So today you have reached everything mummy for the final day of the blog tour for the brand new children’s book Zak and Jen’s Astronomical Adventures – Tinsel Town written by the ever so lovely Natalie Page.
The girls are big fans of Zak and Jen’s Astronomical Adventures books as already as mentioned in a blog post about our recent reads, they instantly recognised the new book from the distinctive illustrations by Chris Rivers Nuttall when I told them Zak and Jen were off on a christmasy adventure in this story they couldn’t wait for it to be bed time – which never happens by the way!
The girls and I just love how filled with magic and excitement these stories are as it’s a children’s book I figured they would be best to include their own quotes and thoughts on the book…
Maisy aged 5 – “I like the story because it’s about christmas and I like christmas because it’s fun”
Bella Aged 4 – “I like reading stories in mummy’s bed because it’s cosy this story is funny and I like the pictures”
Lottie aged 2 – “My read it to you now?”
I mean with quotes like this I think I ought to jack in the blogging and hand it over to them!
I have worked closely with Author Natalie as she has published both books lately and as someone who would love one day to write her own books I wanted a nose into what gives you the idea’s etc so I asked some questions I thought I would share with you guys too!
1. How did you get the idea for Zak and Jen?
To be honest, the inspiration for the stories came from Chris’ paintings. He had often painted these two characters and I was desperate to write a story around them. One night, I was trying to get my daughter to sleep and the story for the first book literally just started appearing in my head. Suddenly my brain was full of rhyming lines so I got my phone out (at 3am) and started writing. The same was true of Tinsel Town. I hadn’t intended to write a Christmas book, but once again, when my daughter wasn’t sleeping I found that the story just came to me. I called Chris the next day and said, how do you fancy doing a Christmas book? and he was like ‘yeah that sounds awesome!’ so we just went with it!
2. How long did it take for your ideas to become a real life book?
Honestly? The Petal Planet (our first book) was written in early 2015 but it wasn’t actually published until May 2016. The formal publishing process is a long one and there are lots of hoops you need to jump through. With Tinsel Town, the process has taken about 6 months from initial draft to finished book. Ideally we would have liked longer, but unfortunately we couldn’t move Christmas so we had to work quickly!
3. Did you always want to be a Children’s author?
I have always loved writing, even when I was a child. However, it wasn’t until I was on maternity leave that I had the freedom to start writing again and I got the bug back! These days, I am hooked, and if I am not working on a book then I start to get frustrated!
4. What was your most recent read?
I have just started reading Avalon by Mindee Arnett, which is a Sci Fi YA story. In addition to writing Children’s picture books I also write young adult fiction so I love reading other YA books to see what else is out there. Avalon was also recommended by a friend so I am excited to see how it turns out!
5. What’s next for Zak and Jen?
We definitely have more stories planned – but we have also been exploring other ideas like children’s clothes, prints and plushie dolls of the characters as so many people have asked us about them! Who knows, maybe we will be approached by a big publisher to pick up the series?
And right now I also have a copy of the new book for you guys to win, just in time for christmas! WOOOOO!!!! Enter via the gleam widget below, UK only. T&C’s Apply.