So without any further delay, let's welcome Jonathan Gould, author of Doodling and Magnus Opum - thank you so much for stopping by Jonathan! Now on to his post:
I’d like to start by thanking Karen for having me here today and for participating in the Discover Fantasy tour.
Looking at this site, and the books Karen has written (which look terrific), I thought I’d pull together a little something related to writing for children.
It’s a funny thing, but almost without fail, when I say to somebody that I am a writer, the first thing they respond with is, “What sort of books do you write – are they for children?”
I’m not quite sure why I get this response. Maybe there’s something about the way I look – and I’ve been told that I look substantially younger than the number of years I have – which is extremely helpful given I constantly lie about my age. Or maybe it has something to do with the way I behave – and anybody who has had the pleasant experience of chatting or networking with me will know that I also tend to behave in a way that doesn’t reflect my age- both the real one and the one I tell most people.
It’s not that I’m offended. I actually believe there is no higher calling than producing stories for the young. I’m a massive fan of education and I think there can never be too many stories for our kids to read. Besides, what can be better than having a young and impressionable audience that you can brainwash, oops, er, I mean share your ideas about the complex ways that the world works.
And looking at it from the other direction, as someone who (in theory anyway) is now an adult, I still enjoy reading children’s stories. It’s a totally guiltless pleasure for me to invade my kids’ bookshelves to see what gems I can find. To be honest, most of them don’t excite me too much, but that’s not necessarily because they are intended as children’s books – most books supposedly written for adults don’t grab me that much either (I’m just kind of fussy when it comes down to it). But every so often, I’ll find a gem that is every bit as satisfying a reading experience as anything else I could have chosen to read.
When it comes down to it, a good story is a good story. I might quote from an Australian writer and artist I really admire, Shaun Tan (never heard of him – google him – you won’t regret it). He has won just about every honour for children’s writing there is, including the Astrid Lindgren Medal which is like the Nobel Prize for children’s writers. But does he regard himself as a “children’s writer”? Not at all. Just because his stories have pictures and seemingly simple plotlines, there’s no reason for his work to be pigeonholed that way. Like any great story, there are all sorts of hidden depths to what he has written.
So, let’s get back to the original question. As anyone who has followed any of my ramblings for a while will know, one of my attempts to answer the question was to come up with my new genre – dag-lit. But these days, I try to keep it simple. When someone asks me if my stories are children’s stories, I reply that they’re just stories. If children like them, that’s great. If adults like them, that’s also great. I try to be as democratic as I can and hope there’s something in there for everybody.
Jonathan Gould has lived in Melbourne, Australia all his life, except when he hasn’t. He has written comedy sketches for both the theatre and radio, as well as several published children’s books for the educational market.
He likes to refer to his stories as dag-lit because they don’t easily fit into recognisable genres (dag is Australian slang for a person who is unfashionable and doesn’t follow the crowd – but in an amusing and fun way). You might think of them as comic fantasies, or modern fairytales for the young and the young-at-heart.
Over the years, his writing has been compared to Douglas Adams, Monty Python, A.A. Milne, Lewis Carroll, the Goons, Dr Seuss and even Enid Blyton (in a good way).
To Learn More about Jonathan and his books, visit Dag-Lit Central
Don't forget, there is still plenty of time to enter the Discover Fantasy Giveaway to win a $100 Amazon GC! Enter here.