Today I have the pleasure of welcoming the lovely Tania McCartney to my blog, as a hop-stop on the blog tour for the release of Riley and the Jumpy Kangaroo – a journey around Canberra. Read on to learn more about this author and her writing process.
This year was easy, as it is Canberra’s 100th birthday—a perfect time for Riley to visit. I had actually planned on releasing the book at the end of 2012, in time for the start of the Centenary, but I’ve been overloaded with other books, and Jumpy Roo had to wait.
I think this small delay has worked out well, though, especially as I get to launch the book at Floriade, which will be extra huge this year.
Kieron Pratt is responsible for the adorable illustrations in your Riley series. How much fun is it to work with Kieron? He seems like a funny guy.
He’s hilarious. He’s like a cartoon character—seriously funny, and larger than life.
Kieron brings SO much to the Riley series. I love sending him an illustration brief then waiting to see what he comes back with. He injects so much MORE into whatever I envisage … so much humour, new insights, new ways of thinking. I’ve actually changed text to suit his illustrations.
Do other people ever suggest places for Riley to visit?
They do. Especially school kids. Of course, their first preference is always their very own school, followed by their very own house. And they all want to feature in the books, too (naturally).
During school presentations, I often ask kids where Riley should travel to next and the answers have been incredibly varied, although Antarctica, under the sea and the moon feature prominently.
Kieron and I have talked about a trip to the North Pole to visit Santa, for a Christmas book version. I’d love to do that. Of course, it would mean a trip to Finland for photos. What a shame.
This is the fifth book in the Riley series. What have you loved most about producing these books?
Definitely the travel aspect. I’m an insatiable traveller and I believe it’s an unparalleled way to expand and educate children, even if it’s to a nearby town or uncharted suburb.
I’ve also loved laying out the pages for the books—I have a deep affection for book design and have been doing it for some time. It’s so fantastic to work with a publisher that allows this opportunity—not only with Ford Street but also with my books for the National Library and Exisle’s new imprint, EK Publishing.
How have kids responded to the series?
I’ll never forget coming home from four years in Beijing with my first picture book—Riley and the Sleeping Dragon: a journey around Beijing—and believing it would tank. The book did really well with China’s expat community but I honestly never expected the book to attract Aussie kids. I was wrong.
Australian kids are some of the world’s best travelled and multicultural. I was shocked at how much kids embraced the book and this experience alone is why I made more books in the series.
I love how exploration and curiosity is central to the Australian child. Watching them armchair travel in my Riley books is a real joy for me. I love seeing them explore new places or recognise their own.
If you could choose any five destinations—anywhere, anytime—where would you send Riley next?
Oh golly. Outer space, definitely—scooting around the planets and the stars.
Then under the sea.
After that, I’d send him on a dream run to a string of tropical islands.
Then Narnia. Could you imagine?
Lastly, I would love to send him to the Arctic Circle to visit Santa’s workshop. (I really do want to go to Finland!)
The Jumpy Roo book launch is being held at Floriade this year! Anyone living in or visiting Canberra on 15 September is invited along, but RSVPs are essential if you want a goodie bag and balloon! You can find out more here.
You can also visit the Riley the Little Aviator website (www.rileyaviator.com) to see updates, learn more about the places Riley visits, and see behind-the-scenes work. There’s also some Fun Activities for kids.
Learn more about Tania’s books at her website – http://www.taniamccartney.com.
Blog Tour Schedule
Bound along with Roo on a Very Jumpy Tour! Monday 29 July to Thursday 1 August at the following destinations:
STARTS MONDAY 29 JULY
Full Blog Tour Schedule
Tania McCartney’s Blog
Kids Book Review
Interview and Review
Boomerang Books Blog
Children’s Books Daily
TUESDAY 30 JULY
Instagram Book Giveaway
Review and Five Picture Book Writing Tips
WEDNESDAY 31 JULY
My Little Bookcase
Guest Post – Behind the Scenes
Sheryl Gwyther’s Blog
Review and Author Interview
Pass It On
Elaine Ouston Blog – On Writing
THURSDAY 1 AUGUST
Creative Kids’ Tales
Guest Post – Roo’s Top 5 Canberra Stops
Bug in a Book
Tania McCartney’s Blog