Dianne Young is the author of five books for children–The Abaleda Voluntary Firehouse Band, Purple Hair? I Don’t Care!, A World of Difference, Honey Trouble, and Dear Flyary. She also works as an educational assistant in Saskatoon Public Schools. Besides writing, she likes learning new things, taking bird pictures and blogging. You can check out her blathering, I mean her blog, at www.dianneyoung.ca.
CATHRIN: Hi Dianne … I’m so happy you agreed to do this interview. It’s a real scoop for The Giant Pie since your new picture book, Dear Flyary, isn’t even out yet.
DIANNE: Thanks, Cathrin. This is my first ever interview for a blog! You’re always leading me down exciting new paths.
CATHRIN: Now, I’m going to ask you a question that will probably make you angry. Should I go ahead anyhow?
DIANNE: Like I could stop you.
CATHRIN: I’m so glad you said that. Here goes. How did you get the initial idea for this story? What was your inspiration?
DIANNE: I started this story in 1993, but believe it or not, I do still remember its beginnings. It was the phrase boink-piffle-piffle-hum-tick-tick. No clue how I came up with it, but that was the starting point for the story. I just had to figure out what made that noise, and why.
CATHRIN: Can you give the readers of this blog an idea of what Dear Flyary is about, and its intended audience?
DIANNE: It’s a picture book listed for grades K to 3, but I hope it appeals to older kids and adults as well. It’s the diary of a little alien named Frazzle Pattzer, who has just bought his first spaceship. He’s very proud of it and becomes panicky when, over time, it starts making strange noises. Good thing he finds Wurpitz Hoolo – she’s the wisest ship-fixer on the planet. She always knows just what to do – which is usually nothing.
CATHRIN: The road to getting Dear Flyary published has been a long one, even though you had four published children’s books already under your belt. Why?
DIANNE: Ah, that’s the great mystery of a writer’s life, isn’t it? I always knew it was a great story. It just took a long time to convince a publisher of that (41 rejections but who’s counting, right?). If it’s a story you believe in, you just have to hang in there.
CATHRIN: Who is your favorite Dear Flyary character and why?
DIANNE: Hmmm … probably Frazzle’s best friend Bizzle, and probably because I just finished another story with him as the main character. I hope it will also become a book, but who knows?
CATHRIN: Tell us about the illustrations for Dear Flyary. Are they everything you hoped they would be?
DIANNE: And more! John Martz has done an incredible job. As Frazzle would say, “I big heart his illustrations.” If you’d like to see a few examples check out the 3-page spread on the Kids Can website here: http://www.kidscanpress.com/Canada/Dear-Flyary-P5975.aspx
CATHRIN: When parents go to buy a picture book for their child, or to pick one from the library shelf, the choices these days are quite overwhelming. What are the qualities that best describe Dear Flyary and will induce a parent to select it?
DIANNE: It’s fun! There’s lots of new lingo to read – gladdy (happy) and Oldpop (Grampa), for instance – and John has added in hilarious little details in the illustrations (check out the two-headed birds in the park).
CATHRIN: You named one of the characters in this story after me, a character who is (How should I put it?) rather neurotic. Should I be flattered, insulted, or both? Please note that your answer to this question will not affect the tone of this interview.
DIANNE: You’re just sore because I didn’t say Nithrak was my favourite character! Yes, Nithrak was named after you – Cathrin, turned sort of backwards. During the editing process it was suggested that I needed some more tension in the story. So at a writing day at your house, I came up with Nithrak – an annoying co-jobber of Frazzle’s who comes across as an “expert” on everything. Which is sort of backwards personality-wise from you, too (meaning that you’re not annoying, not that you’re not an expert at anything!) Moving along …
CATHRIN: When does your book go on sale, and where can we find it?
DIANNE: It goes on sale in March and will be available at finer book stores everywhere. (I’ve always wanted to say that.) If you’re an on-line shopper, just google it. You can also take a peek at it on the Kids Can Press site, as I mentioned earlier: http://www.kidscanpress.com/Canada/Dear-Flyary-P5975.aspx
CATHRIN: Thank you very much, Dianne. I can’t wait for Dear Flyary to hit the bookstores.
DIANNE: Neither can I! For those of your readers in the Saskatoon area, I’m holding a book launch/celebration on Sunday March 4th at 2 p.m. at the Rusty Macdonald Branch Library Auditorium. It will be a blast (off)!
Thanks for this opportunity, Cathrin. I love your blog and am honoured to be a part of it.