At Least One Thing You Should Never Do With A Harpoon Gun

Ben performs live

At Least One Thing You Should Never Do With A Harpoon Gun

at the inaugural launch of London’s new Perfect Liars Club, held at The Book Club, on February 20th, 2018.

[Note: Video dark-lit due to low stage lighting. Audio may need to be turned up.]

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Merry Christmas!

Best wishes

to you and yours for the holidays!

– from Ben

Ben’s Art Book 1 – Progress Report!

A project that I thought would take a week has taken several months – what with so many other distractions in my life – but we are nearly there! And the book is looking goooooood! I’m optimistically estimating that I’m 85% of the way to the yearned for (by me) release day.

A fascinating few specs…

My 94 illustrations have been split into ocean- and land-themed images (some pictures could have landed in either pile). Book One will be about the ocean.

I’ve checked the scans (300 dpi), and cleaned, resized and optimized the images. Half the scans for Book One (title reveal coming soon!) are now in the Word document that will soon become a…book. The portrait:landscape ratio is about 70:30. The text that accompanies the pictures (text on left, image opposite) just needs final editing and is comprised of (hopefully) interesting facts and personal experiences.

Most of the illustrations are traditional dark(er) images on white paper but (what I like to call my) Twilight Worlds series are white/grey images on black paper for a powerful and spooky effect.

How long does one drawing take?

I’m often asked how long a picture takes me. When I started this project, it’s fair to say I couldn’t draw – at all. Any skills I’d developed in my youth had long since evaporated through decades of non-use. But I didn’t realise this..

I embarked enthusiastically on the first picture and was horrified when, after a few hours, it bore no relationship to the image I had in my head. So, I tried again…and again… Some of the earlier pictures took many attempts before I was reasonably satisfied. Dozens of completed illustrations were discarded when finished and typically, each iteration would represent twenty or thirty hours work.

The reason they took so long is I work very, very slowly: planning, visualising, sketching, outlining, amending, filling, contrasting, completing. Revisiting short-term. Revisiting medium-term. Then, over the coming months and even years, I’d look again and find myself dissatisfied with this or that detail – and go back to work on it.

A 100 hours work per picture

I think it’s fair to say that many of the more complex pictures each represent maybe 100 hours of work…and the entire collection required several years of my time. More than a decade. But it’s nearly done! I’m looking forward to your thoughts on the collection when it is released.

Sign up to be the first to know when it’s released. Or keep an eye on the blog for updates. It’ll be announced here soon…

Bestselling Author Alice Kuipers on her new release!

Bestselling and award-winning author Alice Kuipers took time out from her busy schedule (which now includes a monthly literary segment for CTV Morning Live!) to answer a few questions for us about her new release Me (and) Me.

Welcome Alice! What’s your newly released book about?

Me and Me is the story of seventeen year old Lark on the day she has to make an impossible choice. Because she can’t decide who to save–her boyfriend or a young child-her life splits into parallel lives with huge consequences.

Who will it appeal to?

So far teenagers and adults have been warmly responding to the book–I love to write for Young Adults, but I think a lot of adults enjoy reading YA novels and so this book might appeal to them too.

What’s the “story behind the story”? (How did you come up with this idea?)

I started writing this story twenty years ago when I was first attempting a novel. I wrote it about me–or, rather, a version of me who split into two. It was only when the character of Lark Hardy came into my head that I realize the story I’d been trying to tell for years could finally be told. Lark is feisty, fun, cool, and yet paralyzed by the choice in front of her. She was the perfect character for this book.

How long did it take to write?

Twenty years! Well, from the first idea to getting the book on the page it was twenty years, but there were lots of books in between. I stopped writing this book for many years and when I got back to it, the book took about two and a half years from first sentence to published book.

Was there anything unique about your research or work method for writing this particular novel?

I had to learn a lot about the passions Lark has–she’s a singer songwriter, so I interviewed singer songwriters, and listened to a lot of music, and Lark is also interested in parkour. I asked the local parkour community lots of questions, watched them, and immersed myself in YouTube videos of people doing parkour.

How do you see media handling of novels evolving these days? Is there anything different about the way you communicated this novel to your audience compared to your previous works?

A local filmmaker made a book trailer for this book. I noticed that lots of people viewed this and shared it on their social media streams. A book trailer is a glimpse into what the novel might be like and what interested me was that the filmmaker cast Lark and Alec so perfectly that it made me feel like the characters had come alive.

I’ve also done more media than I have done in the past for this novel, which has been fun. I worked with a local publicist which was a great way to connect with people in my home town of Saskatoon. Normally I work with publicists located in Toronto or New York, who have less time to reach out to the prairies.

Which Hollywood stars would you like to see in the movie version of this novel? (and why?)

I think, if a movie were to be made of this book, I’d like to see unknown actors take on the roles. The book is about how we make choices–and I think that is something all of us have to deal with all the time. Who would we be if we’d done one tiny thing differently? What would it be like to encounter ourselves if we could cross into our parallel life–if there were one? I’d like the movie to reflect that everyone/anyone feel of the novel.

