Monday, March 25, 2019
Author Interview with Evelyn Bookless- Captain Green and the Plastic Scene
The environment needs help these days, and Captain Green and the Plastic Scene is on the case! A picture book written by Evelyn Bookless and published by Marshall Cavendish Children's, let's take a look at the book and author!
Evelyn Bookless grew up on a farm in the West of Ireland. She spent her time playing in the trees with her siblings, making up games and stories, and generally being fairly good.
Evelyn has always adored reading. Her favourite part of the week was when the school bus stopped at the local library on the way home. Everyone ran in like they had never seen a book before in their lives. It was every man for themselves, trying to grab the best ones.
She went on to study English at university (where there was still a lot of running and
grabbing of books, especially at exam time). After that she studied software development and
worked in IT before deciding to train as a teacher. She loves to work with children and see the world through their eyes - they make her giggle a lot. She has taught in London, Hong Kong and Singapore and has recently moved to the Netherlands. She is trying to learn Dutch and loves riding her blue bike everywhere.
Evelyn loves to write funny stories. She is inspired by her young son and his beautiful belly laughs at silly stuff.
She also loves to travel. Some of her most memorable trips include visiting the foothills of the Himalayas, Machu Picchu and Angkor Wat. She once drove around Australia, where she threw herself off a dive boat and into the magnificent Great Barrier Reef. She was blown away by the dazzling new world below. Following this, Evelyn learned to dive properly in the Atlantic Ocean one winter because she couldn’t wait for the summer. She finds the sea magical and is fascinated by narwhals, manatees and the hosts of crazy looking creatures in the deep.
1. Tell me about your book in your own words.
I was inspired to write this story while at the beach in Indonesia. I was stunned to see so much plastic washed up on the sand, just past our hotel. I thought this is a job for a superhero and Captain Green was born. Fresh out of Superhero School, Captain Green finds himself on a major mission: saving sea creatures from plastic. Using his incredible powers, he promises to save the day but he finds out that even he can't do it all on his own.
Kiddies (big and small) find out how they can be a hero too. Superpowers are not required, anyone can do it!
2. How do you think your book will relate to kids in today’s world?
Children tend to love superheroes and will find Captain Green easy to relate to as he is just like them in some ways; he's still learning and he cares about the Earth. Soon enough our children will be the guardians of the planet and I have found them to deeply care about the effect that plastic pollution is having on the planet. I think that the message of looking after the environment has never been more needed sadly and children want to and can make a real difference.
3. Is there a message you wish to convey with this book?
Absolutely. That if we all work together and make some easy changes in our daily lives, we can drastically improve plastic pollution.
When I visit schools, I find that children connect strongly to this problem. There is one illustration in particular, where Captain Green is comforting Dolphin, that children respond so emotionally to. It has been a joy to listen to them to discuss their bright ideas to save our seas.
I have enjoyed receiving feedback from parents and teachers telling me about the changes that children have made at home and in school to reduce, reuse and recycle plastic.
4. Tell me about your writing process.
I get inspiration in all sorts of ways; from things I see and hear when out and about (especially when there are animals around), from things my little boy says and does and even from things I hear in the news. I enjoy participating in Storystorm every year and refer back to my ever-growing list of ideas when the mood hits me to start a new story.
Writing CAPTAIN GREEN AND THE PLASTIC SCENE required a lot of research. Although the story is fictional, the environmental issue is not. Once I have a rough idea of what I want to write about, I decide how best to shine a light on the problem while, most importantly, telling a story that children will enjoy and connect with. I watched documentaries, read widely and talked to a marine biologist to get a good grasp on plastic pollution. I chose three animals to include and studied their habits and habitats. It was important for me to not overwhelm children but show them some ways that they can make a difference.
I have included many patterns in the story, through the use of repeated language and applying the rule of three in different ways, with the aim of showing connections between characters and events and to aid the story’s pacing.
Most of the other stories I write are more light-hearted. I often begin with a rough concept for a story and ideas and plot lines get ironed out as I write. I just go along for the ride and love it when the writing flows. The story is often found in the revision and I am so lucky to have fantastic critique partners who cast their fresh eyes and sharp minds over the bumpy bits.
5. What were your favorite books to read as a child or teen?
As a younger child I adored The Folk of the Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton and would read it over an over imagining what the characters and their amazing tree looked like. I also loved imagining the world of The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame and read it now to my own son, who's equally as captivated. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett and Little Women by Louisa May Alcott also have a special place in my heart.
I remember being given a non-fiction book about the environment that I also used to pour over and from a young age it instilled a desire to help protect our planet and it's animals.
6. What advice would you give to up and coming authors?
Write as often as you can because it really is a skill that gets honed with practice. Join groups like The Storyteller Academy and 12x12 to learn from others and gain a wonderful support network, find some supportive critique partners and read books on the craft of writing for children. Finally, and possibly most important of all, take joy in the process of improving your craft. Oh and be patient, very, very patient!
7. What was your path to publication like?
I have always adored reading and, as a result, I studied English literature at university. Later, I trained as an elementary school teacher and was lucky enough to attend The Power of Reading course for teachers at the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education in London, where I had the honor of learning from Author/Illustrator Anthony Brown in one class. That course sparked a new excitement for children's literature and the importance of children being taught to read for pleasure.
I began writing stories for many years while working full time as an elementary teacher in London and then Hong Kong. I was writing for a few years before I joined SCBWI. Then I found my first critique group and felt like I had found 'my people'. At that point we were living in Singapore, so I submitted the manuscript for CAPTAIN GREEN AND THE PLASTIC SCENE to an editor at a large publishing house there (Marshall Cavendish), who luckily loved the story, and and agreed to publish it. The book released in North America at the end of January 2019 and I hope it will continue to inspire big and little kiddies to 'Keep It Green!'
Buy it Now-