I have a visitor. Jacqui Grantford, illustrator extraordinaire, has dropped by myblog today as part of her Book Blog Tour to celebrate the launch of her new picture book, Squeezy Cuddle Dangly Legs.
1. Jacqui, thanks for dropping by. A Book Blog Tour might be a new concept to some of my readers. Would you like to explain it a little? Are you enjoying the experience so far?
This is my very first blog tour and I’m enjoying it greatly. Over seven days I’m going to be interviewed by different bloggers with a view to the interests of that particular blog. This is my second interview and yesterday I had the pleasure of visiting Bren Macdibble’s blog. (I reckon Bren has the best name for a children’s author.)
2. Squeezy Cuddle Dangly Legs is such a beautiful book – with lovely, gentle text, and beautiful pictures . It contrasts with some of your other books – most recently, with A True Person dealing with such serious subject matter, and, earlier, Shoes News being quite tongue in cheek. As an illustrator, how do you find the challenge of adapting your style to such differing subject matter?
It is a challenge, but a very enjoyable one. Illustrating other people’s texts often pushes you out of the safety zone in this way. A number of the books I’ve illustrated I would never had thought or had the knowledge to write, so it’s great to have the opportunity to explore these texts. And of course think of the best way to adapt my illustrations to suit.
3. You’ve told me before about using models for your illustrations. Did any of your children model for Squeezy Cuddle Dangly Legs, and how many characters/faeries/toys made cameo appearances from your previous books?
I had a very special character appear in Squeezy Cuddle. Pemberthy Bear makes an appearance in a great big double page spread. (For those who don’t know, Sally is the author of Pemberthy Bear.) I was extremely fortunate to illustrate it. One of the pages required a book, so what better book to do?! It was so much fun.
The mother in the book is Sophia, the publisher at New Frontier, and the daughter is her real daughter, Grace. She was so gorgeous. This tiny little thing with a delightful smile. Bet I know what all their relatives will be getting this Christmas!
4. As a teacher (when she’s not illustrating and writing, Jacqui is a school teacher) do you find inspiration for your books from the students you teach? Have you read Squeezy Cuddle Dangly Legs to any of your classes? How did your students react?
Teaching is a great way to gauge what a book’s reaction will be. I read Squeezy Cuddle to them and they loved it. And they were so excited to see Pemberthy in it. That’s one of their favourite books. One thing I know about kids is that what adults think kids will like is not always the case, so reading them a new book can sometimes be fraught will peril. But they loved it, and even wanted to hear it again.
5. You’re a teacher, a mother of two, you write some of your own books and you illustrate. How do you fit it all in? Any tips for other time-strapped creators?
I’m not sure that I do fit it all in. Lately I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s not worth panicking about and you’ll get done what you get done. And somehow I seem to get more done that way.
Thanks so much for dropping in, Jacqui Enjoy the rest of your tour.
It was an absolute pleasure, Sally. I’m hoping to return the favour some day. I’ll have to get a blog up and running first, but will be a fun challenge.
You can follow Jacqui on her virtual book tour by visiting these venues:
Day 1 – Saturday 10 November — Bren MacDibble’s Beast of Moogill
Day 2 – Sunday 11 November – Sally Murphy’s Scribblings
Day 3 – Monday 12 November – Robyn Opie’s Writing Children’s Books
Day 4 – Tuesday 13 November – Pemberthy Bear’s Pemberthy’s Ponderings
Day 5 – Wednesday 14 November – Claire Saxby’s Let’s Have Words
Day 6 – Thursday 15 November – Tina Marie Clark’s What is Happening in my Office?
Day 7 – Fri 16 November – Sally Odger’s Spinning Pearls
You can purchase the book online, direct from the publisher.
And, you can visit Jacqui online at: