NEPTUNE’S TRIDENT – ASTRO’S ADVENTURES BY SUSAN DAY
1) Please provide a short excerpt of what your children’s picture book is about.
Arrr! Me, Hearties! Avast ya pack of seadogs! It’s Captain Black from the wicked pirate catfish gang. I’m here to tell yas about a new book that stars me and me gang. Neptune’s Trident it be called! There’s a lot of dogs in it too but don’t let that put ya off.
You see, me and that evil genius cat, Speed Bump Charlie, steal Neptune’s Trident. Neptune you sees is powerless without it and me and the old alley cat plan to take over all the oceans and all the seas. I want to rule as an all-powerful being and Speed Bump Charlie wants a never-ending supply of fish to eat!
Astro and the rest of da mutts get caught up with some slippery characters as they try to foil our brilliant plans. Arrr! Join the mystery and suspense in this fantastic children’s book. You’ll meet Neptune, the nuttiest god in the world, a small but delicious crab and there’s even a special appearance from the Ugliest Dog in the World, Icky.
So, what are you waiting for me hearties! Get reading and if this book doesn’t give you the biggest belly laugh you’ve had in a while I’ll eat me pirate hat!
2) What inspired you to write this book?
Neptune’s Trident is the seventh book in the Astro’s Adventures series. I wanted to explore the possibilities of sending the characters, which are all dogs, into the sea. I also wanted to draw attention to the rubbish that is dumped in our oceans. The story begins with a small crab lost on a few scraps of rubbish. As he floats along, more bits and pieces are added until it becomes an island of garbage. This actually exists; it’s called the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
3) How did you come up with the title or series of your book?
The title was developed during the writing process. Neptune’s Trident goes missing and that’s where the adventures begin. Neptune asks our heroes to find it and this leads to all sorts of zany and funny situations. Also, the Trident is used to help solve the issue of pollution at the end of the book.
4) Why did you pick this genre?
I enjoy writing for children because I can take my characters anywhere and completely suspend reality. I think there is a great need for illustrated chapter books that help struggling learners but also provide content they can engage with. I also enjoy making people laugh. I think there should be more humour in the world.
5) How do the illustrations complement your book? What was important to you as an author?
I use illustrations and images of paws running across the page to break up the text in my stories. This is important for struggling readers who are often overwhelmed by page after page of words. Also, as this series has grown I’ve become more aware of the importance of the illustrations to add more meaning to what the characters are doing. They also add a lot more humour to the story.
6) As a child, what books and/or authors influenced you the most and why?
I loved the Rupert Bear stories (I still have the book my father bought me when I was five!). I was a ferocious reader, especially in primary school. By the time I left to go to high school there wasn’t a book I hadn’t read. I can’t say that one particular author had a lot of influence over me but I was very lucky to have access to so many books.
7) What is the most fulfilling thing about being an author?
The most fulfilling thing for me is visiting schools and libraries to run workshops. When you begin to talk to children about writing it’s inspiring to see how much their minds and hearts become engaged in the art of storytelling. And on a few occasions, I have been honoured when children come to me after the workshop and tell me they want to be writers too. That’s awesome!
8) What do you hope children will take away with them after reading your book?
Some of the underlying themes of the Astro’s Adventures series is the uniqueness of the characters and the way they work together. I would hope that a young reader could learn that even though they are not perfect (like my characters) they have valuable skills that they can share with others and work as a team in any given situation. Also, I would hope they are reminded about the importance of properly looking after their pets. That’s why a percentage of sales goes to my local animal shelter.
9) Who is/are your favourite author/s as an adult and why?
I still love children’s books so I would have to say Beatrix Potter and A.A. Milne. I had a classical education of sorts and still enjoy reading Dickens, Austin and Brontes. I love reading a good story told well.
10) What are you working on now?
Presently, I’m working on the illustrations for Dogs in Space and I’m writing the ninth story, The Haunted Circus in the Astro’s Adventures series.
Thank you for a great interview!