Welcome to our book blog tour for Maia and What Matters, by Tine Mortier.
What’s going on here, you ask? This week there is a tour happening across blogs from around the world about Tine Mortier’s new book –Maia and What Matters, published by BookIsland. We are very lucky to be participating in this and, even luckier, we get to interview the author -cool!
Here’s a little info about the book from the publisher’s website:
Maia is an impatient little scamp. When something pops into her head, she wants it. Now! Right this minute! Her grandma’s just the same and they get along like a house on fire. One day Grandma falls ill and loses her control over words. The grown-ups don’t seem to understand her, but Maia never loses sight of her strong, wonderful grandma and knows exactly what she means.
This blog has info about a baking competition, so read through the interview to find the competition details at the end. The next blog on the tour is Munch Cooking, so make sure you visit them to keep going on the book blog tour (the previous stop on this tour was Stephanie Owen Reeder).
And now for the interview…
1. The themes tackled in ‘Maia and What Matters’ are not the easiest. What inspired you to write this story?
TINE: I have a very wonderful family doctor, with whom I have a very good relationship. We always talk a lot when I go to see her about some problem or other. Once, she told me the story of her great-aunt, who had had a stroke and could no longer communicate with her family. My GP was the only one who understood her, so she had to be a kind of translator between the aunt and the rest of the family. Her story almost made me cry, so that same day I decided I had to do a book about it.
2. The Illustrations by Kaatje Vermeire are amazing. Did you get to work with her closely when she was designing the illustrations for the book?
TINE: Not really. She showed me some sketches occasionally, but it’s not like we really communicated about the work. Mostly, I feel like author and illustrator should be able to do their work independently. I had all the faith that she would do a wonderful job, and she did.
3. Do you have a favourite page in the finished book?
TINE: I really adore the page where the grandfather dies. It is very intense. When I first saw it, it made me cry. Although I knew what was coming, of course, since I wrote the book, the harshness and still the poetry of that page took me completely by surprise.
4. What’s your favourite food from your country?
TINE: I am absolutely fond of chocolate. It even sometimes gets out of hand. I could eat a shelf full of it, and I have no control about it whatsoever. I’m a real disaster when it comes to chocolate…
5. What’s your favourite memory of your Grandma?
TINE: There are so many things. She died only two weeks ago, so it is all very fresh still.
I will forever remember her incredible cooking. She was a very direct and down to earth woman, who never told us literally she loved us. But the way she looked after us and cooked for us, showed us that time and time again.
6. Your books, and in particular ‘Maia and What Matters’, have been translated into a dozen languages now. How does that feel and which language do you have most affinity with? Is there a particular language that would you like to see ‘Maia and What Matters’ translated into?
TINE: It feels incredible. The very thought that children all over the world are reading the book, makes me shiver at times.
The language I have most affinity with up to now, is English. But frankly: most of the other languages I don’t understand at all. I really would love the book to be translated into Spanish, because half my family are Latin Americans. It would be wonderful if they could read the book as well.
7. Please tell us what you love about libraries?
TINE: I’m fond of everything that’s got to do with paper and books, so libraries are a kind of candy store to me. I do prefer private libraries to public ones, since I love to have my own books. I do visit public libraries, but I almost always buy the books I like. I find it kind of comforting to be surrounded by them.
8. Over the past ten years you’ve been doing hundreds of workshops with children. What was the most intriguing question you were asked by a child?
TINE: It is very difficult to pick out one particular question, since there have been so many of them. One question that keeps coming back though, is ‘if it is all true’. It applies to nearly all my books, both those that are pretty autobiographically inspired, and those that are cheer fantasy. I always answer it the same way: all is true. Absolutely all of it. Even if children fly (as in Zooperman) or run around as rabbits (Silly Rabbit), or a hurricane gets out of control because she was given the wrong name (Angelica the Terrifying). I then tell them it’s because children’s authors cannot tell lies. That’s forbidden. We never lie. We only exaggerate from time to time.
9. What is the most important message or lesson you would like readers of your book to take away with them?
TINE: That’s a tough one. I don’t really think about messages too much when writing a book. I just hope people will enjoy it, and maybe grow to love it. In that case, they will get exactly what they need from the book, I suppose.
10. What’s your next project?
TINE: That is very secret, so don’t tell anyone else.
I’m currently writing a book about a young boy who wants to become a train. He has all sorts of reasons for it, and he wishes it so hard, he gets to realise his dream in the end.
Thanks for visiting everyone.