Wednesday 10 July 2013

#ReadingRocks! The ReadItDaddy Interview - We talk to the utterly lovely Tracey Corderoy, author of "NO!" (Little Tiger Press)

Tracey (and doggy pal Dylan!)
NO! By Tracey Corderoy and Tim Warnes (Little Tiger Press)
You've seen our review of NO! Now meet one half of the lovely team behind the book. Author Tracey Corderoy has popped by to answer some tricky questions to celebrate the launch of her book and join in with the Little Tiger Press "Reading Rocks!" summer initiative.

ReaditDaddy (Daddy): Hi Tracey and thanks for taking time out of your hectic schedule to talk to ReadItDaddy. Tell us a little bit about yourself and of course your new book (with Tim Warnes), "NO!"

Tracey Corderoy: Hi! Well, I live in a hidden valley in the middle of trees, more trees, and squirrels (mostly in the trees), and I spend my days happily writing stories.

I’m a former primary school teacher and, while I was teaching, I loved to read stories to the children in my class. I believe stories hold the key to unlocking the imagination. They allow us to escape to amazing places; to do things we’d never get to do, and I longed to be able to create that magic too.

I’m currently having a great time writing all sorts for all ages. My stories range from picture books, (rhyme and prose) to young fiction and now, also, to novels for older children. My characters are diverse and hopefully engaging, and my stories always start with them. Then we simply have to work out the journey together!

My latest book, “NO!” introduces Archie. Undeniably adorable, this little rhino clearly has a mind of his own. We see how his growing fondness of a small word has very BIG implications. Not least for him, when Archie takes that dreaded, “NO!” word just a bit too far…

ReaditDaddy (Daddy): We think it's going to be a huge hit with parents (who, like us, hear that word a LOT and usually in exactly the same places as mummy and daddy Rhino!) Was there a particular little person who inspired Archie? (Go on, you can tell us, we won't tell anyone, promise!)

Tracey Corderoy: Let’s just say I’ve been a parent of (very adorable!) small children too. And, as I said, I was a primary school teacher, so I think those two things combined gave me lots of great starting-point material!

ReaditDaddy (Daddy): We thought "NO!" had a great 'daddy' character in it and it's a fab book for both boys and girls. Do you think authors are finding the demand for cross-gender books more tricky to write?

Tracey Corderoy: Personally, I love writing stories that appeal to both boys and girls. I think the key is finding amazing characters. Characters that anyone can’t help but root for. But sometimes, I think, it is tricky to appeal to both boys and girls simultaneously, and more so, perhaps, the older the child you write for.

Wonderful picture books have the potential to cut through divides and appeal to both genders, and a variety of ages too. But, as I say, the characters, setting, and the voice have to be just right to do this. (Very tricky, but luckily I like challenges!)

ReaditDaddy (Daddy): As you probably know, we love your other books (particularly a certain series featuring a rather groovy granny with a penchant for pointy hats). Are you allowed to talk about any top secret projects you're working on? (again we promise we won't tell anyone!)

Tracey Corderoy: Ok, then – but only if you promise not to tell! Right, top secret projects – well, I’m happy to say that I’m currently working on a sequel to “NO!” So, YES - and no - that’s not the new title - but hopefully you’ll see more of Archie quite soon!

There’s another Granny picture book in the pipeline too. It’s coming out in the autumn, as well as a young fiction series based on the magical Hubble Bubble duo, which I’m having fun writing right now, along with more charming Willow Valley stories.

And if you like robber dogs (who-don’t-mean-to-be-bad-and-once-they-know-they-ARE-are-SO-sorry-and-immediately-turn-to-cupcakes) then just watch this space, that’s all I’m saying! You know…?

ReadItDaddy (Charlotte): Quite an interesting one this. Charlotte asks "Where do you write?" 

Tracey Corderoy: Hi Charlotte! I write in my study, at my desk - with my dog, called Dylan Dog. He likes to sleep right by my chair. He waits for tea breaks because tea breaks mean biscuits and Dylan is very fond of biscuits, and fairy cakes too, come to that. Mog, my cat, sometimes comes in too (usually through the window). Then there we all are, they sleep and I write stories!

I also write in trains, in my bed, and in the garden when it’s not raining. If I get an idea when I’m the bath though, then I call for my daughter, also called Charlotte. My Charlotte then kindly sits outside the door with my note book, my pencil (and her rabbit, Truffle!). Then I call out what to write in my notebook and she does! How very good of her is that!! 

ReadItDaddy (Charlotte): This is Charlotte's killer question for authors - "Who is your favourite Princess?" (Disney or otherwise)

Tracey Corderoy: Ha! I know the answer to this one, Charlotte. No catching me out. Oh no! Though I have to say it’s a very, VERY good question!

Ok, so my favourite princess is my little princess from, ‘NEVER say no to a Princess!’

So she starts off being … well, really just horrid. She shouts and she stomps and she says she will CRY if she doesn’t get just what she wants. (I’m sure you’re not like that at all, are you? Are you???)

Anyway, guess what, Charlotte? She does ALL that but her tears lead to a big, soggy surprise. And then she starts to learn to be nicer. Quite a lot nicer, actually.

There’s a dragon in it too, but don’t worry - he doesn’t eat my princess. So it’s all quite fine in the end! (Well, apart from the palace, which is still (just slightly) popped.)If I couldn’t choose my own princess then I also really like Cinderella, a LOT!

(We're making a mental note to pick up "NEVER say no to a Princess" as soon as possible!!)

Thank you so much Tracey, we hope you and Tim have huge success with NO! and we cannot wait to see those other top secret projects we promise not to talk about too!

Find out more at the Little Tiger Press 'Reading Rocks' website and don't forget to visit those other fantastic blogs on the tour too!