Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Ten Questions with Luc Melanson

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Ten Questions with Luc Melanson

Award-winning author and illustrator Luc Melanson talks to Open Book about his influences, his future projects and his latest book, Topsy-Turvy Town (Tundra Books).

Open Book: Toronto:

Tell us about your latest book, Topsy-Turvy Town.

Luc Melanson:

It’s a story I wrote and illustrated. It’s about a little boy who has a lot of imagination.

OBT:

Which came first for you, an idea for an illustration or the idea for the story? Tell us about the process of writing and illustrating a book.

LM:

I first write a draft of the story. Then I work on the drawings and then on the text again, back and forth, again and again. It’s a lot of work to make it look simple.

OBT:

Did you have a specific readership in mind when you wrote and illustrated Topsy-Turvy Town?

LM:

The book is perfect for 3 to 6 years old.

OBT:

Who are your influences?

LM:

My writing is very often influenced by songs. I like the structure, the rhythm and especially the economy of means I find in lyrics, and to me those are the fundamentals of picture book writing. Also, in both cases, music or pictures must work in perfect symbiosis with the text. My first inspiration for Topsy-Tuvy Town was an old French song from the '30s.

OBT:

Describe your ideal work environment.

LM:

There’s no ideal work environment. Ideas can come anytime, anywhere.

OBT:

What was your first publication?

LM:

As an illustrator, my first picture book was a retelling of Grimm’s Hansel & Gretel. Topsy-Turvy Town is my first book as an author.

OBT:

If you had to choose three books as a “Welcome to Canada” gift, what would those books be?

LM:

I would choose Volkswagen Blues by Jacques Poulin. Les têtes à Papineau by Jacques Godbout and L’Hiver de force by Réjean Ducharme.

OBT:

What are you reading right now?

LM:

I’m reading George Perec’s first novel. It’s entitled Les Choses.

OBT:

What advice do you have for writers and illustrators who are trying to get published?

LM:

One word: perseverance.

OBT:

What is your next project?

LM:

It’s a beautiful poem written by Martine Audet that I illustrated for Dominique et cie. It’s called Xavier-la-lune. It will come out this fall.


Illustration from Xavier-la-lune


Author and an illustrator Luc Melanson has published numerous books for children including Pink, Four Little Old Men: A (Mostly) True Tale from a Small Cajun Town, Redheaded Robbie’s Christmas Story Edition 1 and The Grand Journey of Mr. Man. He won the Governor General’s Literary Award – Children’s Illustration in 2002 for Le grand voyage de monsieur. The book was also an IBBY Canada choice book in 2003 and has been translated into Chinese, Korean, Spanish and Galician. Luc Melanson lives in Montreal, Quebec.

For more information about Topsy-Turvy Town, please visit the Tundra Books website at www.tundrabooks.com

For more information about Luc Melanson, please visit his website at www.lucmelanson.com

Buy this book at your local independent bookstore or online at Chapters/Indigo or Amazon.

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