Recently I have had the privilege of interviewing Karen Tyrell.
So Karen, tell me a bit about the development of your latest book, Jo-Kin Battles the It.
Goof ball Josh Atkins aka Jo-Kin wins the Super Space Kid contest alongside nerdy Sam Jones aka Sam-Wich. Their first Super Space Kid mission is to save the galaxy from deadly alien called the It. When the It kidnaps Captain Astra, it’s a race against time.
Can Josh save Astra, the galaxy and us all … before it’s too late?
“Brilliant, Action-packed, Humorous, Creative.” - Buzz Words
Themes: STEM science & astronomy, brain power, humour, perseverance, teamwork, self-esteem, family, friendship.
What made you decide on the sci-fi genre for this novel?
Since I was a child, I loved sci-fi. First, I was enthralled by TV series Lost in Space, Superman, Jetsons, Thunder Birds and Get Smart. Later, I read Jules Verne and Emily Rhoda and am avid movie fan of Star Wars and Star Trek. My favourite school magazine story in Grade 6 was about the IT, a mysterious fantasy creature, whom children discovered living in their backyard sandpit.
What is the underlying message of Jo-Kin Battles the It.?
It’s all about perseverance, working as a team, and never giving up. Use your brain to solve problems. Keep on trying no matter what: until you succeed.
How does this book fit in with the other books that you have written?
All my books have positive resilience messages of perseverance and hope from my viewpoint as a teacher. I wrote two empowering memoirs on my recovery from parent-teacher bullying and mental illness, ME & HER: A Memoir of Madness and Me & HIM: A Guide to Recovery.
Books to empower kids to live strong: STOP the Bully, (bully prevention) and Bailey Beats the Blah, (coping skills for anxiety).
Harry Helps Grandpa Remember (memory skills) is an endearing story about Harry who never gave up on helping his grandpa remember.
What makes Jo-Kin different from other books sitting next to it on the bookshelf?
Jo-Kin is bursting with wacky humour, incredible gadgets and robots, gruesome monsters and funky food. Parents often discover their kids, reading Jo-Kin in their rooms, cackling. Jo-Kin delivers positive messages that science is FUN, as well as themes of hope, perseverance and team building as mentioned before.
I know you do a lot of author visits in schools. I will be doing some writing workshops later this year. How do you make your visit memorable?
For an author visit: I dress up in character including costumes and wigs, acting out a thrilling or a humorous part of the story. I invite children to respond to a creative challenge, giving out bookmarks and postcards.
You have self-published your books. What is some advice that you would give an author considering self-publishing?
Make sure your books are the highest standards possible, that they are actually BETTER than a traditionally published book. This guarantees your books will be bought by schools, bookshops and libraries http://www.karentyrrell.com
Ok. A fun question. What are three fun facts about you?
1. I love hiking at 5.30 am in the morning, listening to the kookaburras.
2. I own eight brightly coloured wigs I wear at school and library talks.
3. I eat Tim Tams by nibbling round the edges, round and round until the whole thing is gobbled up.
So there you have it. Absolutely fabulous advice from Karen. I have read her children's books and they are chocked full with memorable characters and great story lines.
If you or someone you know is going through a tough time and need to talk, please ring or connect with someone as soon as possible.
Kids helpline: https://kidshelpline.com.au/ or phone 1800 55 1800
Beyond Blue: https://www.beyondblue.org.au/ or phone 1300 22 4636
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