Anna Terreros-Martin – Author Q&A

Anna Terreros-Martin

Anna Terreros-Martin

From a young age, Anna spent a lot of her childhood surrounded by nature and wildlife. From looking for frogs and tadpoles in ponds to playing explorer and making dens in the forests, She has always found peace and magic in the natural world. Animals have never failed to make her imagination run wild, feeding through into her love for drawing and illustrated characters.

Anna graduated from Sheffield Hallam University with a first class degree in Illustration and later graduated from a Masters in Children’s Book Illustration at Cambridge School of Art in 2019. She aims to inspire the younger generations to get outdoors and explore the wildlife around them. By combining her passions for the conservation of wildlife and drawing, Anna aims to help cause awareness of endangered species through children’s books. As children’s books are aimed for future generations, she believes it is vital to create books that not only encourage children to read for pleasure but to also educate and support them with important and sometimes difficult subjects.

Anna can be found at:
Website: www.annaterrerosmartin.co.uk
Twitter: @anna_terreros
Instagram: @annas_doodles.uk
Facebook: Anna Terreros-Martin Illustration
TikTok- @annas_doodles.uk

Tell me what inspired you to write your (debut) picturebook?

When I was in secondary school I visited London for the first time on a school visit and one of the museums we went to was The Natural History Museum. It absolutely blew my mind seeing so many beautiful species and learning about creatures that are now extinct or endangered. I also remember feeling sadness at the fact that we will never get to see extinct species in person or experience the world and habitats they lived in. This then was the starting point of developing the story of The Friendly Mammoth.

What came first the characters or the world?

The world and Mammoth developed together as I knew I wanted the main prehistoric animal in the story to be a woolly mammoth and I knew I wanted to have the world set in both the museum and the ice age. The character of Mansi, the girl who visits Mammoth in the museum and ventures on an ice age adventure with him developed later, as well as the cave girl and Benny.

How long did it take to write?

I started writing and sketching out the story (I do both at the same time) in 2017 when I first began studying and exploring picturebooks for a project on the Illustration course at Sheffield Hallam University, where I made a dummy book of it. It was a massive learning experience for me and I absolutely loved the process. Then in 2019 I revisited the project after studying an MA in Children’s Book Illustration at Cambridge School of Art and began to develop it further and made a second dummy book of it. It was picked up by David Fickling Books in 2020 which was very exciting and they helped me develop the text and illustrations even further until we were all happy with the final result in 2021.

What kind of reactions have you had to your book?

They have all been positive so far which is wonderful because it is quite scary having a book you have both written and illustrated out in the world, you just hope people enjoy it.

What’s the favourite reaction you’ve had to your book?

I think it might be from a child that says he enjoyed it so much that he apparently told everyone in his class about it, phoned his cousins specifically to tell them about it and then has started to write the sequel to the book. In my eyes I don’t think it gets better than that!

What can you tell us about your next book?

I am currently in the process of finishing the artwork for it and so I am not allowed to say too much right now apart from sneakily saying it involves puffins and pufflings. I am very excited about this one!

Do you take notice of online reviews?

I would be lying if I said I didn’t, I know it isn’t healthy to over fixate on them but it is nice to read good reviews and know people have enjoyed reading the book and what about the book they loved the most.

What did you do before (or still do) you became a writer?

I am a freelance illustrator so I worked on illustration commissions, creating things for my online shop and doing art workshops with children. These are things I can still do and have to do alongside my book work to help earn an income. As well as working on author-illustrator books I also work on projects where I illustrate someone else’s text such as the When Mummy/Daddy Goes To Work and When Mummy/Daddy Works From Home board book series written by Paul Schofield and published by Little Tiger. I think writers and illustrators have to juggle different ways of making a livable income.

Which author(s) inspire you?

So many but I will try to just pick a few! A. M. Dassu, Louie Stowell, Ian Eagleton, Dapo Adeola, Laura Ellen Anderson, Phil Earl, Hannah Gold, Alex T Smith, Shaun Tan, Jon Klassen, Emma Reynolds, Abigail Balfe and Harry Woodgate to name a few. I also love reading graphic novels and comics; some of my favourites are by Luke Pearson, Tim Probert, Pam Smy and Jamie Smart… (There are so many authors I admire!)

What will always distract you?

My rescue cat Boris Bean always distracts me. Although, as I work from home and spend so much time alone it is great to have him as company and to force me to take breaks away from my desk. I call him my studio assistant as he tries to ‘help’ me with my work.

How much (if any) say do you have in your book covers?

I normally do get quite a lot of say on my book covers. The process usually starts by creating lots of rough small sketches of what the cover could possibly look like and then I send them to my editor and designer. I work closely with the designer and editor during the whole process. They show it to the rest of the team and then give me the overall feedback and I then work on the final artwork for it before sending it to the designer again to add finishing touches and work their magic.

Were you a big reader as a child?

