Along with being a writer you're a Personal Coach and a Reiki Master, how do you feel that has helped with your writing?
I’d have to say that coaching and reiki have helped me figure out what I want to be when I grow up! Actually, they have both helped me get to know myself better and realize that I like to create imaginative stories for kids. I’ve started to combine the coaching with reiki to help others find their passion and take that important first step forward.
What inspires you to write children stories?
I love animated kids movies. But, I sometimes feel there are a lot of scary or violent things in them. I believe that you can have a great story without limbs flying or guns going off. There is a lot of beauty and wonder in the world and I want to have kids tap into that. I want them to read something that is fun that will give them something good to dream about.
In your story, Kaptain Vamp, Allistaire makes a choice to become his own superhero. Where did the idea for the character of Allistaire come from and how important do you feel it is for children to have something they can believe in and try to achieve it?
Since vampires have been the rage for adults for the last few years, I thought it would be fun to write a story about them for kids. I liked the challenge of taking this theme and putting a positive spin on it. I didn’t want to give the kids nightmares. Also, I thought a vampire-human superhero would make a good story.
I think there’s an Allistaire hiding in all of us. We’d all love to have super powers and, as humans, we seem to have an innate need to help someone or save some creature. When you watch kids play, you see them using their imagination. They talk like anything is possible. As they grow up, they begin to doubt themselves and their ideas.
What I love about writing fiction for kids is that it’s brought back some of that wonder for me. It allows you to create the world you want – and why not. Isn’t there some saying that says that “what you can envision, you can create”! Since I started writing, I decided that my motto is “Dare to imagine and believe in the magic of possibilities!”
The illustrations are amazing. Who created the illustrations and how important do you feel they were to the story of Kaptain Vamp?
When I started writing children’s books, I decided that I wanted them to have lots of coloured images. So I was on the look out for the style of illustrations that would match the story I was trying to create. I met the illustrator for Kaptain Vamp, Amy Rottinger, through LinkedIn. I’d liked what I saw on her website (www.arottinger.daportfolio.com). I felt that the style would work with my story. Amy and I chatted on the phone. She was very enthusiastic, and we just hit it off. We worked through email. I gave her an electronic version of the book, told her how many images I wanted in each chapter, and asked her to submit her ideas. She was great to work with and the results are amazing. I love the book.
When I was younger, I thought I might be an illustrator. I realized later that I was more of a copy artist. I had trouble inventing characters or scenes. In the last two years, I realized that I’m a better storyteller. I think that I can appreciate the images all the more having done some illustrations myself. For kids stories, I think pictures help create some of the story magic and I don’t want to write a book without them.
Where can readers buy Kaptain Vamp?
The book is available in print and e-Book on my website www.topysbooks.com, on Amazon.com and coming soon to Barnes and Noble.com.
Are there any future projects you wish to share with us?
I’m working on a few writing projects. I think the next book will be about a fairy. I’m going to work on that one with an artist I met on my bus commute to work. I’ve got outlines for the sequels to my first book, The Witch, the Cat and the Egg, and Kaptain Vamp for 2012, as well as French versions of the books. I’m also experimenting with other writing mediums like a comic strip (I’ve started one with Amy) and an adult short fiction.
Where can people find out more about you?
Readers can find out more about me and my books on my website www.topsybooks.com, through Facebook under Topsy Books (http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Topsy-Books/179610058715988), and on Twitter @JoTopsyBooks (http://twitter.com/#!/JoTopsyBooks).
Thanks for the interview. I hope that readers will make Kaptain Vamp and Topsy Books part of their book collection. J:O)anne