHEN did you begin writing this book?
The idea for the book has been several years in the making. I knew I wanted to write a story about the sparkles in the sea, but it took me a while to work out exactly what that would look like. Looking back at my various drafts I started to take this one seriously around September 2021 – so it’s been almost two years from putting things down on paper to seeing it get published.
When is its release / launch date?
It was released on 1st August 2023 in both Australia and the UK.
WHERE did the inspiration for this book come from?
You know that moment when you are travelling to the beach, and you see the sea for the first time…and the sea is sparkling? That’s what inspired this book. Seeing the sea sparkle is one of my favourite things in the world. I knew I wanted to write a story about it. I brainstormed a few ideas about what those sparkles could represent, or the challenge they could present, and I eventually landed on this one.
WHY is this book meaningful to you?
As with most of my writing, this story has a strong link back to my children. They love pirates and the name of the pirate in I Spy Treasure is one we used to play around with when they were much younger.
I’m also delighted to have written a book that has links to the environment. I’m passionate about sustainability and recycling so if this book contributes in some way to getting children to think about caring for the ocean, and re-using where possible, that feels very meaningful.
Why would its message resonate with readers?
Firstly, I hope children fall in love with Captain Snarkle Tooth. There are so many great pirate characters in children’s literature, and it would be amazing if Snarkle Tooth became another one.
Secondly, I think many children are curious about small ways they can help contribute to protecting the planet, so hopefully the message about helping to keep our oceans clean, and thinking about upcycling, will resonate with them.
HOW do you feel about the illustrations / cover design? How do they convey the feeling or mood you envisioned?
I mean, they are absolutely stunning! I have so much respect and admiration for Binny and the way she has interpreted my text and brought it to life. Binny has made the book so bright, positive and fun, I know it’ll catch the eye of lots of little (and big!) readers.
How have you promoted this book and how can we find it?
I’m just starting to promote the book now and hopefully that will look like some podcasts, written interviews and reviews on various sites. I am also going to be doing some face-to-face promotion in the UK, at bookshops, schools and libraries.
The best place to find the book is through my website (www.vikkimarmaras.com) or through the New Frontier website https://www.newfrontier.com.au/books/i-spy-treasure
There are also Teachers’ Notes available and activities for children to complete.
OTHER information or experiences you’d like to share?
I Spy Treasure is my second picture book and my first to be published both inside and outside of Australia. I’m looking forward to learning more about the UK KidLit industry but I’m also grateful to be able to work with people I know and have connections with inside Australia too. As I am from the UK, but started my writing career whilst living in Melbourne, having this book released in both places feels perfect.
What a gorgeous and meaningful story! Thank you for sharing your treasure with us, Vikki! 🙂
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