In Search of Goliathus Hercules
by Jennifer Angus (Author)
Booktalk: Ten-year-old Henri Bell discovers he can speak to insects and, as he travels the world in search of a giant legendary insect, he begins to turn into an insect himself.
Snippet: “I understand. He’s in Southeast Asia, right? You know that beast, what’s its name? Oh, yes, Goliathus hercules! That’s where he resides. Maybe you can meet him. If anyone can do it, you can. You’ve got the special ability.” And Henri was sure the fly winked, if such a thing were possible.
I’m please to be hosting this author on the blog tour for her first children’s book! Today Jennifer Angus answers just 3 questions….
Q. When did you start writing?
A. I started writing when I was asked to write In Search of Goliathus Hercules. My primary identity is that of a visual artist and I never desired or expected to write a book. That said, I have always loved stories and many of my shows have had a loose narrative thread. I had a trilogy of exhibitions all entitled “A Terrible Beauty” which were held in three separate venues (the Textile Museum of Canada, Toronto, Canada, the Dennos Museum, Traverse City, MI and the Musée d’art de Joliette, Joliette, Quebec, Canada). Each exhibition progressed the story of an eccentric collector who captured the elusive Goliathus hercules. After the exhibition in Traverse City, a children’s publishing company approached me to do a picture book about insects using my artwork. Over time, as we discussed the project they became more familiar with my work and eventually asked me to write the underlying story behind the “A Terrible Beauty” series. At that point the only thing I had written were supposed diary entries of the collector I had invented as he/she (gender was never specified) searched for Goliathus hercules.
Q. Describe your writing process.
A. I work best when I’m away from home and I don’t mean just going to the library. I love to travel and much of the book was written while I was in Central America. Part Two I wrote mostly in Nicaragua and Costa Rica and Part Three I wrote in Guatemala. When I’m at home there are too many distractions, e.g. I should tidy of the house, I should meet some friends, etc. When I travel I don’t have to make my bed or cook my meals! Usually I get up and go out for breakfast. I come back to my hotel or guest house and write in the morning. I reward myself in the afternoon with an excursion of some kind that is often inspiring, particularly when I was in the cloud forest of Costa Rica. In the evening I reread and edit what I wrote in the morning. Working this way, with limited distractions and lots of inspiration I can write quite quickly.
When I complete a chapter I send it my father (who is now 82 years old) because he’s the punctuation expert. Clearly that is not my strength as you can probably tell. It works well because not only does he correct my grammar, but he will also comment if there’s something he doesn’t understand or even let me know that he thinks things are moving along too slowly. He is not an author (although he is writing his memoirs) but a retired law professor so he has a lot of writing experience.
Q. Tell us about your latest book.
A. My latest book is my only book and it really is a reflection of my life and in particular more than 15 years of working with insects. I have lived in hot, tropical places – the island of Tarawa in the Republic of Kiribati and Thailand. I have also traveled to dozens of countries primarily in Asia and Latin America where I’ve seen so many amazing sights and met wonderful people. My travels are reflected in the book however I think it is my intimate knowledge of insects that probably makes the story special. I’m not an entomologist but I have come to know quite a bit about insects through working with them in my art. And probably because I am an artist I am able to look at them in a fanciful way and imagine their lives if they could only speak!
Congratulations on your first book, Jennifer!
Readers, would you like to have your own copy of this book? Add a comment to enter this book giveaway! The publisher will send a book to one of today’s blog commenters.
Visit all of the stops!
- Thursday, May 30 * The Childrens Book Review
- Friday, May 31 * Booktalking
- Saturday, June 1 * Wrapped in Foil
- Saturday, June 1 * Growing With Science Blog
- Sunday, June 2 * My Brain on Books
- Monday, June 3 * The Fourth Musketeer
- Tuesday, June 4 * A Patchwork of Books
- Wednesday, June 5 * The Midnight Garden
- Thursday, June 6 * The Adventures of Cecelia Bedelia
- Friday, June 7 * Ms. Yingling Reads
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