Helen Docherty, Author of The Storybook Knight | Speed Interview
The Children’s Book Review | September 11, 2016
The Children’s Book Review: Which five words best describe The Storybook Knight?
Helen Docherty: Colorful, adventurous, witty, surprising, heart-warming.
If you had to take a vacation with one of the characters from The Storybook Knight, who would it be? Why?
Definitely Leo – we would both happily work our way through a pile of books. I wouldn’t mind if his horse, Ned, came along, too; he’s a loyal companion to Leo, and I share his enthusiasm for tasty snacks.
What has been the best reaction from a reader, so far?
I had fun reading it to a Reception class (pre-kindergarten) – they really lived every moment of the story. Also, children’s librarian Rosemary had this to say in her review (on her blog Mom Read It):
‘[The] Storybook Knight… shows readers how wonderful it is to find yourself represented in a book. [It] is a fantasy championing of the need for diversity in children’s lit.’
I was so pleased to read this, because I’m passionate about diversity in children’s books.
What’s on your nightstand? Any books?
At the moment, I’m reading a book in Welsh by Bethan Gwanas, Hi Oedd Fy Ffrind (She Was My Friend), set in a university town in the 1980s. I’ve been learning Welsh for three years now, and this is the first full length adult novel I’ve tried to tackle in Welsh. It’s a challenge, but I’m enjoying it.
For your writing energy: sugar or salt, tea or coffee?
I don’t drink caffeine, but I still like a regular cup of (decaf) tea or coffee. I find that a couple of squares of chocolate help to get me going when I’m writing – my latest favorite flavour is salted caramel, so I guess that’s sugar and salt.
Writing tools: computer, pen and paper, or all of the above?
I usually start by scribbling down my story ideas in pen in my current notebook. When I’m trying to create rhymes, I write the letters of the alphabet down the side of the page – it helps me to brainstorm potential rhyming words. I also work out the scansion (rhythm) of the lines in my notebook. Once I’ve written a few lines of a new story, I start working in the computer, using my notebook alongside it.
Can you tell us one more thing we may not know about The Storybook Knight, your writing style, or yourself?
The original Storybook Knight was called Gareth, after my dad, but also because Gareth was one of the Knights of the Round Table, and the name means ‘gentle’. However, our UK publishers wanted something more contemporary sounding, so I renamed him Leo, which is my nephew’s name. Needless to say, our Leo is delighted!
Written by Helen Docherty
Illustrated by Thomas Docherty
Publisher’s Synopsis: Even dragons love a good story…
Leo was a gentle knight
in thought and word and deed.
While other knights liked fighting,
Leo liked to sit and read…
When Leo’s mom and dad pack him off to fight a dragon, he takes a shield, a sword―and a pile of his favorite books.
But can a story be as mighty as a sword?
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky | 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-1492638148
About Helen Docherty
Before becoming an author, Helen used to teach Spanish and French. She also has an MA in Film and Television Production. Helen has lived and worked in France, Spain, Cuba and Mexico, and now lives in Swansea, Wales, with her husband, the author and illustrator Thomas Docherty, and their two young daughters.
Her first rhyming story, The Snatchabook (illustrated by Thomas Docherty), has been translated into 17 languages. In 2014 it won an award voted for by school children. It has also been staged as a play and even as an opera, by a school in Canada. The Storybook Knight is the Helen and Thomas’s latest book together. Visit her at www.helendocherty.com.
This speed interview with Helen Docherty, author of The Storybook Knight, was conducted by Bianca Schulze. Follow along with our content tagged with Books About Knights, Dragons, Helen Doherty, and Speed Interview.
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