Book Chat: Ky Garvey
Ky Garvey, presenter of the Totally Lit! podcast, is well known to readers and creators of books alike. I’m pleased to help spread the word that Ky is now an author herself, with the release of her debut picture book, Easy Peasy.
Thanks so much for making time to Book Chat, Ky! Huge congratulations on the publication of Easy Peasy. It’s a fun, funny story told with great warmth and understanding, that will facilitate many home and classroom discussions about perseverance and resilience, and about the importance of accepting help as we reach for our goals.
Firstly, I’d love to learn a little more about your own journey towards publication. Has this been a long-term goal for you?
I have wanted to be a writer ever since I have been able to write. I wrote my first picture book in Year 1 and my second in Year 6. Although, it has taken until age 45 to have a traditionally published picture book.
Tell us everything you’d like us to know about Easy Peasy, and its main character, Ruby!
Ruby is independent and loves to learn and achieve things for herself. Her favourite colour is red. She is lucky to have a loving Dad who is there to help her when she needs it and is patient enough to wait until Ruby is ready to ask for help instead of insisting - he knows best.
Was there a particular person or experience that inspired you to write Easy Peasy?
My son inspired the part where Ruby sleeps with her skates as he did exactly that with his mini skateboard. My Dad and I used to go skating together on Saturday mornings although I don’t remember being as insistent as Ruby about learning on my own.
I’d love to know a little about the drafting process you went through for Easy Peasy. Were there any unexpected twists and turns along the way?
Easy Peasy went through at least five drafts. Michelle Worthington from Share Your Story gave me some guidance, and I also did an assessment with Editor Leanne Lim. It is an interesting process, as with such a small word count and the advice from professionals you still want to keep the parts of the story that make it your own unique voice.
I love that you chose mastery of roller-skating as the vehicle for Ruby’s internal and external challenges, and am curious about what led to this choice. I had a big roller-skating phase as a kid and it certainly taught me a lot about resilience (and the use of Bandaids!).
I had written some picture book manuscripts that just weren’t hitting the mark with publishers. So, I sat down at my laptop and I closed my eyes. I thought back to the days when I was little Kylie and remembered the things I really loved. I really loved Barbie, and still do lol!, but didn’t think I could get a Barbie book past Mattel. Instead, I remembered how I loved rolling round and around the roller rink, loving the music and the atmosphere. So, really it was me reconnecting to my inner child so I could write a story that kids today would love and could resonate with.
Your illustrator, Amy Calautti, adds lots of humour and wonderful details that aren’t specifically mentioned in the text, such as Ruby’s very cute pet duck. Having experienced a range of interactions with illustrators myself – both close and arm’s-length approaches – I’m curious to know about the level of interaction between the two of you as the book came together.
We only had limited interaction, although our publisher would send me sketches and updates as the illustrations progressed. When I did have any questions for Amy, she was always very friendly and lovely. I really love Amy’s interpretation of my words. To me she really understood me and the message I was trying to convey. The book is more beautiful than I could have ever imagined. I am very grateful to Amy for the work she has produced. I’m not talented when it comes to aesthetics, so I am very happy to let an expert in their field such as Amy take the reins in that respect. I also love the humour she has added to the book, I am usually only funny by accident.
Do you feel that the insights gained from your experience as a podcaster have shaped the way you approached the writing of Easy Peasy, or any other works that you have on the boil?
My podcast has given me a tremendous amount of confidence, which if you’ve met me, you’ll know I sorely needed. I am a natural introvert and live in my head a lot. However, I believe it is important to have a rich inner life when you are a writer. How else do you imagine all those wonderful stories to write? The podcast helped me to discover that you can try something new and actually do it well. This is a wonderful learning experience whether you are a child or an adult. This has been really helpful as I have started to speak at writer’s events, book shops, schools and libraries. Each time I put myself a bit more out there my confidence builds. I also get lots of tips and tricks from my guests on writing – the most important being ‘just write’.
Do you have any advice for authors wanting to write for a similar age group, particularly when dealing with themes of resilience and perseverance?
Don’t be afraid to share your message. Persevere and you will find the right publisher to help bring your work into fruition. And just like Ruby, it is ok to accept help and advice along the way.
What’s next for Ky Garvey?
I am madly writing more manuscripts and submitting to publishers, hoping to find a home for my other pieces of work. I have some local library visits coming up as well as school visits. I’m always open to more opportunities to share Ruby's adventures with any schools or libraries, though.
Where are the best places for readers to find you online and get their own copies of Easy Peasy?
www.ekbooks.org and you can find me on all the socials by looking up Ky Garvey.
Many thanks for the chat, Ky! I wish Easy Peasy huge success and look forward to following your continuing adventures!
This post is part of a blog tour for Easy Peasy, presented by Books On Tour PR & Marketing. Please keep following Ky's journey on all of the fine blogs and sites below.