What is your latest or upcoming book about? My latest book is called ‘Hide and Seek’ published by Meadowside children’s book publisher on June 2011 in UK. It is about animals playing hide and seek game. Story goes like this ‘ As the light falls through the leaves in the forest, the animals gather for a game of hide and seek. As elephant counts to 10 while others try to hide somewhere they like. But where is Chameleon? And there are large numbers (1 to 10) on each page for pre-school learning.’ I am also working on a couple of books with a UK publisher and Korean publisher. Two different stories! One is about babies of animals and the other is about a boy who does not want to go to bed. Those books will be published in late 2012.
What inspired you to write it? I get most of my ideas from real life or my experiences. For instance, I have got an idea of ‘ZZzzz:A Book of Sleep’ when I lay down on bed to sleep one day. I suddenly wondered how animals sleep? Then I got up and wrote down two words, ‘sleep and animals’, on a piece of paper. Then I researched how animals sleep in many ways when I woke up next day and I was getting into the fact there were so many different ways to sleep! I wanted to make this to a story.
I knew a few animals that migrate and hibernate, but I was sure there were a lot more about it and felt it could be a book! That’s how I started ‘Brrr:A Book of Winter’.
If you observe things around you and throw a questions to yourself ‘how or why’, then you can start to find there are so many things that you want to tell a story to other people.
Keep your eyes and ears wide open!
And you have to know well what you are doing and telling, because you are the person who knows your story very well but no one else.
What did you do before you became an author? I was a student who studied industrial engineering. But all of sudden my life had changed after came to London and I wanted to draw! When I was young, I also liked to draw but I never imagine myself as become an author or illustrator. It’s quite dramatic change for me. But I really enjoy myself as a picture book author and enjoy writing stories and illustrating books.
How does it feel to be a published author? Any advice for struggling writers? It is really difficult to find a right publisher indeed. After I finished my course, I sent my CV and sample images to as many publishers as I could. Some of publishers showed interests, some never answer it back and some had a reaction as they were not interested. I was lucky to meet the publisher that I have been working with, though.
So Keep trying!
Where do you see book publishing heading? Well, This is quite a difficult question indeed. I am not the expert to say this but book publishing will not be same as it has been past decade, but people still want to see books on paper as well as using Iphone and Ipad. Maybe novels and text books will move forward to e-book format time to time. But there will not be a dramatic change for picture books as it has a strong character as a paper book format for picture books. I also like to work in new areas but hopefully picture book publishing remains still as long as there are people who needs, especially for babies and young readers.