Elias: Welcome, Della.
Della: I'm honoured you're interviewing me. And your moustache is the greatest.
Elias: As a child you grew up on a farm in Montana. Did you grow cabbages there?
Della: I only remember one time we grew cabbage and my mom tried to make sauerkraut. She had this HUGE stoneware crock that she mixed the most vile smelling stuff imaginable. We put the crock outside around by the side of the house as far from the windows as we could and it still smelled like something died. My brother and I would circle the crock, holding our fingers tightly over our noses and dare each other to take in a deep breath as we hung our heads over the crock. I never won the bet and to this day I don't like sauerkraut. My father must have felt the same way because we never grew cabbages again!
Elias: How has living on a farm, riding on horses, breeding slugs and throwing cabbages helped you in shaping and creating your stories?
Della: I guess the sheer isolation of growing up and living in the boonies, made me a very imaginative person. I spent a lot of time as a child at the creek telling stories to the turtles. They weren't very appreciative of my story-telling skills. When the turtles bored of storytelling, I would make up songs for them. I didn't get to breed slugs on the farm, but we had plenty of prairie dogs. Does that count?
Elias: When you longed to live the big city life you chose to go to Texas. Why didn't you choose to go to New York City or Camberwell or even, Maputo?
Della: I grew up in one of the least populated states in the union. I couldn't even imagine living in huge city like NYC, although now it is one of my fave places to visit. Texas seemed like a logical step up without being a continent away. Also, my grandparents were snowbirds and wintered in South Texas and summered in Minnesota. Anything my grandparents did was super awesome to me. In fact, two of the characters in my book are named after them. When you see the name Archie in my book, that was my grandfather's name, and Irene was my grandmother's.
I had to look up Maputo and Camberwell on google. I only wish I knew of those places when I made my decision to move. I might have lived somewhere else. :)
Elias: In your book Spirit Warriors: The Concealing, the four main characters can move their spirits into the bodies of various animals. None of them move their spirits into the bodies of slugs. Why not? Are you a sluggist? Why did you choose those particular animals?
Della: LOL, This is how racism rumors get started! I am not racist towards slugs. I don't particularly like them, but I don't wish them dead. Well maybe just a little dead. Maybe I better stop, before I get in trouble. :)
Each animal was picked for the power they wield in the Native American world and to match the personality of the character. Ollie is one of the characters. He is fun-loving, mischievous, smart, and crafty. His animal the coyote, Zephyr, is believed by the Native Americans to have these same attributes. By the end of the series, you will see the powers of each animal.
Elias: What can you tell us about Native American magic? Any spells that you can teach me that I can use on my neighbour, Dieter?
Della: No spells, but you could make a fetish. The Native Americans would carve an animal form out of wood or stone. They believed the fetish had a spirit of its own that would protect the owner. I'm thinking a slug fetish might do the job. Let me know how it goes.
Elias: Will there be a sequel to Spirit Warriors: The Concealing? Perhaps Spirit Warriors: The Furry Moustache?
Della: Actually there is a sequel and it is due out late June 2014. The name is Spirit Warriors: The Scarring. There will be a total of 5 books and can I say maybe possibly someday on the furry mustache?
Elias: Would you consider writing a novel about the Wild West featuring Billy the Slug as a notorious outlaw?
Della: Possibly, maybe we could work together on that one. I'll bring the Wild West experience and you bring the slugs!
Elias: When you go biking across places like the Golden Gate Bridge, do you go by push-bike?
Della: Actually I rode the traditional bike, but my friends had one with a motor. I'm not sure it helped because you still had to push the @#*&^ thing up the hill to get to the bridge.
Elias: If you need help with your coffee addiction my slugs can contaminate your coffee granules. After which, you'll never go near it again! Would you like their assistance?
Della: Can I pass on the slugs contaminating my coffee grounds? People don't seem to like me when I go without my coffee!
Elias: Which other books do you plan to write about Elias Zapple?
Della: How about Cabbage Killer: Making sauerkraut with Elias? Or Slugs Unite, a Story of Elias's Revenge. Feel free to use either one. :)
Thank you, Della.
Spirit Warriors: The Concealing
Sixteen-year-old Emme Belrose has it all: four best friends, a horse of her own, a hidden tepee hangout, and a blossoming romance with tall and handsome Charlie. These friends also have a secret. They can move their spirits into animal bodies: an osprey, a mustang, a grizzly, a mountain lion and a coyote. But when Charlie, who has a gift for seeing the future, has a vision of Emme drowning in the icy Yellowstone River, the Spirit Warriors must train their animal bodies to kill an enemy they know is coming… but know nothing about. Suspenseful, romantic, and awash in Native American magic, Spirit Warriors captures the tragic enchantment of the American West—and confirms the power of friendship.
Elias: Konnichiwa, Elsa.
