Welcome to my Time Out Blog, Ashling. I’m looking forward to finding out more about your latest release Lola and Grandpa.
Every Sunday Lola visits her Grandpa. They spend the day examining the universe and teaching each other about the world. But one day, Grandpa isn’t there anymore. Lola struggles to deal with the loss. But as time goes by Lola realises that her Grandpa will always be with her - in her heart and in the memories they made. A beautiful and reassuring story of love, loss, and the value of memories.
1. Lola and Grandpa is your debut picture book. Where did the idea come from?
The idea for the story came from the standing at my parent’s kitchen window watching my dad and daughter stroll around his garden. They would examine everything around them and talk about the meaning of life. Then my dad would lift my daughter up into his arms so she could touch the sunflowers and cuddle him tight. Seeing this reminded me of my childhood and the special moments I shared with my dad. It also made me think about how heartbroken we would all be if he was no longer with us.
2. What was the most rewarding part of this project?
Every single part of this project was rewarding. It only took me a few weeks to write this book because the words poured from my heart. Being able to hand my dad a copy of my book has been a highlight of my life, and he is overwhelmed to know how much he is loved.
3. Favourite part of your new book?
The fact that I get to show my dad how much I love him in a very unique and special way. My dad is a selfless, wonderful man – and this is my gift to him.
4. What was your path to publication?
When I was writing Lola and Grandpa a few people said that I shouldn’t let Grandpa die as it was too confronting for children. But I was adamant that Grandpa died as I’ve always believed that children need to be made aware of real life situations so they can build resilience and learn to appreciate the good things in life.
With this in mind, I knew that I needed to find a publisher that was brave enough to take on Lola and Grandpa…and that’s where Little Pink Dog Books came in. I sent my manuscript to LPDB in late 2017 and was offered a contract in early 2018. Working with LPDB has been a wonderful experience and I am eternally grateful to Peter and Kathy for their support.
5. How did you learn about the craft of writing?
I did a weekend course at the Sydney Writer’s Centre with Aleesah Darlison many years ago. It was fantastic and taught me some valuable lessons. Other than that I’ve spent endless hours reading online blogs and picture books by authors that I admire. I also write as much as I can – every day if possible - as I truly believe that the more you practice, the better you get.
6. What’s next for you?
Lola and Grandpa is my debut picture book. It will be officially released on May 5, 2020. My other upcoming books include:
7. Do you have an online presence?
Thank you for your time, Ashling. I wish you every success in your writing journey.
Ashling Kwok is a freelance journalist and children’s author who is obsessed with words. When she’s not dreaming up new ideas or working on her latest manuscript, Ashling can be found scouring local bookstores, marvelling at all the wonderful books being created by talented children’s authors. Ashling lives in Sydney with her husband, two children, and energetic border collie, Jed.
Title: Lola and Grandpa
Author: Ashling Kwok
Illustrator: Yvonne Low
Publisher: Little Pink Dog Books
Publication date: May 2020
Audience age: 5-10
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