I loved reading books with a lot of illustrations in them, I found larger books with a lot of text quite intimidating and would struggle to concentrate on them. I loved reading comics, my grandparents would bring me cut out comic strips from newspapers and magazines and also The Adventures of Tintin books when they’d visit from Spain, one time even accidentally giving me a french copy despite me not knowing how to speak or read in french. However I managed to enjoy it anyway and follow the story due to the illustrations and I thought that was amazing, like a super power!

Do you have a favourite bookshop? If so, which?

My favourite bookshops are The Rabbit Hole bookshop in Brigg, Wonderland Bookshop in Retford, Bookbugs & Dragon Tales in Norwich and Page 45 in Nottingham. They are all such beautiful and welcoming bookshops, run by amazing people!

What is your current or latest read?

I am currently reading/ have finished reading Fight Back by A. M. Dassu, Lightfall (book one) by Tim Probert and The Extincts Quest For The Unicorn Horn by Scott Magoon. I am quite a slow reader but also enjoy reading multiple books at once.

Any books that you’re looking forward to in the next 12 months?

I am looking forward to Villains Academy by Ryan Hammond out February 2023, The Woodcutter and the Snow Prince by Ian Eagleton and Davide Ortu out October 2022 and Glitter Boy by Ian Eagleton out February 2023, Love, The Earth by Frances Stickley and Tim Hopgood out April 6th 2023 and Jamie by L.D. Lapinski out March 2023 to name a few! There are always so many amazing books coming out (I need more bookshelves!).


If you want to help and support this blog you could become a Patreon which would help pay for my hosting, domain names, streaming services, and the occasional bag of popcorn to eat while watching films.

If you can’t support with a monthly subscription a tip at my Ko-Fi is always appreciated, as is buying things from my Ko-Fi Shop.

You can always email me on contact@bigbeardedbookseller.com with any suggestions.

The Vanishing of Aveline Jones

Phil Hicks, Keith Robinson. Usborne Publishing, (256p) ISBN 9781474972161

The Vanishing of Aveline Jones

The Vanishing of Aveline Jones

I love the Aveline Jones series of books, and was so excited when I found out that this was coming out just in time for Halloween, and was so happy when I got approved for it on NetGalley.

I dove straight into this on the day my holiday began and had finished it by early afternoon, it is so well written with great illustrations from Keith Robinson supporting the story.

Previously Aveline and Harold had been involved with ghosts and witches, but this time they have something even more fiendish to contend with, the Fae!

Aveline, Harold, her mum, and Aunt Lilian have gone to her long lost uncles home to sell it as he has been gone for 10 years with absolutely no sign of him.

Along the way they team up with a new character called Sammy (paranormal expert and blogger extraordinaire) to figure out where Aveline’s uncle has disappeared to.

This third addition to the series is the creepiest of them all, much darker in tone than the previous two and so well paced. Sadly it was all over with much sooner than I was expecting as I just tore through the book in two sittings (breaking for lunch).

Another brilliant book in the series and now waiting for the next, hint…


If you want to help and support this blog you could become a Patreon which would help pay for my hosting, domain names, streaming services, and the occasional bag of popcorn to eat while watching films.

If you can’t support with a monthly subscription a tip at my Ko-Fi is always appreciated, as is buying things from my Ko-Fi Shop.

You can always email me on contact@bigbeardedbookseller.com with any suggestions.

Anna McQuinn – Q&A

Anna McQuinn

Anna McQuinn

Anna’s two most successful series, the Lulu books and the Zeki books are published in the UK by Alanna Max (though she has also been published by several other publishers) and can be found over on Twitter as @AnnaMMcQuinn. Now coming up to her eighth Lulu book, there is so much more to see in her catalogue.

How hard was it to get your first (debut) book published?

Quite hard. I’d written quite a lot working in-house as an editor and publisher. After a difficult redundancy (while working on a Sure Start project as an outreach librarian) I first wrote ‘properly’ – a story about a little book-loving girl called Lulu.

I took it (along with some other projects) to Bologna and sold US, Danish and Dutch rights, but could not get a UK publisher interested. So on the eve (practically anyway – it makes for a better story) of pressing the button at the printers, I decided ‘sod-it’ and set up a little publishing company to publish it in the UK.

It sold 3,000 copies in hardcover in the first 10 months and needed a reprint immediately – and the rest is history.

Now I had a publishing company, I also had to publish other people AND I was published by other companies (Barefoot Books, Chicken House, Annick Press, O’Brien Press).

How long did it take to write?

Probably a few months, then some time to commission sample artwork and some roughs.

How many publishers turned you down?

Six or seven

What kind of reactions have you had to your book?

Really positive – Lulu Loves the Library is a simple story about a little book-loving girl goes to a library to choose her book (it’s a simple picture book) so it is much loved by librarians, early years professionals and booksellers – as well as parents.

What’s the favourite reaction you’ve had to your book?

