Elias: Welcome Melinda Kinsman! Thank you for the bribe to do this interview with you.
Melinda: I would've even given you my house!
Elias: As of right now, all of your Top of the Wardrobe Gang series of books are available for free. Is this because you're secretly a communist and hope to take over the world?
Melinda: No, it's because cuddly toys are just naturally kind and generous beings! Also, we want people to download our free books so they get to know us (and our poems) a bit before we start asking for any payment for future books.
Elias: What was the inspiration behind such characters as Odd Sock, PD Monkey and Oscar Rabbit? Was it out of envy for my slugs that you desired to create even cuter characters?
Melinda: As you will see from the second photo below, 4 of the gang are very much part of our real family. Our poor tiger had his name and appearance changed in the books, to avoid Disney knocking at our door complaining! (He wasn't too chuffed that I asked him to wear a paper bag for the photo. In fact I had planned on missing him out of the gang altogether, but my husband felt that would be unfair.) Our monkey is indeed a jet-setting little dude, and in a few weeks time, Buster really will be travelling to Norway crammed into my climbing helmet (as illustrated in Book 1!)
Burton is the name of a pottery bear I own, and is really the sort of "ideal" bear I would have liked to own as a child. (My real bears always seemed much grumpier, with far less altruistic tendencies!) As for Odd Sock, well the idea for her came from seeing a joke on FB with socks marching in pairs into the washing machine, calling out "remember the buddy system" to each other! (And her character has more than a little bit of me in it!)
I'm afraid the gang had all been formed long before I was aware of the enviable cuteness of your slugs...
Elias: How did you come up with the ideas for these books? Were they a result of the cabbage that I threw which bounced off your noggin?
Melinda: No, you'd not yet chucked any cabbages at me when I wrote the first books!
I originally wrote a load of poems for my niece years ago, when she was 6. I illustrated them with clipart to make "one off" books just for the family. I am unable to sit to use a PC, due to neck issues, so the idea to do "proper" books for open distribution came when I found I could use an iPad lying down, and then found that apps existed to make books using them. I later also discovered drawing apps, so started playing around at illustrating.
Elias: PD Monkey has travelled to many different places such as Yosemite National Park and Bali. May I have his air miles?
Melinda: My husband and I travel a lot, but tend to travel on a tight budget - I don't think we travel with anyone "posh enough" to give us useable air miles (and as both Buster and (PD) Monkey stowaway in our hand luggage, they certainly haven't got any!)
Elias: You completely wrote, illustrated and photographed all your books. Do you think you're more talented than me? Bear in mind that a cabbage is aimed at you.
Melinda: I don't think I'm talented at all, so hold fire with those cabbages! I just have a daft brain that likes writing daft poems, and I hope that these poems, and my bright (but very basic!) drawings will make some kids out there smile!
Elias: What rhymes with silver?
Liked to sing a tune...
Elias: All your books are rhymes, ever thought of starting a new career as a rapper?
Melinda: No, though I do wear hoodies a lot!😊
Elias: What's next for Melinda Kinsman besides trying to grow hair as good as mine?
Melinda: I've already written my next poem book (all poems about monsters...), and I'm now busy slowly getting all the illustrations done. My hair is wayward, and generally a short scruffy mess, so it will sadly never attempt to match your own well-trained, slug-groomed locks!
Elias: Complete this rhyme: There once was a slug from Bilbao...
There once was a slug from Bilbao...
Who loved dunking chips in his mayo';
It was found, on this diet,
He stayed very quiet;
Though once, his mouth full, he said 'ey oh!
Elias: You often go on about your iPad. Has Steve Job's spirit possessed you and you're now trying to carry on his work?
Melinda: I wish! No, sadly, my iPad is my best friend simply because I have to lie down a lot each day, and I can use the thing lying down. I haven't got any "techie" computer know-how whatsoever! Show message history
Thank you Melinda, for your insightful, slug-infested answers!
My website has free links to all my books (so far):
Book 1 - Introducing the Gang
Book 2 - Hello from the Gang! (For younger readers, 3-5yrs)
Book 3 - Our Poems for Kids
My moustache is great, my slugs are great, my cabbages are great and Elias Zapple is meh.