My class was lucky to get a Q&A with Camille. Read on to find out what my seven year olds wanted to know…
Where did you get the idea for the story from?
It’s based on the myth of the Rabbit in the Moon. Some people can see a man in the moon, others can see a rabbit.
Why is the story set in Japan?
Japan is one of the countries where the Rabbit in the Moon myth exists. My mum is Japanese too so I thought it’d be nice to set it there.
Why did you choose a rabbit as the animal in the story?
Rabbits are awesome! They’re very interesting animals. They’re cute and seem vulnerable but they can also be strong and sometimes aggressive.
Which came first, the story or the pictures?
Definitely the pictures. I naturally think in pictures rather than words. I usually think of a nice picture I want to draw and then more picture ideas come from there, which then become a story.
Have you always been fascinated by the moon?
Not particularly, but when I was a child some of my favourite TV programmes were based on the moon. Ask your teacher or another adult about “Button Moon” or the “Clangers” who lived on a planet that was just like our moon.
Have you ever looked through a telescope at the moon? If so, how did it make you feel?
What went through your head at the time?Yes, I have. It made me feel very small. I wondered whether one day it’ll be normal for humans to go and visit the moon, for a holiday or to live. I have also seen Jupiter through a telescope which is very impressive. I wouldn’t want to live there though – ask your teacher why!
Is this the first book you have published?
Yes, it is, and I hope to publish more one day.
Were you good at writing stories and drawing as a child?
I was pretty good at drawing as a child. I used to make up stories but I never really wrote them down. I much preferred drawing them. I don’t think it matters whether anyone is “good” at drawing or writing. If you enjoy it, you should do it. The more you do it, the better you’ll become.
What do you like about writing stories?
I have a lot of stories and other things in my head. If I write them down, it gives me room to think about even more!
Do you prefer fiction or non-fiction books?
That’s a difficult question. I like non-fiction because I like learning about new things, but sometimes the things I learn about are scary because they’re real.
I like fiction because there are no rules, anything can happen. If you want to read about a boy whose feet are made of cheese, or a girl who has six tails, then you can go and find that book. If it doesn’t exist (I don’t think cheesy feet boy or six tail girl books exist!), then you can write it for others to read. If you can imagine it, it can be a story.
Did you study to become an artist? If so where did you study?
Yes, I did. I went to Cambridge School of Art and did a master’s degree that specialised in children’s book illustration.
How did you make the pictures -did you use paint, pencils or a computer?
I used Quink ink, which is supposed to really be just for writing, and I used watercolour paints, coloured pencils and some acrylic ink.
Do you have a pet?
Just imaginary ones at the moment! I’ve actually never had a pet before – not even a goldfish! I’d love to have a cat but I seem to be allergic to a lot of them. I also would like to have a rabbit or two, and maybe a dog. I also like guinea pigs!
If you weren’t working as an author/ illustrator, what would you do instead?
Hmmm, maybe I’d like to be a dressmaker. I like sewing, but I’m not very quick at making things.
Could we please get a picture of Camille’s workspace and some jottings?
You can have a picture of my workspace but please bear in mind Albert Einstein’s quote…“If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?”;-)
Shahad: ” Miss, Camille’s desk is just as cluttered as yours!”
Gotta love the honesty and observation skills of children!
We would like to thank Camille for answering our questions and wish her good luck for her first book.
Luna and the Moon Rabbit written and illustrated by the wonderful Camille Whitcher and published by Scribblers, winner of the Stratford- Salariya Picture Book Prize, definitely worth a read.