Friday, June 3, 2011

Crystal Kite Winner Interview Week Three: Candy Gourlay, TALL STORY

Our penultimate winner interview is with Candy Gourlay, whose book TALL STORY won the Crystal Kite Award for the UK/Europe region. To learn more about this winning author, visit her blog, follow her in Twitter, or like her on Facebook.

Please tell my readers a little about your winning book.

TALL STORY is about a boy named Bernardo who grows to eight feet tall in a small village in the Philippines where giants are believed to be the cause of frequent earthquakes as well as the means to stop them. When Bernardo suddenly gets a visa to join his mother and half sister Andi in London, the village will do anything to stop him from leaving. Meanwhile, tiny Andi thinks she has big problems--a new school and a country where her favourite sport basketball is nonexistent. Then she meets Bernardo...


How does it feel to receive an award voted on by your peers? What does this award mean to you?

I am so grateful to my fellow SCBWI members--especially because of the sheer quality of the shortlist for Europe's Crystal Kite Award included some amazing writers and friends like Ellen Renner (CASTLE OF SHADOWS) Jane Clarke (GILBERT THE HERO), Bridget Strevens (PETITE ESCARGOT), Theresa Breslin (PRISONER OF THE INQUISITION), Andrea Offerman (THE BONESHAKER) and Pat Walsh (THE CROWFIELD CURSE).

SCBWI has held my hand through the years, giving me encouragement, support and opportunity--from when I was a beginner author through to today. This prize truly makes me realize that I am not alone. Thank you.

How long have you been a member of SCBWI? How has your SCBWI membership been helpful to your career?

I've been a member of SCBWI since 2002, which was about the time I decided to become serious about trying to get published. I was a fledgling web designer at the time and so I volunteered to help with the website. My involvement branched out to include organizing our yearly conference in November, designing logos and the current SCBWI British Isles website, setting up our own social network on the Ning as well as on Facebook, and thinking up initiatives such as online critique groups, our conference's night-before critique meet, our mass book launch which takes place on the first night of the conference, and most recently, conceptualizing and building the soon-to-launch online magazine which will replace our print newsletter.

It sounds like a lot but SCBWI has given me a lot too. I was one of the winners of the first Undiscovered Voices anthology competition which led to my signing with an agent. And when my book was about to launch in the United States, SCBWI's Tribute Prize bought me a plane ticket to the conference in New York, where I met the American crew of my publisher, Random House.

Now that I'm a busy published author, I've had to resign from being our webmaster...but I've got lots of ideas and continue to contribute to our Steering Committee--always looking for ways to open up opportunities for our members whether they be published or unpublished.

What will we see from you next?

I am currently in the throes of finishing my second novel SHINE which will be published in the United Kingdom in early 2012, then in the United States later in the year.