Sunday, September 10, 2023

Q&A with Chrissie Krebs




Chrissie Krebs is the author of the new middle grade graphic novel Bizard the Bear Wizard. Her other books include the Mack and Cheeze series. She lives in Australia.


Q: What inspired you to create your character Bizard?


A: I wanted to create a quirky response to all the unicorn books out there in the children’s book market. I began drawing various animals and finally decided on a bear with a magic horn on his head. I drew the character first before I had any idea about the story.


It’s strange to say, but, it was once I drew Bizard that I understood what type of character he was and the story followed from there.


I am a “pantser” - I fly by the seat of my pants when I write stories, which must have driven my wonderfully patient publisher crazy! I just find that if I start off plotting everything I clam up and get blocked when it comes to creating the text.


But what I have discovered is that being a pantser is good with picture books when the pages and the word count is lower but you do really need to have a plot or at least an outline of where the plot is heading for stories in a longer format. With the help of my editor, I was able to create a general plot which then helped me with the flow of text.


Q: So did you know how the story would end before you started working on it, or did you make many changes along the way?


A: I made many MANY changes along the way. I definitely had no idea how the story would end, all I knew was Bizard had to save the day with the help of his friends. It did get a little stressful at certain points; there were at least two different endings that were rewritten. The only thing I was clear on from the start were the characters.


Q: How did you first get interested in creating books for kids?


A: I always loved drawing pictures. I became obsessed with picture book artwork early on. It’s so easy to overlook the fact that picture book illustrations are an art form which could easily hang framed on a wall, not just viewed from inside the pages of a picture book.


I began creating my own illustrations with the idea that they could be hung on a wall but I wasn’t really getting much traction in that area, so I started submitting my artwork ideas to publishing houses in Australia and I was getting positive feedback but the process was a slow waiting game.


“If a story that would be suitable for your illustrations arises, we will be in touch” was the usual response. I got tired of waiting for someone with a suitable story to complement my drawings so I began writing the stories myself. 


Q: What are you working on now?


A: I have a junior graphic novel/early reader series out in Australia by Scholastic called Mack and Cheeze. Mack is a dog who is sweet and a little naive and he loves wearing hats, while Cheeze is a cat who is sneaky and sometimes mean to poor Mack, but at the end of the day, it’s nothing but love between the two. Aimed at readers 4 -7 years.


Q: Anything else we should know?


A: Bizard Book 1 and 2 have both been chosen as part of the Junior Library Guild Selection.


--Interview with Deborah Kalb

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