Kev’s Author Interviews Presents:
Perth, WA, Australia
A Short Bio
Born in Vienna, Austria, Werner is now living in the paradise of Perth, Australia with his wife, two married children and three grandchildren. He worked in the printing industry for many years and later for the United Nations in Vienna. Now retired, after a full and eventful life, he began to write children’s stories. He found illustrators through Odesk, narrated them himself for YouTube and finally took the next step by publishing ebooks.
Kev: What is your latest book about, Werner?
“Oliver and Jumpy”, are best of friends and experience many adventures together. Oliver is a black-and-white tomcat, who is very self-assured. As a matter of fact he says: “I love myself!” quite often. But his best friend Jumpy is aware that he is only putting up a front! Oliver has a soft heart and will always want to help others. The great thing is Jumpy’s pouch, which Oliver loves to ride in! He calls her his kangaroo taxi!
Kev: Who or what influenced you to write it?
There are lots of fairy tales and bedtime stories around and many of them are quite violent and unsuitable for young children. This made Werner decide to write something different. On a flight from Europe to Australia he watched the movie ‘Magic on Belle Island’ with Morgan Freeman, where Freeman teaches a little girl to have imagination and write her first story. This inspired Werner as well and the first stories with his two characters Oliver, the elegant tomcat, and Jumpy, his kangaroo lady friend, made their appearance.
Kev: Did you do any specialised research for your story?
There was no need to research for the stories, but rather to find illustrators and the right software for doing the books and YouTube clips.
Kev: What challenges did you face while writing the story?
I simply had to try thinking like a small child and imagine their reactions.
Kev: Who is the protagonist?
Oliver, the elegant tomcat, is a know-it-all individual, who thinks he is the best, but is always helpful to others.
Kev: What would you say is the protagonist’s greatest weakness or obstacle and why?
Oliver does not like to get wet, but generally does not have any obstacles.
Kev: What would you say is the main antagonist’s greatest strength?
There is no common antagonist in this series. There are occasionally witches, magicians and giants.
Kev: Could you provide a short passage from your book to give us a taster?
Do you like cats? Yes? I am glad, because I am a black cat with a white top hat. I have a few white spots on my fur too. Mum is white, you see! My name is Oliver. I am a very elegant tomcat with the shiniest coat in the world. I brush my fur every morning and always keep my nails trimmed! Of course, my hat is really refined too, which is another word for elegant.
Whenever you put on your new clothes, you can announce to everybody, “I am refined!” And everybody will think you are an elegant person. Well, enough of all that talk about me, although I can never talk too much about myself. I really think I am a cool cat. I love myself! Do you think this is naughty? You are probably right, but I can’t help it.
My best friend’s name is Jumpy. You guessed it. She likes to jump a lot, because she is a kangaroo! She is a great girl and she lets me ride in her pouch! I get in and Jumpy jumps away and away! That’s a lot of fun. I bet you would like to ride in her pouch too, wouldn’t you? You are probably a bit too big. I am quite small, so it is OK. I love it, but after a while I need to rest. All that up and down makes me dizzy. It’s a bit like being on a roller coaster.
Kev: When you write, do write off-the-cuff or do you use some kind of formula?
I go through different scenarios of children’s stories and pick out one after the other.
Kev: How do you deal with writers-block?
I just pick a quiet spot, close my eyes and let my mind sail in the darkness. Eventually I can visualize an image which can become a story.
Kev: Preference for writing: Day or Night?
The night is for sleeping. I live very healthy.
Kev: What is your process for editing your work?
After the initial draft, I let the story rest for a while and then revisit. I revise a couple of times before letting my editor have it. English is not my mother tongue, so I need help with the grammar. It Is usually a case of shifting the words to a different order.
Kev: How do you come up with your book covers?
The covers are the first page of the picture book with title rather than text.
Kev: Do you think the book cover is important?
Sure, covers are important. But with a series it is a little different. A series needs brand recognition. I prefer to keep them simple, but recognizable. There are so many beautiful covers out there that one looks like the other. Just look at romance books! There is either a beautiful muscle man on the cover or a couple kissing. They are all generic! A series needs to be recognizable at a glance!
Kev: Which publishing platform do you prefer and why?
I prefer ebooks on all ebook platforms. It is just so much simpler. Print-on-demand will be another option later on. If a publisher wants to bring my books into shops then I will look at that as well. I just don’t see any money in it here in Australia, where most chains have closed.
Kev: Do you face any daunting obstacles during the publishing process?
Sure, there is a lot of frustration on the way. Mainly the slow speed and incompetence of the all people involved. It is always a surprise if something works out properly. But that’s life! Expect the worst and be happy when things work out.
Kev: What methods do you use to promote your work?
Currently I am doing everything I can do to collect as many reviews as possible. This takes an enormous lot of time.
Kev: Do you have any advice for new authors?
Produce a good product and persevere with promotion. Nobody will do it as well as yourself!
Kev: Which social media platforms do you use the most?
I use Google+, Facebook, YouTube, Tweeter, LinkedIn.
My Amazon author’s page: (You will always find a free full-length book there and the free Introduction to the series)
Kev: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Werner Stejskal, Everyone!