Author Interview: Joanne Lécuyer
Joanne Lécuyer: My second children’s book is Kaptain Vamp. It’s the story a young vampire named Allistaire, who is also part human. He wants to change the fact that humans are afraid and distrustful of vampires. His family has been living among humans for hundreds of years and they’ve always used their abilities for good. One day, while reading his favourite superhero comic, Allistaire decides that he’s going to do everything he can to help humans. In order to become a superhero, Allistaire will start by doing good deeds. His sidekick, his human friend Rich, offers to help him out.
Jennifer Walker: Where did you get the idea for the story?
Joanne Lécuyer: Since vampires have been the rage for adults for the last few years, I thought it would be fun to write a story about them for kids. I liked the challenge of taking this theme and making it positive. I didn’t want to give the kids nightmares. Also, I thought a vampire-human superhero would make a good story.
Jennifer Walker: What do you find most rewarding in writing a book?
Joanne Lécuyer: There are three main things I like about writing. First I really enjoy the writing process and reading the stories to my husband or friends and family. The second thing I really like is working with the illustrators. That’s when the story starts to come to life. I usually have a pretty good idea of what the characters and setting might look like. But what I like is that each illustrator also brings a different way of seeing. The final images are usually somewhere in the middle. Finally, but not least, I thoroughly enjoy getting the feedback from the readers. It’s wonderful when a young reader tells you how much they enjoyed the story. I love the fact that the books allow my readers (and those who are young at heart) to be taken away on a magical adventure. That’s how I feel when I write and read the books.
Jennifer Walker: What is your writing process like--do you outline first or just start writing, etc.?
Joanne Lécuyer: Writing children’s books is new to me. I’ve only been writing them since 2009. For me, the writing process really varies. Sometimes I start by describing the characters, at other times it’s the story that comes out first. I seem to get my story ideas early in the morning while I’m walking to catch the bus or during my commute into the city. But sometimes they come when I’m really tired, after a long day at work. I always keep a notepad and pen with me to jot down ideas. Usually it’s enough to describe the overall concept. For Kaptain Vamp, I wrote a whole chapter in a restaurant while waiting for my husband.
Jennifer Walker: Tell us about your previous work.
Joanne Lécuyer: My previous book, The Witch, The Cat and the Egg, was the first one I published. It’s a mix of books and animated cartoons that I’ve read and watched over the years. I think as an author, it’s hard not to put some of our own thoughts and desires into our books. When I was younger, reading my favourite Disney books, I wished that I could talk to animals and that I would understand them. So Juliane is a young witch that lives on the border of a magical forest. She knows its secrets and talks to the magical creatures that live there. Her black cat, named Magicus, leads Juliane to a place in the forest where a quest is revealed. Juliane will need to call on a few of her magical forest friends to help her fulfill it and a very important promise.
Joanne Lécuyer: I’m working on a few writing projects. I think the next book will be about a fairy. I’ve also got outlines for the sequels to The Witch, the Cat and the Egg and Kaptain Vamp for 2012.
I’m experimenting with other writing mediums. I’ll soon have one or two comic strips available only on my website. Readers will be able to vote for the one they prefer and I’ll either continue with it as a comic strip or I’ll use the story in a future book.
Jennifer Walker: What do you do when you aren't writing books? Do you do other writing, work a day job, have hobbies?
Joanne Lécuyer: I have a full-time job that involves communications and change management in the Canadian federal government. It keeps me pretty busy during the day. Writing is one of my favorite hobbies. Others include reading and watching sci-fi and fantasy movies. I also want to make jewelry with precious gems and learn to play piano. There just doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day!
Jennifer Walker: Where can we find out more about you and buy your book?
Joanne Lécuyer: Readers can connect with me through my website (http://www.topsybooks.com/), Facebook (Topsy Books), and on Twitter (@JoTopsyBooks). The eBook of Kaptain Vamp will be available on my website in October. The print version will be available in November – just in time for Christmas! I’m working on getting it on Amazon and Barnes and Noble soon.