Elsa: Mr Snazzy looks wonderful. I'm jealous.
Elias: Being that you live in Japan, do you eat your slug raw?
Elsa: Unfortunately, I am not a huge fan of raw slug, I do enjoy however the more “western” adaptation of this delicacy-fried.
Elias: How does living in Japan and being surrounded by sumo wrestlers, influence your writing style?
Elsa: My children and I are big fans of the local library. The children’s book section is incredible and I am always amazed at the quantity of children’s books that display nudity, of course it is done in such an innocent and playful way that it makes seeing pictures of nearly naked Sumos pretty awesome. It has made my writing style bigger and bolder.
Elias: Your book, 'Goo and Spot in the Do Not Wiggle Riddle', teaches the importance of good listening skills. Would it work on slugs too? Some of my slugs have gotten to be very disobedient as of late.
Elsa: I am not sure if slug world has wi-fi but up here we are bombarded by daily distractions and an over abundance of media, active listening is in fact becoming a thing of the past. Goo and Spot in The Do Not Wiggle Riddle, was created as a result of noticing the trend of people looking down at mobile devices rather than face a speaker during a conversation. Teaching children this is not acceptable should start at an early age.
Elias: The illustrations of Goo and Spot look as though they have a touch of anime about them. What inspired this style and would you consider employing Yoshi the Slug to illustrate your next book?
Elsa: Yoshi the Slug would have to formally apply and be interviewed but being that I already have a strong partnership with Catherine Toennisson, the current illustrator, Yoshi’s luck runs short. Catherine, is in fact a huge fan of anime more specifically a huge fan of Hayao Miyazaki director of Studio Ghibli. Her strength lies in storyboarding which is evident in Goo and Spot in The Do Not Wiggle Riddle. Catherine, has recently started her own web comic showcasing this strength, to see more of her wonderful work visit her here
http://fyrecalla.deviantart.com/ or ://papercallalilies.tumblr.com/.
Elias: How did you come up with the name Goo? Was it after my slugs had slimed your kitchen?
Elsa: The name Goo was inspired after a little slug in my life, a mischievous and energetic little boy, Christopher.
Elias: You say that you're a country girl at heart. Did you grow then throw many a cabbage in your younger days?
Elsa: I am indeed a country girl, born and raised amongst the agriculture fields of California. As for “cabbage chugging” younger days- I had plenty. Never once bought fruit until I moved out of California, prior to that It had been hand picked from the fields by my grandfather, everything from watermelons to cabbages.
Elias: Did mathematical genius and amateur dramatics enthusiast, Clyde the Slug, help you with your book 'My Journal Notes on Addition and Diversity'?
Elsa: I will take all the help I can get in mathematics even if it comes from Clyde the math savvy slug. The book was such an effortless project. On a vacation trip to Las Vegas, a dear friend of mine showed me her most recent illustrations, a set of wooden dolls from around the world, an idea was born and the book soon followed. A rare case of illustrations came first, ingenuity.
Elias: How do you come up with your ideas? Is it due to the stuff that my slugs put into your tea?
Elsa: I take my tea with milk and two lumps of slug, sit quietly while my little ones doodle and play and gather my inspiration from the beauty of their childhood.
Elias: Would you consider writing a book to help English-speaking slugs learn Japanese?
Elsa: The goal is that all of the books I write be translated for bilingual readers both in Japanese and Spanish. I am fluent in Spanish and around mid-level in Japanese. However with so much to learn and do, I have yet to reach that goal.
Elias: How did you find our group, Fun-tastic Children's Books (Slugs Welcome)? How much do you love it? Do you consider the group's founder to be an absolute genius?
Elsa: I was lucky enough to receive an invite from one of the group members. I love the group and I apologize ahead of time for not being more active in it with helpful information, life is pretty hectic at the moment. I do however enjoy being surrounded by fellow authors, I have always believed it takes a very special person to write for children. It is very difficult to get noticed and quite easy to get discouraged but knowing that we are all in it together for a common good, children’s literature makes it a bit more bearable. As for the groups founder, thank you AND I plea the slug amendment in answering any more questions…
Thank you, Elsa. Try not to eat too many slugs.
Goo and Spot in the Do Not Wiggle Riddle
Funny, silly and sweet, Goo and Spot teaches the importance of good listening skills. This amusing riddle educates without sounding like lessons and lectures. Instead, it has a fun and imaginative style. This book about Goo and Spot’s amazing and colorful adventures will definitely hit a child’s funny bone, with a valuable lesson learned along the way!
My Journal Notes on Addition and Diversity
A wonderfully sweet journal-and-doodle style picture book for ages five and under that teaches early mathematics concepts; counting and addition. Illustrated with whimsy wooden dolls from around the world, the book sends a message of diversity and acceptance.
My moustache is great, my slugs are great, my cabbages are great and Elias Zapple is meh.