Sunday, August 23, 2009

Welcome Claire Saxby!

Claire Saxby is talking about her new picture book, Sheep, Goat and the Creaking Gate. The first question I asked her reflects the problems with googling titles... I happened upon a site that miss-punctuated the title!

Welcome, Claire!
1. The Sheep Goat and the Creaking Gate is a fascinating title. It asks questions immediately; what is a sheep goat? Or is there a comma missing? And is the creaking gate literal, or does it imply something that needs help (oil)? Are any of these questions intentional, or are they serendipitous?

A. There is a comma! The creaking gate was an image that stuck in my head.
Every now and then I wrestle with what I actually meant psychologically, but it eludes me. Certainly nothing intentional. So I'll settle's a device to help draw in the audience. They 'creak' for me every time I mention the word. On the surface level, which is where most children will access the story, it's a sheep who's ignoring what she has for what she wants, and a goat who is temporarily led astray. I toyed with using names for each character (not the gate) but liked the generic names better.

2. Goats and sheep don't star in as many stories as one would expect, given their intelligence and humour (goats) and their iconic Aussie status (sheep). Do you have any idea why this is?

A. No idea at all! I think sheep and goats deserve their place in our literature along with the cuter, cuddlier animals. I do have a fondness for sheep, despite having worked closely with them on a farm. They are funny to watch, generally fairly content with their lot, and I have to say, quite cuddly! (lambs and sheep, not rams...they're not cuddly at all). I have written about sheep before (sort of) in my book 'Runaround Rowdy' although the focus there was on the sheep dogs they worked with. I did want to stay away from stereotypical images of either animal, despite the lighthearted nature of the story, and Judith's cartoon-y illustrations help to keep the story light and funny.

3. Did you have any resistance from editors who wanted you to make this about a more "popular" (fictionally speaking) animal?

A. Not at all. This story has had three lives. One in School Magazine, one online and now here in picture book form. Perhaps the editors all belong to the sheep and goat appreciation society and were secretly cheering the opportunity to give both animals their turn in the sun (and moon and stars).

4. Do you read your texts aloud to "test" them or do you have sufficient "ear" in your mind?

A. Yes, I do read my texts aloud, but also listen to them in my mind (is that possible?). I also test them with a couple of readers. I ask them to point out bits that don't make sense but also to read them aloud. Then I can see how the text operates in the hands/voice of a first-time reader.

5. Is the story based on fact in any degree?

A. I have seen sheep poke their head through a fence to reach something that obviously takes their fancy. This even when they have their own food supply. I've help disentangle them from said fence.Goats are more known for finding things of interest beyond their own fences. I've been slowed down on a few country roads and had to report runaway goats. And I've certainly met my share of creaking gates. But this sheep, this goat and this gate? Never met them before. Pure products of imagination.

Here's a complete list of Claire's stops on her blog tour.

Here is a complete list of the dates so you can join Claire on her blog tour:Monday 17August 2009 Dee White: 18 August 2009 Rebecca Newman: 19 August 2009 Mabel Kaplan: 20 August 2009 Sandy Fussell: 21 August 2009 Dale Harcombe: 22 August 2009Sally Murphy: 23 August 2009 Robyn Opie: 24 August 2009Sally Odgers:


Sally Murphy said...

lol - without the comma sheep goat reminds me of that weird cartoon Cat Dog.
Great interview guys.

Claire said...

It is funny. We call our dog a cat dog...she's a cavalier king charles spaniel and is as close to a cat as possible without causing allergies for my husband! And she curls up on your lap like a cat, sleeps on the window ledge...and so on and so on...

Thanks for having me here Sally, it's nice to be virtually in Tasmania today.

Dee said...

Great interview Sally and Claire. And I totally agree Claire, sheep and goats definitely deserve their place in literature.


Mabel said...

Being a farmer's daughter,I feel a great affinity with sheep. I love the fact that their eyesight is poor but their hearing is good - so they respond to sounds and voice. We used to tease my father the way the sheep responded to his voice when he had to hand feed them during summer. And once we had a pet sheep (orphaned at birth) who thought she was a dog and used to try to round up the others.
A most evocative story, Claire! Thank you, SallyO for creating such a delightful exchange.

SANDY said...

Everywhere people are talking about the graet title ant the questions it immediately asks. And I'm one of them. Excellent interview guys.

Sally_Odgers said...

Thanks everyone. Funny thing, Claire; I often see a chihuahua sharing a window ledge with a tortie cat while out walking:-)

Anna Kathryn Lanier said...

It never occured to me that sheep and goats weren't getting their fair share of the book market. Glad to see that Claire is helping fix that obvious form of descrimination.

Wonderful interview. We had a cat named "Spot," which, for those who don't know, is usually a dog's name.

Anonymous said...

The escort industry in Internet is growing rapidly for all ages of men and women some cases, These are not allowed in India but In some countries like UK, US, Aus, Ire and more are allowed these type of services.London Escorts

Girls Company said...

London Escort Agency

As a respected and established London escort agency we provide companionship for all possible situations. From evening dates, travel or business companions to outright mind-blowing intimacy. We take pride in the service we provide and see to it that we match every customer with the best escort girl regarding his or hers requirement. Our escort agency works with only the best escort girls London houses. Our standards are above and beyond any other escort agency and customer satisfaction is the highest in the business.

Escort services

Our customers expect the best escort service and they have never been disappointed. Known for providing the best escort service in London our escort agency has a wide variety of escort girls to choose from. You name it we got it and .. you can get it ..

Vera said...

Cool story you place here.
It will be great to read anything more concerning this topic.
Thx you for giving that information.
Kiev escort

Escorts London said...

London escort agency which provides genuine female escort models in Central London area - Escorts London.

Asian escorts London said...

An exclusive Oriental - Asian escorts agency operating in Central London - Asian escorts London.

London Escorts said...

If you are looking for European escorts Bestescort4U is the best place in London - London escorts.

Elite London escorts said...

Bentley's International Models is a London escort agency providing elite top class
Elite London escorts.

Natalie said...

Beautiful escorts can be found at Elite Club International. Elite Club International is an elite escort agency operating mostly in Dubai and London.
Elite escorts

moiselle said...

Your Mademoiselle escorts agency is select the most charming, friendly and the finest London escorts for our Escort gallery and provide the best escort services in London.
London escort agency

elenor said...

London Elite Gallery is a highly respected international escort agency providing the most beautiful elite london escorts.
London Elite Gallery

Crazy Escorts said...

All the comments are about london come ?

Adora said...

Adoras Models is an escort agency in London where you can find the beautiful and exclusive London escorts. Adoras Models prides itself in running a honest and efficient London escort agency.
Escort Models

Japanese London Escorts said...

We are a Central London agency with many of girls exclusive to London Japanese Paradise.
Japanese London Escorts

London Asian Escorts said...

London Asian Escorts is an Asian and Oriental escort agency operating in Central London. The agency provides escort service for a true gentlemen.
London Asian Escorts

Escorts of London said...

Escort of London agency a well-established and respected agency. We have a great selection of girls in London for your pleasure.
Escort of London

Only Pleasures Escorts said...

Only Pleasures is a well established and respected agency since 1999. We are pride of ourselves on having the most exquisite selection of girls in London for your pleasure…
Only Pleasures Escorts