Can I have two: one reviewer on Goodreads (so not someone who was sent a review copy) wrote “This book belongs on the shelf with the holy books… this book made me so happy I cried”

Another said, “I freaking ADORE this book. If you don’t want to reach right into this book and cuddle with Lulu, you’re BROKEN” I treasure those a LOT.

What can you tell us about your next book?

The next one is actually the eighth Lulu book! (the seventh: Lulu’s Sleepover just came out last September). The next one comes in 2023 and has Lulu’s Nana visiting her from Tanzania. There are some lovely moments with Lulu, her mum and her nana together. That’s coming in 2023, but before it there are two other new titles about Zeki. Zeki is Lulu’s baby brother and we added a line of his books in 2014. These will be titles 6&7 in that series.

Do you take notice of online reviews?

Yes (though you have to take some of them with a pinch of salt). I like that they are usually from parents, teachers, librarians and other book lovers many who’ve just picked up the books and taken the time to review.

Would you ever consider writing outside your current genre?

I did one series for ages 7-9 for O’Brien Press which was old for me, and really enjoyed having more text to play with. Picture books are quite challenging in that you have to condense so much into so few pages.

What did you do before (or still do) you became a writer?

I started life as a teacher, worked as an editor then publisher for many years. After redundancy, I went back to working directly with young children and their families as a Sure Start librarian, combining that with editing freelance. I now do a combination of writing and editing full-time.

Which author(s) inspire you?

My favourite adult authors are Kate O’Brien, Emma Donoghue, Walter Mosley (actually there are too many to mention)

My favourite picture book authors are Suzanne Bloom, Barbro Lingren, Alan Durant, Bob Graham, Simon James, Ken Wilson-Max, Kevin Henkes, Komako Sakai – too many to list, actually.

Which genres do you read yourself?

I used to read a lot of crime, but I’ve gone off it recently.

What is your biggest motivator?

Giving kids stories which take them seriously

What will always distract you?

Twitter

How much (if any) say do you have in your book covers?

I’m lucky to have a lot of say in these two series since I kind of package them for the publishers.

Were you a big reader as a child?

UUUge! From when I could read I read everything in sight – the back of the cornflakes packet at breakfast, the back of shampoo bottles on the loo!

What were your favourite childhood books?

We didn’t have much choice waaaay back then – I loved Walter Macken and Enid Blyton. I’d read ALL the books in the children’s section of my local library (small, but still) numerous times so the librarian gave me an adult card then supervised what I read!

What is your current or latest read?

Tangleweed & Brine by Deirdre Sullivan

Any books that you’re looking forward to in the next 12 months?

I now live in the middle of nowhere now, so it’s harder to keep up. I’ve just ordered Mrs Death Misses Death by Salena Godden and I got Elizabeth Strout’s Oh William for Christmas (but I’m sparing it)

Any plans or projects in the near future you can tell us about?

I’m kept pretty busy just now with the next Zeki and Lulu books, but watch this space.

Any events in the near future?

My publishers (Alanna Max) and I have just started making plans

and finally, what inspired you to write the genre you do?

I’m a feminist with an interest in literacy and child development – writing a story about a little girl who loves books and has real agency in her own life brings all these strands together.


If you want to help and support this blog you could become a Patreon which would help pay for my hosting, domain names, streaming services, and the occasional bag of popcorn to eat while watching films.

If you can’t support with a monthly subscription a tip at my Ko-Fi is always appreciated, as is buying things from my Ko-Fi Shop.

You can always email me on contact@bigbeardedbookseller.com with any suggestions.

The Owl Service

Alan Garner. HarperCollins. (240p) ISBN 9780007127894

The Owl Service

The Owl Service

A children’s classic that has passed me by, along with so many others.

It was reading Bookworm by Lucy Mangan that I’ve realised I have such a huge hole in my reading, classic children’s fiction and I’m now trying to catch up on this now.

The Owl Service is set in a house owned by an English family in a Welsh valley. It explores Welsh mythology, family dynamics, class, and service in a changing world.

A power is set loose gradually which starts to dominate the personalities of the main characters in the story, making them repeat a story that has been happening in the valley for centuries. Alan Garner threads this through the story with a fine hand, letting the characters off the reins of the power occasionally to allow them to discover that this has happened before.

The heavy use of dialogue did have me working hard to keep up with the story at the beginning but it suited the idea of a local mythology being orally transmitted and I eventually got into the rhythm of the story.

The pace of the dialogue got faster as the story neared its ending, and the ending was so fast that it did require rereading to set it clearer.

A great start to filling the gaps in my reading.


If you want to help and support this blog you could become a Patreon which would help pay for my hosting, domain names, streaming services, and the occasional bag of popcorn to eat while watching films.

If you can’t support with a monthly subscription a tip at my Ko-Fi is always appreciated, as is buying things from my Ko-Fi Shop.

You can always email me on contact@bigbeardedbookseller.com with any suggestions.