Faiz Kermani Discusses His Amazing Vacuum Cleaner Adventure
The Children’s Book Review | June 24, 2014
Faiz Kermani loves to write funny children’s books. Over the years, he has shared childrens’ enjoyment in his books by attending schools. He has also received some great reviews, awards and media coverage. We talk to Faiz about one of his latest characters, Golbo the spider, read along and discover more about this new vacuum cleaner adventure.
The Children’s Book Review: Golbo the Spider’s Amazing Vacuum Cleaner Adventure is for kids ages 8-12 and it’s all about the adventure that takes place when Golbo is forced to face his fears. The inspiration behind this story is quite fun. Will you share it with our readers?
Faiz Kermani: I wasn’t even thinking about writing a story on the day that I got the idea for Golbo the Spider’s Amazing Vacuum Cleaner Adventure.
My daughter doesn’t like spiders and asked me to get rid of one that was climbing up the wall. I tried to tell her it was no big deal but she insisted I do something. Reluctantly, I used the vacuum cleaner and felt very guilty about doing so. Afterwards, I began to wonder what happens when a spider gets sucked up into a vacuum cleaner…and suddenly I realized that it could make for a funny story!
TCBR: Was the message of facing fears something that you knew would instantly be a part of this story?
FK: Well, I felt really sorry for the spider that got sucked up into my vacuum cleaner as it must have been a very unpleasant, frightening experience! I was trying to get over the guilt by making sure that my fictional spider survived!
TCBR: As a writer for children, do you have specific writing goals in mind when you sit down to create your books? It seems as though you really like to add humor.
FK: Humor is the essential ingredient for me. I’ve actually written a few serious stories but have never felt so satisfied with those – in fact some are still waiting to be published. I guess they don’t give me the same “buzz” as writing funny stories.
My books have won awards in both the US and Europe so I think I’ve found my core audience. Readers I’ve met have told me that they like crazy and wacky ideas, including the strange character names, and so I include those features in the stories I write. I participate in various reading and literacy initiatives and I think young readers are more encouraged to read if books have a sense of fun.
I’ve also had my books translated into French, Spanish and German and have had great feedback from readers of those versions. It’s amazing to know that you can get a laugh in a foreign language as well! At the moment, a previous book A First Guide to Space Creatures is being translated into Russian so I’m excited to see how that turns out. The translator definitely has a challenge on their hands!
TCBR: Can you share your writing process from inspiration to finished book?
FK: Once I have a basic concept for a story I just try and get writing. I’m too impatient to sit down and create some sort of elaborate, formal structure. Once I get going with the basic, central concept, other ideas just pop into my head as I complete each sentence. I’m sure a lot of people would be horrified at the idea of writing without a set structure but I find it the most fun way to write. I do fill in gaps and reorder things through rounds of editing, but I like try and get through a first draft in my random, unstructured way.
TCBR: Golbo the Spider’s Amazing Vacuum Cleaner Adventure also contains illustrations. When we spoke to you back in 2010 you had just begun creating your own artwork for your books. This time, Korey Scott is responsible for the pictures. How did you select Korey to be your illustrator?
FK: I have previously had a go at illustrations, but quickly realized that it’s not really my area. Even my best piece of work is a pale imitation of what a professional illustrator can do without any effort at all!
I came across Korey’s work and really liked his bold, colorful style. We realized that we had the same attitude about bringing a sense of fun across in children’s books and his drawings definitely tie in with that philosophy. We also both participate in initiatives to get children reading more books. People should definitely check out more of Korey’s fantastic work: www.koreyscott.com
TCBR: Are the illustrations primarily to enhance the reading experience or do they help tell Golbo’s story?
FK: I hope that they enhance the reading experience. People have told me that they love the colors and humor in the illustrations.
TCBR: Would you consider the vacuum your favorite household cleaning tool?
FK: I have to help with household cleaning, but it’s not something I consider fun! Vacuuming is a chore that I would avoid if I could. I see that there are a few robot vacuum cleaners entering the market and once the technology has improved I’m sure I’ll be the first customer!
TCBR: What fantastical creation of a book should we expect to see from you next?
FK: I have a new book, that’s just been edited, about a frog who dreams of living in a skyscraper because he’s bored of life in the pond. It’s so wacky that it probably makes Golbo the Spider’s Amazing Vacuum Cleaner Adventure look like serious, mainstream literature! I think Korey will have a lot of fun in illustrating the new book.
TCBR: As a child, we know that you loved to read Roald Dahl books—especially James and the Giant Peach. What are your daughter’s favorite childhood books?
FK: My daughter is now crazy about all things to do with Harry Potter. There are enough books in that series to keep her occupied for a fair while. Apart from that, she does seem to like funny stories. I read to her at bedtime and she always picks the silliest books for me to read.
She knows that I write, but I haven’t read any of my books to her. I feel that she should pick those up if she wants to in the future, but I don’t want to force her to read any of my stuff.
TCBR: Before we end, do you have any parting words of inspiration or anything in general that you would like to share about Golbo the Spider’s Amazing Vacuum Cleaner Adventure?
FK: I really enjoyed the process of writing and publishing Golbo the Spider’s Amazing Vacuum Cleaner Adventure. I hope that people will also check out my new website www.childrensfunnybooks.co.uk. It even has a feature where Golbo the Spider interviews me about my books.
The next step for the book is some reading projects with schools and libraries. If any teachers and educators are interested in using the book with their class I would love to hear from them. It’s great to get feedback from teachers and young readers, wherever they are. [More information at: www.childrensfunnybooks.co.uk/teachers]
Sometimes people get a bit technical and overly dramatic about my books and will tell me how they liked or disliked a particular literary device I used and yet I have no idea about what they are talking about! As far as I’m concerned, my books are simply there to entertain and hopefully, bring the joy of reading to life for children and their families.
People might also like to check out my promo videos on Youtube:
My Alien Penfriend: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FvthyC_Op4U
A First Guide to Space Creatures: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yo6YHIigqFM
Tales of Deserts and Demons: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yo6YHIigqFM
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