Today I welcome Lindsey Little to Promote Me Please. I was lucky enough to spend some time with Lindsey at the Book an Adventure Children's Literature Festival and was delighted to discover a new (to me) fantasy author in my home state.
1. James Munkers: Super Freak is a catchy title. Did you come up with it yourself, or did your publisher have input?
I actually think it’s a bit of a mouthful. I’ve tripped over the words more than once, which is a bit embarrassing when you’re talking about your own book. And, yes, the publishers had some input. It used to be called “James Munkers: Earth Guardian”, but they said it sounded a bit environmental. Nothing wrong with environmentally-themed books, of course, but that’s not what James is about, so I came up with “Super Freak” – a bit more fantasy-adventure with that touch of self-deprecation that my character has. It seemed to suit it better. In any case, they let me keep it.
2. Is James based on a real person?
James isn’t based on a real person, no. I’m not sure where he came from. He just popped into my head and wouldn’t shut up. Some of the other characters are real people, though. The twins, Pippa and Kit, are based on my own twin sister, Lauren. (I was too busy being the author to be one of them, so Lauren had to be both. She doesn’t seem to mind.) Also, I met one of the other characters in real life after I wrote him, which was a bit bizarre. He was my supervisor in England while I was doing my Masters degree, and I kept thinking, “Who are you? I’ve met you before.” Then one day in the middle of the supermarket I blurted out, “Oh my gosh, he’s Mr Lancer!” So there you go.
3. Tell us how you made the book trailer.
Oh, the book trailer was fun! A local graphic design business called Mark & Tom did it for me. I saw some of their work – advertisements and shorts for local businesses and ventures – and asked them whether they were interested in doing a book trailer for me. They’d never done one before, but were really excited about the notion, and immediately came up with all these cool ideas about what they could do. Their enthusiasm was infectious. They read the book, and we had several meetings in the sunshine over good coffee, talking about styles and pacing and themes. I wrote a voice-over, and they began working on the animation. It was really exciting seeing it all come together – the images, the sound. I was blown away when I heard the young man they hired to do the voice-over. It was James! I couldn’t believe it. There was much jumping up and down when the final cut came through, let me tell you.
4. What themes did you use in writing your book?
Um, glowing blue ferrets. Is that a theme?
To be honest, I wasn’t thinking about themes at all when I first wrote James. A few emerged during the rewrites, I guess, the most prominent one being the importance of believing in yourself, even when no one else does, and the fact that people are more capable of achieving great things than they realise. Teenagers (and adults too) often put on a show of bravado, coming across as fearless, when actually, most of the time, we’re all terrified. We’re scared of failing, of looking foolish, of being exposed as frauds. I think if we could only put that fear aside we’d get a lot more done. The nice thing about writing fantasy books is that, once your characters find their courage, the things they achieve can be really spectacular.
5. Have you had much feedback from readers?
Most of the feedback I’ve received has been, “When is the next book coming out?’ which is very flattering. One of the most exciting moments for me, though, was when a young boy I’ve never met before took the trouble to write a two-page report on it. He actually thought it was important enough to put in that effort. He didn’t pull any punches, either – in fact, he tore it to pieces. It was great! He was obviously a very critical reader, with a fine grasp of story arc, character development and genre conventions. If that young man doesn’t become an editor, the literary world will suffer..
To find out more, visit the James Munkers website.