Thursday, June 25, 2015

Werner Stejskal, Author of Oliver and Jumpy

oliver and jumpy, werner stejskal, bedtime story series
Werner Stejskal is the author of Oliver and Jumpy, the children's picture book series. Today we'll be discussing stories 16-18.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
Born in Vienna, Austria, I am now living in Perth, Australia with my wife, two married children and three grandchildren. I worked in the printing industry over many years and later for the United Nations in Vienna. After an eventful life, now retired, I began to write children’s stories. I discovered some brilliant illustrators through Odesk, narrated the stories myself for YouTube and finally took the next step into publishing ebooks.

Describe your new book, “Oliver and Jumpy, Stories 16-18,” for readers.

“Oliver and Jumpy”, are best of friends and experience many adventures together. Oliver is a black-and-white tomcat, who is very self-assured. As a matter of fact he says: “I love myself!” quite often. But his best friend Jumpy is aware that he is only putting up a front! Oliver has a soft heart and will always want to help others. The great thing is Jumpy’s pouch, which Oliver loves to ride in! He calls her his kangaroo taxi! Stories 16-18 is the sixth book in the series. Story 16: Who am I? - Oliver loses his memory. Story 17: Up the Tree - Oliver explores a tall tree and meets many animals there. Story 18: Moon Crystal – Oliver and Jumpy are flying to the moon.

Who do you think would most appreciate these stories?
The elaborate illustrations would already interest very small children with their mom explaining the stories. Early readers would benefit from the unusual language for picture books, while many adults like the quality of this sometimes controversial series.

What inspired you to write an illustrated cat series?

Our daughter has a black cat. I like cats. This must have been an influence to the inspiration I was given one sleepless night after a West to East flight from Europe. I suddenly had the idea of Oliver and Jumpy laid out before me and began writing the next morning. I wrote 60 stories within two months. The illustrations of all the stories will finalize this year.

werner stejskal, oliver and jumpy
Author WernerStejskal
Your work is unique in that several illustrators were involved with the project. What was the process of getting the book illustrated like?
I was extremely lucky to find Marvin Alonso through Odesk (now Upwork). He immediately understood what I wanted and, very independently, developed the characters for me in Disney style (my idea). Unfortunately he found another calling after a while. I tried out three illustrators with lesser results until I found Maycee. She and her husband Allan have been the rock of this series. They are just working on Story 55 and turn out a new story every three weeks.

Tell us a bit about your creative process, from the initial idea to the finished manuscript.

As mentioned before, the initial idea was given to me in a sleepless night. Most of my story ideas came to me while swimming leisurely in the public pool. I simply let my thought wander and grabbed hold of interesting story concepts. It was helpful to go through all the common children's books scenarios as well.

How do you hope readers react to your series?

I hope children will react with delight looking at the sometimes complex pictures and learn the subtle lessons hidden in several of the stories.

Are there any authors who have influenced your writing style?
I just love Walt Disney cartoons and found that style of illustrations the most suitable for my stories. The writing style is uniquely me, I think. I am Oliver to a certain degree!

How do you feel about the increasing popularity of ebooks?

Ebooks are here to stay and increasingly so. Ebooks are convenient and will replace printed books to an large extend. They are just such an important tool for authors. But we are just at the beginning of this revolution.

What are your goals as a writer for the next ten years?
I will bring this series to its glorious end sometime this year. There is the possibility that I will publish it in other languages as well. Print-on-demand is next. I will look into conventional printed books if I should receive an offer. My main aim for the short term is massively promoting this series and creating a desirable product. A TV series will be the ultimate aim.

Is there any aspect of writing you don't like?
I treat my work as business. I have experience in running successful businesses and there is nothing to dislike. I put my full effort behind any of my projects. If one does this with a sensible approach then success us assured.

Have you ever had writer's block?
I have to admit that after 60 stories I did run out of ideas, but that was just as well. I had to concentrate on producing the series.

Do you write with a computer, typewriter, or pen and paper? Why do you use this tool?
I love my Ipad and do most things with it. I have to use my laptop to create the mobi files for Amazon.

What do you have in mind for your next project?

I will eventually do another series with an Emu and a Koala bear, who loves to ride the Emu. But that is years down the track.

Is there anything else you'd like potential readers to know about your book?
The value of a product is shown by how many people use it. The more kids get to know "Oliver and Jumpy" the happier I will become. The crucial factor to the success of a picture book series are the participation of moms/mums of this world. So, mothers unite in the quest for Oliver's fame! Thank you!

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