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On The Table Read, “The Best Book Reader Magazine in the UK“, author and artist Fransie Frandsen describes the work that went into her new book, Are Mummies Scared Of Monsters? out now for £7.99.
Written by JJ Barnes
I interviewed children’s author and illustrator Fransie Frandsen about her life and career, what inspires her stories, and the work that went into her latest release, Are Mummies Scared Of Monsters?
Tell me a bit about who you are.
I am a fine artist, writer and illustrator. I was born in Cape Town, but lived, worked and studied in several countries including the UK, before settling in Geneva, Switzerland.
My background is in Graphic Design and Art Psychotherapy. I practiced as an Art Psychotherapist, working with vulnerable children and focussing on the attachment and bonding between parents and children.
When did you first WANT to write a book?
As a pre-school child, I already knew that I loved books and especially words.
I remember copying sentences from books, wondering what these strings of letters meant! When I started school, I made small books and wrote stories in them. I thought that I would be a poet when I grew up, as I loved writing poems.
When did you take a step to start writing?
When my children were toddlers, I decided to write children’s books drawing on my skills as a mother, artist and art Psychotherapist. The books were to emphasize the importance of communication between parents and children, which is the essence of healthy attachment and bonding. That was the beginning of the series Alexander’s Questions.
How long did it take you to complete your first book from the first idea to release?
Probably around two years.
How long did it take you to complete your latest book from the first idea to release?
As I create the Alexander’s Questions books almost entirely by myself, it usually takes me a year to complete a book. That includes, writing the story, illustrating, editing and doing the layout together with a graphic designer.
Focusing on your latest release. What made you want to write Are Mummies Scared Of Monsters?
When creating Are Mummies scared of monsters? my idea was to write a children’s book that dealt with fear in a fun and engaging way.
What were your biggest challenges with writing Are Mummies Scared Of Monsters?
Finding an approach to fear that was non threatening and depicting the monster in such a way that children could relate to him.
Who or what inspired you when creating your Protagonist?
Alexander’s Questions is a series of children’s books about an inquisitive boy, called Alexander. In each book he embarks on a mission to find an answer to another puzzling question. The protagonist in the series is based on my son, Alexander who was very inquisitive as a small boy.
Who or what inspired you when creating your Antagonist?
The antagonist in this book is the neighbour who is on constant watch out with his binoculars to see whether the Tinster has made a poo in his treasured garden. The character is based on a previous neighbour who was not fond of my two west highland terriers, the Barkingtons!
What is the inciting incident of Are Mummies Scared Of Monsters?
Alexander spots a monster under his bed and learns that just like him, this monster does not like broccoli.
What is the main conflict of Are Mummies Scared Of Monsters?
Whether Mummies are scared of monsters or not?
Did you plot Are Mummies Scared Of Monsters? in advance, or fly by the seat of your pants and write freely?
I prefer not planning too much. Normally, I start with a word or a sentence; in this case, “Are mummies scared of monsters?” and I let the story find itself from there.
Did you get support with editing, and how much editing did Are Mummies Scared Of Monsters? need?
I have a wonderful editor helping me mostly with language/grammar editing but also with the flow of the story.
What is the first piece of writing advice you would give to anyone inspired to write a story?
Just do it! Do not overthink what will happen later eg. publishing etc. Be totally engulfed by your story and enjoy the writing process!
Can you give me a hint about any further books you’re planning to write?
I am in the process of writing/illustrating the fourth book in the Alexander’s Questions series called Do Babies wear pyjamas?
To be published: January 2023
And, finally, are your proud of your accomplishment? Was it worth the effort?
Oh yes absolutely! It has not been easy, but I have always truly enjoyed the creative/writing process. Recently, I found in a notebook a list that I made of things I would like to achieve and “writing/illustrating a children’s book” was one of them! I am amazed, proud and very grateful that my dream came true.
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Are Mummies Scared of Monsters? by Fransie Frandsen is out now, £7.99
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