The Great & Wondrous Storyteller can be heard on Little Rockers Radio for the week Monday 17th August - Sunday 23rd August at 11am & 5pm (AEST) and is the first book to be featured on Story Time. Little Rockers Radio & The Five Mile Press are delighted to be bringing stories to children Australia wide.
I caught up with the author, Michael, today to ask him about the book, why he writes for children and how went from an idea to having his first book published with The Five Mile Press.
Michael is a Dad of three – aged six to 11. Previously a kid’s librarian, he now works at home mostly on comics but also writing and illustrating content for children. He gets things done while the kids are at school and in the evenings. Michael likes to read, draw comics and fill his house with LEGO.
Little Rockers Radio: We are excited to be launching Story Time and starting with your book, The Great and Wondrous Storyteller. Please tell me a little about it.
Michael Scott Parkinson: The Great and Wondrous Storyteller' is a book about books. It’s about what books represent and what they can lead to. It’s about what a book is, how to hold a book and how to read a book. It’s about how to start your own journey to become a great and wondrous storyteller yourself.
I wrote it when I was working as a kid’s librarian and there was an awful statistic going around to do with the number of kids entering kindergarten never having touched a book. I wanted to address that but do it in a fun and silly way. Thus the storyteller was born.
LRR: What other books have you written?
MSP: This is the first book I've written that’s NOT been self-published. I've illustrated a few smaller projects though, the most high profile would be a chapter book called Darcy Moon and the Deep-fried Frogs (Fremantle Press). I drew a LOT of frogs in the year that THAT book came out.
I self-published a book through Amazon called 'Dragons are nothing like penguins'. Not available anymore though.
LRR: How long have you been writing for?
MSP: I don’t really do a lot of writing, I'm mostly an illustrator. Having said that I do write and draw all my own comics and I certainly hope to write (and draw) more picture books and hopefully chapter books in the future.
Come to think of there WAS a lot of attention around my retelling of The Three Little Pigs in Grade 1. I think I wrote 20 pages and it was bound at the front office and everything! It was the talk of the playground.
(It sounds like I'm joking but it was a big deal at the time. At least my parents thought so! ;) )
LRR: Why children’s books? How did you start?
MSP: I dealt with children's books a lot while I worked at the library.
I would be constantly buying kid’s books, sorting them, reading them to kids as well as reading books to my three children when I got home at night. I was surrounded in children's literature!
Before then I was mostly interested in comic strips/comic books for kids but after being exposed to kid’s literature 24 hours a day/7 days a week my attention diverted to those. Picture books are a lot like comics in a way, with the merging of the words and the pictures. I ended up sending some samples to a local publisher and one thing lead to another.
LRR: What are the best bits about creating stories and writing for kids?
MSP: The best thing is that I still love to read stories created for and written for kids! I spend all my time reading comics, playing video games and messing with LEGO with my kids so I have the right mindset ;) Material for kids can be funny and silly and it’s allowed to still be hopeful and enthusiastic about the world. I like that attitude.
LRR: How would you describe your writing style?
MSP: I would hope my writing style is a little bit unusual, a little humorous and provides some interest to the parents as well as to the kids. I want to try to provide something a little different to most of the picture books out there which is tricky as there is a real idea of what picture books should be.
LRR: Where do the story ideas come from?
MSP: I have a LOT of ideas – whether any of them are good enough to end up in books is the real question. Hopefully they will be.
LRR: Where do you write best? Home, out and about, etc?
MSP: I think of ideas best when I'm walking. It can be in the house, in the street, pacing back and forth in the passageway...it doesn’t matter. As long as I'm walking.
WIN! WIN! WIN! WIN! WIN! WIN! WIN! WIN! WIN! WIN! WIN! WIN! WIN! WIN! WIN! WIN! WIN! WIN! WIN! WIN!
Michael Scott Parkinson has signed his book and illustrated this one off piece for one lucky child! To enter just pop over to Facebook, look for this picture and pop a comment on why you would like to win!
Competition starts Monday 17th August and the winner is announced Sunday 23rd August!