'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Thursday 2 August 2012

Blog Tour: Izy Penguin and Grandma Bendy

KBR is very happy to welcome author, Izy Penguin, on tour for her wonderfully witty new picture book - Grandma BendyWe are very excited to have Izy stop by today ... we had a few questions to ask her!

Tell us a little about you: what’s your background, your story?
I’m not really called Izy Penguin. My real surname is tricky to spell. It looks like ‘Penguin’ but with all the letters in the middle jumbled up and a random z at the end to confuse anyone who tries to pronounce it. Other people who thought it was easier always called me Izy Penguin.

I started writing and illustrating books for my friend’s children. I’ve always loved drawing and when I get an idea for something I draw or write it down. Writing and illustrating books is still just a hobby, I also work in advertising as a creative.

What genre/s do you write in?
Picture books and occasionally short silly rhymes. But if you include my job, I get to write in lots of different genres depending on the brief.

What do you love about writing for children?
Children have great imaginations and like to be silly.

From where do you draw inspiration for your stories and characters?
Grandma Bendy is based on a true story about a friends Grandma, She used to be a yoga teacher. Although as far as I know, not a burglar.

What are the greatest blocks or obstacles you have experienced on your book-writing or creating journey?
Being a first time unknown children’s author/illustrator is very difficult to get noticed. Even once published it’s not easy getting onto the shelves of bookshops. Other than that, finding good drawing pens, so far I’ve only found one type of pen that I like to draw with!

What’s a typical writing day for you?
I don’t really like working at home. I get distracted. I’m best at writing and thinking up ideas somewhere quiet, my favourite place is on a train journey (up home to Newcastle normally). I’m not good at writing unless all I can hear are the words in my head.

When I draw I like it to be noisy, somewhere with a good table and some background noise or music. Most of Grandma Bendy was written and drawn in a café/bar near where I live in London.

What advice do you have on writing and illustrating?

Draw/Write down all your ideas no matter how silly you think they are at the time. Stick to your own style even if it’s not the norm.

If you couldn’t be a writer, what would you be?
An Illustrator. Or maybe a Zoo Keeper.

What were your five favourite books as a child?
In order of growing up:
Each Peach Pear Plum by Janet and Allan Ahlberg
Meg & Mog series by Helen Nicol & Jan Pienkowski,
The Worst Witch books - Jill Murphy,
Roald Dahl’s The Witches (hmm strange theme here) and The Twits.

What else do you like to do, other than write books?
I like to be outside, so much of the day is spent indoors, I like to be out doing and seeing things.

What would be your perfect day?
Going to see my friends and family up near Newcastle. I love a train journey.

What’s next for Izy Penguin?
Grandma Bendy on the Barnes & Noble Nook is being launched in America in August. Narrated by Lucy Green, who reads it brilliantly.
And Hopefully Grandma Bendy 2.

Anything else you’d like to add?
This might’ve been the trickiest thing I’ve had to write.