Thursday, 28 May 2015

Author Interview - GRANDMA PAINT POT talks about her process, inspiration and hurdles!

Author Interview

Grandma Paint Pot

Grandma Paint Pot (named so by her Grandchildren) was born and raised in South Wales, but now resides in Cornwall which gives her the inspiration for her book series - 'The Sea Creatures'.

A keen writer, poet and outdoor walker; Grandma Paint Pot is a nature lover and this shows in her beautiful writing which features an array of adorable characters from a Selfish Shellfish to a Starfish with a missing leg! 

Thankyou for taking the time to talk to us, can you start by telling us more about yourself?

I’m a mother of three and a grandmother to four lovely grandchildren. I was born and raised in the Rhondda Valley, South Wales. Now, I live in Cornwall, in a caravan. I love to spend time out of doors walking the coastal path and feeling close to nature. I have two Border Terriers - Charles Dickens and Oscar Wilde - and in June will be having a Springer Spaniel puppy. She will be called Lizzie Lou after the heroine in the novel I am currently writing. I have a BA (hons) in Literature and an MA in Professional Writing.

Great names! How did you start writing for children?

I’ve written poetry since the age of thirteen or fourteen. When my children were quite young I started rewriting nursery rhymes such as: What was Humpty doing, sitting on the wall, he shouldn’t have been up there, it was obvious he’d fall... My children attended the Welsh school and had several cousins around the same age. I wrote my first children’s story for them. It was handwritten into a blue scrapbook in the Welsh Language and every character in the story was named after the children. I drew all the illustrations. I have since translated it into English and changed the names accordingly to suit newer, younger family members. I might use elements of it in a future publication.

Do you have a process you follow when writing?

Usually, a germ of an idea might take hold and I play around with it in my head for some time. With my publication The Selfish Shellfish, I was playing around with this title for a poem, focusing on the tongue twisting alliteration. I then thought I could make up some other sea creature characters. When I had several characters the idea grew into something bigger. In my head, each character had a voice.

            I don’t commit anything to paper until I’ve thought out the entire story. Then I write it up, and after that I type it on the computer. More often than not the word count is far too much and that’s when I begin to edit it down and structure it.

What or who gives you inspiration?

Nature is the most inspirational thing there is. I can look at the sea, a river, flowers, trees, the earth, the sky and never fail to be moved. I love watching the birds and animals and life in general. The world seems so simple and straight forward and breathtaking and mysterious. It is lifetime of study.

I admire so many writers but, in my eyes, Julia Donaldson is a children’s writing phenomenon. She creates beautiful characters, beautiful stories, empathetic scenarios and puts them together in verse.

Did you encounter any problems when releasing your books?

As a self-publishing author (as with any author, I suppose) I have to create interest in my book via social media. This is something that causes me a few problems. How to connect with the right people? How to reach people other than friends and family? How to pitch your posts and blog in such a way that will engage and draw interest without coming across as pushy, boring and completely self-indulgent?  

What was the BEST part of releasing your book?

The best part about releasing my books was (firstly) holding a physical copy and then seeing copies on the shelf in bookstores. It gives a wonderful sense of achievement. Also, it’s an amazing feeling when people come up to me and say: my child loves your book. When asked what book they want at bedtime they always want to read The Selfish Shellfish.

...and the worst?

The worst part is facing rejection from some booksellers. It’s tough to take when someone says they don’t want to stock your book - for whatever reason. Some places will order my book for a customer if they ask for it specifically but the chances of that happening is unlikely. As a new, independent author my book needs to be on display to stand any sort of chance in such a saturated market.

It sounds like you love doing what you do! 
What were your favourite books when you were a child?

I grew up in the world of Enid Blyton. I loved everything from Noddy and Big Ears, The Famous Five to Mr Meddles Muddles and Brer Rabbit. But, if I had to pick one book from my childhood, it would be Joanna Spyri’s Heidi. I always wanted to live on top of a mountain, sleep in a bed of straw, eat fresh bread and cheese and run wild all day. It was my kind of heaven.

Do you have a favourite place to write?

I love going somewhere to write rather than staying at home. Often, I write in The Falmouth Hotel. I order a pot of coffee, sit in the window overlooking Castle Beach and write the morning away. This is one of the reasons I set The Selfish Shellfish on Castle Beach and some wonderful illustrations of the Hotel feature in the book.
            I also like to write in cafes or libraries or anywhere I’m not distracted by thoughts of chores I should be attending to.

Finally... 'The big debate'; physical books or eBooks - which do you prefer?

I much prefer a physical book. I buy ebooks for convenience. They make ideal traveling companions and, as I live in a caravan, they don’t clutter up my cubby holes. My books are also available as ebooks for these very same reasons, and because I want to cater for the ebook market. But physical books are special. They are personal and intimate. In my opinion, a person - young or not so young - is more likely to flick back through the pages of a physical book time and time again to enjoy the feel and colour of the book and to linger over the words, and each time the book is revisited they will see and understand something different and gain a bigger picture. 

Thanks for sharing with us Grandma Paint Pot!

Grandma Paint Pot is currently launching her latest book; Stanley Penwellington and the Exploding Seagulls

Until then, you can check out her books below!

The Selfish Shellfish (ISBN 9781781322147) is £7.99 
The Selfish Shellfish ebook (ISBN 9781781322154) is £5.99
Leonard Limpet Lost at Sea (ISBN 9780993090707) is £7.99

Leonard Limpet Lost at Sea ebook (ISBN 9780993090714) is £5.99

Buy from...

Or on sale locally in Falmouth at;

Falmouth Bookseller
The Falmouth Hotel
The Maritime Museum
Cornish Maid, Mawnan Smith
Meudon Hotel, Mawnan Smith

The Kingsley Village
Seawitch Stores, Mousehole
The End of the Earth, Hayle

Visit Grandma Paint Pot and find out more!