Exploding Loo Blog Tour – Interview with Rachel and The Boy Fitz Hammond
Published by Simon & Schuster
Book Walrus is delighted to be the first stop on the blog tour for The Case of the Exploding Loo and has
lured invited the book’s writer, Rachel Hamilton, and illustrator, The Boy Fitz Hammond, on to his iceberg for a book launch celebration and some sardine cake. Hello book-launch people! HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY!! [blows kazoo]
RACHEL: Hello Book Walrus, thank you for having us.
BOOK WALRUS: My pleasure, so tell me how you’re feeling on the morning of your launch?
RACHEL: Bit chilly on your block of ice but otherwise VERY happy.
BOOK WALRUS: We talk to Rachel all the time, but this is the first time we’ve met The Boy Fitz Hammond so we’ve laid on a special sardine and mollusc feast in his honour. So, Boy, when did you decide to become an illustrator?
THE BOY FITZ HAMMOND: Shortly after realising playing professional football was a pipe dream and that I was pretty useless at everything else (including football). Rachel, when did you decide you wanted to become an author?
BOOK WALRUS: *Tusky cough* Ahem, Book Walrus will ask the questions around here. Back to your sardine pile, Sir. So, Rachel . . . when did you decide you wanted to become an author?
RACHEL: The moment I realised I was better at communicating on paper than in person and when I discovered people listen to stories. Really listen. You can convince people of almost anything if you wrap it up as a story.
BOOK WALRUS: Ah, so you wanted to write in order to manipulate people? Interesting. I always thought I could see a Machiavellian glint in your eye. Next question, before you manipulate me with your clever words… Boy, what did you think when you were asked to illustrate a book about exploding toilets?
TBFH: Anyone who knows me will know how I find much amusement in all things ‘toilet’. When I told my wife I was illustrating this book she couldn’t stop laughing because so much of my humour is toilet based. So to answer your question… I couldn’t believe my luck when this title landed in my inbox.
RACHEL: I’m so glad you liked it. I don’t know why I find toilet humour so funny – I guess I just never grew up!
BOOK WALRUS: I’m not going to tell you again about speaking to each other. This is a serious piece of investigative journalism, not some kind of coffee morning. Don’t go getting the wrong idea just because of these lovely sardines I’ve laid out for you. I am in charge here. Okay, you, Boy Wonder, what image are you most proud of creating in your life?
TBFH: I’m not sure really…
BOOK WALRUS: You’ll need to do better than that if you want to stay on this iceberg. Come on.
TBFH: The first thing I got in print in a magazine was a proud moment. However I always try and make the next illustration better than the last so by that logic the image I’m most proud of creating is the one I’m working on… and then the one after that… and then the one after that. And so on.
RACHEL: I can’t wait to see what you come up with for Book Two. I’m hoping for…
BOOK WALRUS: Right. That’s it. This may well be your book launch day but you need to listen to instructions young lady, it’s not all about you. You are being interviewed by the great Book Walrus. I’m going to have to sit on you until you learn to behave. Oof. Right, Boy, tell me how you came up with the front cover for The Case of the Exploding Loo.
TBFH: Er, is Rachel alright down there?
BOOK WALRUS: I’ve only eaten 2,000 clams today, she’ll be fine. Come on. Front cover.
TBFH: I was lucky that the brief came with a very helpful mind-map doodle outlining Rachel’s thoughts for the cover. That gave me a rough idea of things to include. I then needed to work out how the title would look and how it sat in relation to the rest of the cover. Once I had the title style set I started incorporating elements from Rachel’s mind-map and other snippets I’d taken from the book until eventually got to the point where it looked finished. Thankfully everyone was happy with the outcome!
RACHEL [muffled]: More than happy. The minute I saw the outline I loved it. I’ve loved all your sketches.
TBFH: Thank you Rachel! At the approval stage the illustrations are just all really rough pencil drawings – they’re just to start things rolling, then I develop things digitally.
RACHEL: [even more muffled] I loved the roughs! I remember when I first saw the inside illustrations. I asked you not to make them look too professional when you worked them up, because I loved the sketchy feel they had. As if my characters could have drawn them. If they had a bit of talent.
BOOK WALRUS: ENOUGH. CHATTING. You’re not here to make friends, you’re here to reveal exclusive secrets to me while I eat sardines. I’m going to wrap this up quickly. Mr Boy, you are going to tell us the best thing about being an illustrator and then share some advice you’d give to any young walruses with dreams of following in your flippersteps.
TBFH: The best thing is I get to draw things. Often ridiculous things. Like Exploding Loos and other such nonsense. And my advice is to enjoy what you draw and draw what you enjoy.
RACHEL: If you’re advising young walruses about illustrating, you might want to suggest they develop opposable thumbs.
BOOK WALRUS: We’ll give you opposable thumbs, missy. Any final words from The Boy Fitz Hammond?
TBFH: Just that this is a great book that I hope has the success it deserves. I’ll be keeping everything crossed… except my eyes… got into a right pickle the last time I did that.
BOOK WALRUS: And you, disobedient writer lady? Any words from you?
RACHEL: Other than asking you to get off me?
BOOK WALRUS: Yes. Other than that.
RACHEL: I’d just like to thank anyone out there who has bought or is intending to buy my book. There are millions of brilliant books out there and I’m honoured you’ve chosen mine.
BOOK WALRUS: A fine end to a fine interview. I taught Jeremy Paxman everything he knows. The stories I could tell. There was this one time…
RACHEL: Could I just interrupt and ask how I’m supposed to get back from your iceberg? I’ve got to get to the next stop of the blog tour with Moontrug tomorrow.
BOOK WALRUS: I told you I don’t pay travel expenses. Now then, Boy, did you mention something about molluscs?
If you want to find out more about Rachel Hamilton and The Boy Fitz Hammond find them on the web:
Rachel: www.rachel-hamilton.com & @RachelLHamilton
The Boy: www.tbfh.com & @tbfhDotCom