The ex-teacher in me still assesses children’s books for their interaction and educational value so I’m pleased to be part of the launch celebrations for Create Your Own Spy Mission by Andrew Judge and Chris Judge. Create Your Own Spy Mission is a Create Your Own Doodle book aimed at Middle Grade children and is published in paperback on 7th April 2016 by Scholastic Press. You can buy Create Your Own Spy Mission on Amazon and find out more about it on Goodreads and the Doodle Town web site.
Especially for publication I interviewed Andrew and Chris and you can read that interview below.
DOODLE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE!
Welcome to Doodle…where you draw the story. Help finish characters, build up the town and design a GIANT ICE CREAM POWERED robot to fight off…the SUPER villains that you doodle! Doodles get into LOTS of trouble. Watch out, it is up to you to doodle them out of it!
An Interview with Andrew and Chris Judge
Hello Chris and Andrew. Thank you so much for agreeing to answer some questions on my blog about your latest book Create Your Own Spy Mission.
Firstly, please could you tell readers a little about yourselves? Are you very similar?
Chris: Yes, we are identical twins.
Andrew: Except I’m five years older.
C: We like the same books and comics.
A: That’s true. In fact you have all my books and comics.
C: I was hoping you didn’t remember that.
How do you go about producing a book together?
C: We start with a brainstorm and come up with a title and some characters.
A: Then I right up a plot outline and send it to our editor, David Maybury. When he’s happy with it I write the story and the page descriptions.
C: I storyboard that, and do all the illustrations. Then the design team at Scholastic, our publisher, do their magic, and turn it into a finished book.
A: It takes about a year from the initial idea to the book arriving on the shelves in shops.
You obviously like art as well as writing. Which is more important to you and why?
C: We both like drawing and writing. We’ve made lots of comics together over the years.
A: Chris writes his own story books too, like The Lonely Beast, and I do cartoons occasionally.
C: Yeah, it helps that we can both draw. If I don’t get something in the book script, Andrew is able to do a quick sketch to show me what he was thinking.
A: I just got too lazy to draw and decided to get Chris to do all my drawings for me.
Did you ever get in to trouble for doodling at school?
C: Pretty much every day. How about you?
Linda: No I was always good at school!
A: I sometimes got OUT of trouble for doodling in school.
C: That’s true! No body messed with me in school because of the threat of a cartoon of them with a huge nose appearing on the notice board the next day.
A: Ha Ha! My teacher once confiscated my copybook to the staff room to show all the other teachers the cartoons I’d done of them.
How do you decide themes of your books?
A: We make a big long list of themes and send them to our editor, David.
C: And he’s goes through it and says “No” to them all, and then emails us and tells us what the book will be about.
A: See? It’s easy!
Which aspects of your writing and illustrations do you find easiest and most difficult?
A: Coming up with the ideas is easy, because that’s where the fun is. Turning those into 144 pages is the more difficult part. But it’s all fun, relatively speaking.
C: The most difficult part is coming up with the characters. But once you get to know the characters, it becomes a lot easier. That usually happens about a third of the way into the book.
Do you ever argue when you’re producing a new book?
A: No, of course not. We’re brothers. Brothers never argue.
C: If we were making them when we were eight, we would probably have argued.
A: Ha Ha! True. But we’re very grown up and mature now.
What are your writing routines and where do you do most of your writing?
A: I do my writing whenever I can, in between my day job as an architect, and bringing my kids to football and swimming. So it’s a half hour here, and a half hour there. I write early in the morning, or on the bus. And I go for long walks at lunchtime to think up ideas. That’s 50% of the writing.
Would either of you like to be a spy in real life?
C: How do you know we’re not?
When you’re not writing, what do you like to read?
A: I like to read science books. I’m reading a book about the Space Shuttle at the moment called Into the Black by Rowland White. It’s brilliant. I also like comics. 2000AD is my favourite.
C: I read a lot of science fiction. Well, about a quarter of it is actually reading. The rest is audio books that I listen to while I’m working.
If you had 15 words to persuade a reader that Create Your Own Spy Mission should be their next read, what would you say?
C: If. You. Like. Exciting. Books. That. You. Can. Draw. In. And. Rip. And Fold. And.
A: That’s fifteen words.
Is there anything else you would have liked to be asked?
A: “Would you like this cheque for one million euros?”
C: Yes, you can ask me that question too.
Linda: No chance! Thanks, both, for entertaining us with your answers.
About Chris and Andrew
Chris Judge is an award winning picture book author/illustrator (THE LONELY BEAST, TIN) and co-author, with comedian David O’Doherty, of DANGER IS EVERYWHERE. Chris’s work continues to feature in advertising, newspapers, magazines and exhibitions in the UK and Ireland.
Andrew Judge has written and illustrated countless short stories and comics with his brother Chris, including regular features for arts and culture magazines Mongrel and Totally Dublin. Andrew lives and works as an architect in Ireland.
You can find out more with these other bloggers too: