Sunday, 5 July 2015

3D Review - My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish Picture Book - Interview with Author Mo O'Hara

Back in 2013 our very first 3D review was of the very first My Big Zat Zombie Goldfish book (press here to read). Since then Frankie and Co. have gone on to have huge success across the world, so when we heard that there was a Picture Book Spin off coming out, we really wanted to celebrate it with a 3D Review. Mo, was interviewed about books and writing in the first 3D review (press here to read), but has kindly agreed to be interviewed with an entirely new set of questions, all about success, Frankie and writing Picture Books!

My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish has become hugely successful since we last interviewed you, including reaching the New York Bestsellers list. How does this feel?

Thanks for interviewing me again. This is a real treat, and I’m so excited about the first My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish Picture book!!! The day that the first MBFZG reached the NY Times Bestsellers list I found out at 11:30 at night UK time and everyone was asleep so I had a little victory celebration dance with my kittens. They were amused but not very enthusiastic about the email really.

It’s been great to see the words ‘NY Times Bestseller’ on the books in the US but as a boy reminded me when I was touring there this month. ‘Yeah, but that’s nothing special. It’s like on practically every other book isn’t it?’ So it doesn’t mean much to the readers really but it makes me smile.

How many countries is My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish been published in?

It’s out (or will be coming out in the next year or so) in about 9 countries I think. Germany, Hungary, Turkey, Australia, USA, Canada, The Chech Republic, Lithuania, and Brazil. I think.

It is so cool. I’ve heard from kids in Australia and in Germany so far. I’ve seen the German books and they look amazing. It’s great to think my book has travelled much further than me.

How does feel to think you are making children laugh across the planet?

It was really fun to tour to the West Coast of America this month and talk to kids from very different backgrounds and that live very different lives. I also might be going to a school in Germany next year so I’m very excited about that. I would love to travel more and meet readers from far away. Now if I could just get a book smuggled onto the next space station mission.... hmmmm......

This is the first My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish picture book; can you tell us is which is more difficult writing novels or picture book texts?

I found it more difficult to write the picture book because it was my first one. I always write more and edit the text down. For a picture book, every word matters so there was a lot of chopping out stuff and keeping the lines and the action very direct. I always want to go off on a long funny aside from one of the characters. Writing a book where 2 of my three main characters can’t talk did wonders for cutting my overuse of dialogue.

Marek did such an amazing job on this book too. It really is much more of a collaboration with the illustrator. I mean, Marek comes up with some spectacular stuff for the fiction series illustrations but this was full colour, full spreads and the whole world is created in the pictures. It felt real though when I first saw the colour spreads a few months ago. I looked at Sami standing in her living room and thought, ‘Yeah, that’s where Sami lives. Of course it is.’ Fang is also one of my favourite characters so I love giving her centre stage with Frankie for the book.

Lastly, can you tell us what’s next for Frankie, and the characters of My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish?

Who knows if there will be another MBFZG picture book. We are just putting the finishing touches on the last MBFZG fiction book too. ( The title is perhaps my favourite so far... Jurassic Carp!!! I love it! ) So, this might be the last we see of Frankie for a while. I’m really happy with the way the last book turned out too. I think the stories have stayed true to the original book and I still love writing about these boys’ friendship. They will stay with me a long time.

It was great to write the picture book with Sami as the protagonist though. She is a great little character with a lot more to see so I hope she gets the chance.

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