Friday, August 26, 2011

INTERVIEW WITH CHILDREN'S AUTHOR, KATE TENBETH

INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR, KATE TENBETH!

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You have created some really amazing characters, and your books are simply a delight to read. Can you tell us how exactly Burly and Grum were born?

Firstly, thank you for your kind words, I'm blushing over here in the UK! I've always loved writing and when my son was born I was able to indulge my love of wild, woolly and totally impossible stories to keep him entertained. I should perhaps add that my son is now 21 (how did that happen?!) so the characters of Burly and Grum were first created about 15 years ago now, I just never thought that I'd ever be able to publish the stories. I have Penelope Fletcher, the indie author, to thank for opening my eyes to the possibilities of self-publishing.

I'm sure your son loves Burly and Grum, I am curious to know if their human friend is perhaps based on your son?

Even though he's 21 my son still loves Burly and Grum, and his friends are also great supporters, which is wonderful. I'm not sure who Max is based on because I know so many teenage boys, but my son was (sometimes still is!), on occasion, more like Grum in nature than Max!!

What do you have planned for Burly and Grum next? I know I'm on pins and needles for their next adventure!

I've just started the third book and a beach party is planned - how Burly is going to cope with sun block on his glossy fur though I don't know...

How old were you when you first knew you had a love for writing and creating?

I have a very clear memory of sitting in a classroom when I was about 8 trying to write a story about tap dancing mice and giggling a lot! When I was a teenager I was a bit like the character Emma in 'One Day' and used to write my friends huge, long newsy screeds of letters - I never knew when to stop!


Have you lived in England all your life?

I have indeed. My father was in the Royal Air Force so we travelled around a lot when I was young - I've lived in Wales, Scotland, Cornwall, Suffolk, Bedfordshire, Yorkshire.... I could go on but even I run out of counties in the end! Oh yes, I can't forget that at one point in my twenties I lived in Grenada in the West Indies for a couple of years, when I helped to run a dive shop.

Do you have any thoughts on writing other books outside of the Burly and Grum Series?

I've already written a mystery story and fantasy novel, both for teenagers. For some reason, as well as the funny I'm also pretty adept at writing a good sword fight scene, goodness knows why! I'd really like to work on these books and publish them as well, but like so many people I work full time, run a home and it's not always easy to fit things in.

Tell us more about your illustrator, he seems to be quite the cartoonist! How did you two meet?

Rob used to work for one of the top graphic design studios in London. We have a mutual friend who introduced us all those years ago - I gave him the story and he drew the characters but funnily enough we've never actually met face to face! When I rang Rob in March this year, it was well over 10 years since we'd been in touch and he'd moved up north, but he still remembered the work and trusted me enough to do some more for me. Rob is incredibly talented and I hope that these books will showcase this talent because he's keen for more work - so if you know anyone who needs an artist he's ready, willing andvery talented...

I just have to know about the cats, Bud and Puzzle have you ever thought about introducing them into your stories in some way, and just how mischevious are they?

Puzzle is just sooooo naughty and is such a girl, with long, boingy eyebrows and she sashays as she walks - I swear that if she were human she'd be in pink all the time! Bud (short for Budweiser) is much more manly and walks like John Wayne. I'd love to bring them into the story and wonder how Grum would cope with them - it could be an interesting meeting!

I absolutely love your writing and plot development and the way you allow your characters to grow with each story, how did you come up with the idea for the Groblins?

I'm not really sure to be honest - I knew exactly what I wanted all those years ago, something green, not conventionally 'pretty', a bit tetchy but not scary - I think Grum just came from my sense of the quirky. At first I called him a gremlin, but was never comfortable with that term because it conjures up scary creatures. It was Rob who had a eureka moment and came up with the term Groblin!

Finally is there any advice you'd like to give to other writers out there?

Always be supportive of other writers and try to help them in a constructive way. Share knowledge. Write from the heart and be brave. About five years ago I won an Arts Council Award to help me develop my writing skills and was so keen and eager to learn, but actually found it quite a depressing experience - everyone I met who was involved in the publishing world, hammered home the fact that the chances of ever becoming published were so remote it wasn't even worth thinking about. Publishers have thousands of scripts to read they said, they don't have time to help develop talent they said... it was all very depressing. So my advice is - be supportive of other writers, it's darn hard out there but nothing is impossible when you have friends who understand what you're going through!

Thank you so much for your time Kate!


For more information on Kate Tenbeth and her wonderful books please visit her site at: http://www.burlyandgrum.com/

Read more: http://www.greatmindsthinkaloud.proboards.com/index.cgi?action=display&board=interviews&thread=429#ixzz1WBqH139u

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