What are you working on next?

I have a YA novel that I’ve just finished that’s being edited right now. I’m launching an online course for people who want to write Middle Grade or YA novels. I’m writing a memoir of Toronto teenager Carley Allison. I’m finishing edits on the second chapter book in my new chapter book series coming out with Chronicle Press in the spring of 2018.

I’m surprised by all the projects I have happening, but the way the publishing industry works for me seems to be that–while it sounds like I’m doing ten things at once–each project gets the time it needs. Some are slow, some are fast. Some have deadlines. Some don’t. All of it falls into place. I share updates about my writing life, and tips about how other people can get writing too, through my newsletter and free online course. Find all that at alicekuipers.com

Where can we get a copy?!

At Amazon!

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Kuipers has recently released Me (and) Me in Canada, and it’s set for release outside of Canada in Fall 2018. It has received accolades in the Canadian media.

“Haunting and mysterious, this is a powerful book about love, life and choices. Both page-turning and thought-provoking, Kuipers deftly tells a lyrical tale that’ll keep you questioning reality right up to the very end.”
Arthur Slade

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AliceBestselling author Alice Kuipers has published five award-winning YA novels internationally, most recently, Me and Me, described by Bif Naked as mesmerising. Her two picture books feature twins Violet and Victor, and she has an upcoming chapter book series with Chronicle Press. She is writing a memoir about teenager Carley Allison with Kids Can Press. She has had stories produced for CBC and essays published in Bristol Review of Books and Easy Living magazine. She blogged for Today’s Parent, and The Huffington Post. Alice’s work is published in 34 countries. She has four children.

Alice’s website is full of tips and hints for writers. Find her here: www.alicekuipers.com or online.

Coming Monday: Bestselling Author Alice Kuipers on the story behind her new release!

Alice

Bestselling and award-winning author Alice Kuipers joins Ben’s blog – next Monday!

Kuipers has recently released Me (and) Me in Canada, and it’s set for release outside of Canada in Fall 2018. It has received accolades in the Canadian media.

“Haunting and mysterious, this is a powerful book about love, life and choices. Both page-turning and thought-provoking, Kuipers deftly tells a lyrical tale that’ll keep you questioning reality right up to the very end.”
Arthur Slade

***

Bestselling author Alice Kuipers has published five award-winning YA novels internationally, most recently, Me and Me, described by Bif Naked as mesmerising. Her two picture books feature twins Violet and Victor, and she has an upcoming chapter book series with Chronicle Press. She is writing a memoir about teenager Carley Allison with Kids Can Press. She has had stories produced for CBC and essays published in Bristol Review of Books and Easy Living magazine. She blogged for Today’s Parent, and The Huffington Post. Alice’s work is published in 34 countries. She has four children.

Alice’s website is full of tips and hints for writers. Find her here: www.alicekuipers.com or online.

Coming soon: Art Books by Ben

One night in London…

One evening while looking out of my office window over the rooftops of London, I realised that while I am passionate about spinning words into tales… I also really enjoy art. I missed drawing the black and white seascapes and fantastical universes I began to create many years ago, initially for my children.

With a portfolio stretching back fifteen years, many requests, and lucky enough to have attracted thousands of Facebook “likes”, I’ve decided to put my art into two books.

What kind of books?

The first will be ocean-themed (the formatting is already well advanced), the second land-based. My art is detailed black and white magical realism, interspersed with trompe l’oeil (trick of the eye). Often I disguise a message or story in my imagery.

What I think about when I think about art…

I enjoy taking existing animals and plants and reproducing them with accuracy down to the diameter of a hair follicle or stem texture of a mature sporophyte. But as I believe in parallel worlds (or multiverses—think quantum physics), I also like to modify my flora and fauna, sometimes minutely, sometimes big time, while retaining apparent authenticity. It’s up to the viewer to spot where I’ve accelerated evolution or wandered into a shadowy recess of my imagination.

How many pictures?

Each book will have about 55 illustrations. On the opposing pages, I’ll include a few (hopefully) interesting facts about the subject matter; my personal experiences; perhaps a few lines about what I was trying to achieve with that picture.

For the originals, I worked exclusively by hand and eye—no computer trickery here! But I’ll be adding a few “digitally doubled” images—images reflected down a central axis—at the end of both books. Just for fun.

When?

The first book is already 75% formatted. If the Great Crested Lemur, unknown in Mad-agascar but commonplace in Sane-agascar (Editor: Ben, I can’t believe you wrote that :-/ ) would just stop hopping around for five minutes and let me finish the seascape behind it, I’d be able to wrap this up soon and have the first book up on Amazon in a few weeks.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the trompe l’oeil and the hidden stories you might see in these works…

 

Bestselling Author Alice Kuipers Interview – Coming Soon

Bestselling Author Alice Kuipers

has just released her new YA novel

Me (and) Me.

Interview coming soon…