Joining us today is Joanne Lécuyer, author of Kaptain Vamp. This is a children’s book geared toward ages 7-10 and anyone that is young at heart.
Welcome to The Children’s and Teen’s Book Connection, Joanne. Can you please start off by telling us a bit about yourself?
Well, while I really love writing books and giving story writing workshops for kids, I have a full time job in communications and change management with the Canadian federal government. The daytime job keeps me pretty busy.
In my spare time, I’m also a professional and personal coach and a Reiki Master. I have a very active mind and like to do many things. I consider myself as an eternal learner. I’m turning 50 next year, so I’m beginning to pay more attention to my body now. I need it to keep up with me and my many projects!
I live in a small rural community outside ofOttawa,Ontariowith my husband Rick, our dog Kato and two cats, Black Magic and Minx. For fun, I love to read, write, and watch movies (Rick and I love animated movies – especially the ones for kids). We also spend time with friends and family.
When did you first get bit by the writing bug?
I’ve always been writing something or other. But I would say that finding my passion for writing kids books started in 2009, and just keeps on growing.
Why did you decide to write stories for children?
I’ve been writing stories for children for about 2 years now. But, it all started about 6-7 years ago. After spending a weekend with my younger brother who’s extremely creative and a graphic artist, I got an idea for a story that I called Topsyturvia. On my way back home on the train, I jotted the story down on some scraps of paper. When I got home I just put the pages away.
In 2009, I remembered that I had written the story and transcribed into my computer and just kept adding to it. I got to about 6,000 words and read it to my husband who told me that he thought it was a very good story. So I gave a copy to a few colleagues with children and they liked it too. Everyone has been so supportive and encouraging. I decided to publish my first book The Witch, the Cat and the Egg last fall. Since then, I’ve had so many story ideas it’s been great. I look forward to having the time to write them all down.
Do you believe it is harder to write books for a younger audience?
To me, it feels like it’s easier writing children’s fantasy books, since I can use my imagination and anything is possible. For the last few years, I’ve been writing things like speeches and correspondence. Writing for someone else is hard. It’s difficult to know exactly what they want to say.
What is your favorite part of writing for young people?
What I enjoy most about writing for young people is stirring their imagination. I’m always hoping that they will enjoy the story, as much as I love writing them, and that it will awaken the reader/writer/illustrator in them. It’s a challenge to hold kids’ attention these days, since we have to compete with video games, television, YouTube, Facebook, etc.
Over the summer, I gave 4 story writing workshops for kids, in a school and at a summer camp. In addition to sharing my writing process with them, it was exciting to help them use their own imagination in creating characters and story ideas. I totally enjoy writing for them and playing with them in the workshops.
Can you tell us what your latest book is all about?
My latest book is Kaptain Vamp. It’s the story a young vampire named Allistaire, who is also part human. He wants to change the fact that humans are afraid and distrustful of vampires. His family has been living among humans for hundreds of years and they’ve always used their abilities for good. One day, while reading his favourite superhero comic, Allistaire decides that he’s going to do everything he can to help humans. In order to become a superhero, Allistaire will start by doing good deeds. His sidekick, his human friend Rich, offers to help him out.
What inspired you to write it?
Since vampires have been the rage for adults for the last few years, I thought it would be fun to write a story about them for kids. I liked the challenge of taking this theme and making it positive. I didn’t want to give the kids nightmares. Also, I thought a vampire-human superhero would make a good story.
Where can readers purchase a copy?
The eBook is available on my website at www.topsybooks.com.
The print version will be there in November – just in time for Christmas!
I’m working on getting it on to Amazon and Barnes and Noble soon.
Do you have a website and/or blog where readers can find out more?
On topsybooks.com you can find out more about Kaptain Vamp and my other book The Witch, the Cat and the Egg. Kids can download images from the books to color and learn words from the books in 5 different languages. There is also a monthly draw for copies of books or t-shirts.
What is up next for you?
I have a few writing projects on the go. An artist friend is working on the images for my next book about a fairy. My brother is working on the images for my Topsyturvia series.
I’m also experimenting with other writing mediums. I’ll soon have one or two new comic strips that will be available only on the website. Readers will be able to vote for the one they prefer and I’ll either continue with as a comic or turn it into a future book.
I’m working on an adult short fiction story that I’m considering entering into a contest later this year.
Do you have anything else to add?
When I started writing stories for children, I decided that I would write the kinds of books that leave my readers feeling good and wanting more; that also leave them with a smile on their faces. The type of book that you can read to kids before they go to bed that will help them have good dreams! That’s what Topsy Books is all about. My personal motto is “Dare to imagine and believe in the magic of possibilities!” I hope that new readers will make Topsy Books part of their reading collection.
There will be sequels to The Witch, the Cat and the Egg and Kaptain Vamp next year. An eBook of the Witch book is available on the website. An audio and French version of the book will be coming soon.
Thanks for the interview and for reading Kaptain Vamp.
Thank you for spending time with us today, (Joanne Lécuyer). We wish you much success.
Kaptain Vamp web page:
Topsy Books website:
Topsy Books Facebook:
Topsy Books Twitter: @JoTopsyBooks
Release: November 2011
eBook buy link: ($6.99) (epub, mobi, pdf)
Paperback buy link: ($12.99)