Friday, 10 January 2014

Interview with Tracey Corderoy

Last year we did a DIY Story Sack feature where we made a story sack. The book chosen for the sack was Tracey Corderoys ‘Little White Owl’ [to read press here].

Little did we know that Tracey herself is an avid story sack maker, and then she makes on for every book she writes, and takes them to school, shops and libraries for book events. We caught up with her at the Oxford Children’s Book Groups, ‘Ways into Reading’ conference [ to read more about the conference check out Mostly Books Blog click here and Child-led Chaos blog here], and managed to give her one of our specially made ‘little white owls’ we also managed slip in a get a quick interview.

What was your favourite book as a child?

Had to be the Ladybird Cinderella book, it was the only book I remember having.

What is your favourite children’s book as an adult?

It has to be the Harry Potter books they’re incredible and JK Rowling is an amazing storyteller who paints incredible pictures.

Why do you think children’s books are so inspirational?

I think they are inspirational because they are not afraid to express the impossible and take you on amazing journeys into the imagination. They are also full of amazing characters you want to care about.

Why did you want to write for children?

When I was a primary school teacher I discovered that reading to the children was my favourite part of the day and theirs. I found I had so many ideas of stories and concept so when I moved into an old cottage I decided to just do it. To write.

What is the best thing about writing for children?

For me it’s the amazing adventures you can go on when you write. When I write I live the story and it enriches me. It can take me anywhere, for me it opens up horizons.

What is the most difficult thing about writing for children?

I think when you’re writing a number of stories at the same time it can be difficult to meet all the deadlines. It would be nice to take your time. I NEVER deliver things I don’t love. So sometimes I work through the night to make them as perfect as they can be.

Which is harder to write Picture Books or Fiction? Which do you like the most?

By far picture books are the hardest books to write technically there is so much to convey; plot, emotion and nuance in such few words. So every word needs to earn its place. Picture books are like pieces of poetry when all the elements need to work together which is what I love about them. But I do enjoy the way writing young fiction and older fiction allows you to develop characters over a number of situations, and you get to know how they’ll react which is fun!

Do you work with or meet the illustrators who illustrate your picture books?

It usually works that I write the story and then edit with my editor. Then the illustrator gets involved. I don’t meet them generally (although I’ve met some) when the illustrations come back the text will change because the illustrations add to the story. It’s a four way process between; the writer, the editor, the book designer and the illustrator. You have to share the characters which can be hard but it makes for a better book. Like my Picture book NO! I sent it off with notes saying the character was a mouse. He came back a rhino which was a bit of a shock, but it’s better as a rhino!

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