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Interview with picture book author/illustrator Emma Yarlett

Interview with picture book author/illustrator Emma Yarlett
Interview with picture book author/illustrator Emma YarlettEmma Yarlett

Emma Yarlett is an author and illustrator based in Cornwall in the UK. She loves to paint, draw, scribble, collage, design, write, doodle, construct, invent, imagine, splatter and sketch, and particularly loves illustrating children’s books. Her second picture book ‘Orion and the Dark’ will be published in the fall of 2014.

For what age audience do you write?

I generally write for the older end of the picture book market (around ages 4-7), as I really love to add interesting detail and sub plots into my books. I enjoy writing all types of genres, but seem to always lean towards magical and whimsical adventures - taking a common theme or item, and giving the storyline a twist.

Tell us about your latest book.

My latest book is my second authored and illustrated picture book, it’s called ‘Orion and the Dar’k, and will be published by Candlewick Press towards the end of 2014. I’ve just received my advanced copies of the finished book, and am so excited about it! It’s about a little boy called Orion who is scared of an awful lot of things, but one thing scare him more than anything else… The dark! One night he gets so fed up, he has an outburst of anger, resulting in a rather mysterious dark figure popping in for an adventure.

Henry: Orion is also a constellation. Hmmm… ☺

What do you hope readers will get from reading that book?

I wrote this book as a way to help children combat their fear of the dark - but I also wrote it as a compelling and magical adventure for children to go on, and hopefully read over and over again.

What aspect of writing do you find most challenging?

The concept of less is more! I often have to really cut down and simplify what I have written as I lean towards adding a lot of narrative detail - which when combined with the visuals is needlessly surplus.

Henry: And superfluously gratuitous.

What is a powerful lesson you've learned from being a writer?

Imagine, imagine, imagine! It’s so important to sit and think and let your mind float around in the unreal and the extraordinary!

Henry: How do you feel about recreational use of hallucinogens?

What has been a memorable experience that you never would have had if you had not been a writer?

I was recently longlisted for the Carnegie Kate Greenaway medal, and I must say it was such an incredible mind blowing moment.

Henry: Very nice.

What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

It’s really important to seek opinions from both people you trust and admire, but also industry insiders who really know what they’re talking about. It can truly make your work so much better once your ideas have been bounced around other people’s brains too!

Henry: So true. I find critique groups invaluable.

Read the rest of this interview at Henry's blog on KidLit, Sci-Fi & Fantasy.