Fairy May author, Jo Linsdell, interviewed: Red Carpet Day

Today I welcome back Jo Linsdell author of Fairy May.  Jo has agreed to be interviewed about her book and writing for children. Fairy May is a delightful  illustrated rhyming book about a fairy’s dream of becoming a tooth fairy.

Red Carpet Day

Red carpet at night.

Jo Linsdell

author of

Fairy May


Today I welcome back Jo Linsdell author of Fairy May.  Jo has agreed to be interviewed about her book and writing for children. Fairy May is a delightful  illustrated rhyming book about a fairy’s dream of becoming a tooth fairy.

Jo it is so nice to have you back on my Red Carpet again.  I do hope your tour is going well.  Now, this new book of yours Fairy May, which is great fun I have to say, is your second for young children?

Jo:  Thanks for having me back. It’s always a pleasure visiting your blog.

Yes Fairy May is my second children’s picture story book to be published (I have others that I’m working on right now though so expect more very soon ;) ). It’s about a young Fairy called Fairy May who dreams of one day becoming a tooth fairy. Unfortunately for Fairy May she struggles at school and always seems to get things wrong. That doesn’t stop her though. With hard work and determination she prepares for her test. To find out if she realises her dream you’ll have to check out the book though ;)

1)  You obviously enjoy writing for children.  Has this come about because you are a mother or have you always wished to write in this particular genre?

 It’s always been something I’ve thought about doing but being a mum definitely gave me the push I needed to give it a go. In fact I took the step to writing my first one Out and About at the Zoo when my son asked me to write a book for him. If you’ve enjoyed my books it’s him you should thank for giving me the motivation to put my ideas into action.

I love writing children’s books. Once I’d done one I was hooked and having taken part in Picture Book idea Month (or PiBoIdMo) last November I have a huge list of ideas that I’m working through.

2)I have always admired those who can entertain children in this way, I think it is more difficult than writing adult fiction.  What if anything do you find most difficult?

 I spend the majority of my time in the company of small children and so I’m part of that world. I get to see what makes them laugh, what interests them… When writing for children you need to get in touch with your inner child but trying to remember what it was like when you were young will only get you so far. Times change and the new generations have high expectations. The way they see the world is different from how we used to see it at their age. For one thing they all seem in such a hurry to grow up nowadays. You try to explain to a 5 year old that mobile phones didn’t exist when you were his age and see the response you get.

In such a world I think it’s important that the story is fun but also that it leaves them with things to think about. Fairy May for example is simple, rhyming verse and colourful pictures. The kids like it because they can read along and the pictures have just enough detail to get them pointing things out. The message it carries is important though. More than just encouraging good dental hygiene, it’s about following your dreams. Something I think is important for both children and adults. Just because something is difficult doesn’t mean it can’t be done. I think that’s the hardest part of writing for children. Combining all the right elements. You need to have the right balance. Lessons need to be taught but without preaching. You need to use language they understand and make it fun.

3)Will you continue writing in this genre and if so will you move the age group as your children grow older?

Definitely! Like I said before, I have lots of ideas I’m working through and some new books are in the process of being created at the moment so you can expect more children’s picture books from me very soon.

As for my books growing up with my kids it’s something I’ve thought about myself. I may well try writing for older age groups as they grow up as it will probably be the natural progression. That said I love creating books for young children and can’t see myself stopping any time soon.

4) Fairy May apart from being a fun read is a story which shows that even if a person isn’t automatically perfect in every way there is no bar to having a dream and going for it.  Is this message gleaned from your own experience or from observation of your own children and their friends?

When I was younger I often felt like I wasn’t good enough. I think it’s quite common especially amongst children. Unfortunately this self doubt often stops us from going after our dreams. When you excel in something and receive praise it’s easy to drive forward and show what you can do. When you’re not naturally gifted in something though and realise how much hard work you’ll need to put in to become good at it the story changes. We often block ourselves from reaching our goals. I’ve learnt over time that if I put my mind to it I’m capable of doing so many things. Like the saying goes “it’s better to have tried and failed than to have failed without trying”. I’ve surprised myself numerous times over the years by achieving things that at first seemed out of my reach.

5) You draw all your illustrations, is this a natural talent or have you trained?

 I’ve always loved everything creative. Programmes like Art Attack and Blue Peter were regular viewing for me when I was younger. As I got older I did a lot of theatre and would be just as involved in the staging and scenery as I was the acting. Art and design was one of my favourite lessons at school and my grades were always pretty good.

Digital art has been a new learning curve for me though as my first time using a graphics program was when I did Out and About at the Zoo. Luckily for me a friend of mine is very savvy in this area and he talked me though the “how to”. I would have been lost without him.

The more I use Adobe Illustrator the more I like it. I have a real hunger for learning about more of the different features and how to get different effects and results. I often search through YouTube for how to tutorials to get new ideas.

I learn best when I D.I.Y. and so my training is from hours of playing around with the program and from picking up tips from friends and online content.

6) Do you have the story before the illustrations or vice and versa or indeed do they evolve together?

I normally work on the text first and then the illustrations. As both of my books so far have been picture story books the illustrations have only needed to compliment the text but not be an active part of the story.

I do plan on creating some picture books where the illustrations form part of the story and for those I’m evolving the two together.

7) You say you are very busy with other projects and I am not sure how you find the time, for all you do:)  You have another children’s book, The Bedtime Book, in the works as well as two non-fiction The Writers and Authors Guide to Social Media and Virtual Book Tours.  Which, if either, do find the most fun/satisfaction in writing, the fiction or the non fiction?

I love both genres and I’m not sure I could pick between the two.

I get to involve my kids in my work more with children’s books which makes them special and fun to do. The satisfaction of having a child like your book is also special.

Writing non-fiction is something I love though. I like helping people and being able to share tips and advice I’ve learnt. There’s a lot of satisfaction in writing this genre too.

8) Has your son or your niece tried writing/drawing themselves a ‘book’ yet?:)

My sons love sitting up to the table with me to work on “our” books and my 5 year old has already made some mini books of his own. He’s very creative and his teachers at school have said he has a real talent for both story telling and art. When I’m working on the illustrations for my books he often asks questions about what I’m doing with my computer and will sit with me watching how I do it. He doesn’t seem fazed by technical answers either (sometimes what I’m doing can’t be simplified into a language 5 year olds can easily understand). He’s told me a few times that when he grown up he wants to make books like mummy so maybe one day he’ll publish his own stuff ;)

Thank you so much for your time Jo.  May I wish all success with Fairy May and the rest of your tour. Fairy May is a beautiful book for young children I am sure it bring a lot of pleasure to children.

Fairy May


Written and illustrated by Jo Linsdell

Fairy May dreams of one day becoming a tooth fairy but she struggles at school and always seems to get things wrong. With hard work and determination she prepares for her test. Will she realise her dream and become a tooth fairy?

Release Date: 1st February 2013

Product details:

Paperback: 32 pages

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1481951424

ISBN-13: 978-1481951425

Product Dimensions: 10 x 8 x 0.1 inches

Purchasing links:



Author Jo Linsdell

Jo Linsdell is an award winning freelance writer living in Rome , Italy . She is also the author of several books including the popular Italian for Tourists, A Guide to Weddings in Italy  and the best selling children’s picture book Out and About at the Zoo. Her latest book Fairy May was released on 1st February 2013. You can find out more about her at www.JoLinsdell.com



5 thoughts on “Fairy May author, Jo Linsdell, interviewed: Red Carpet Day

  1. Jo Linsdell says:

    Thanks again for hosting me on your site :)

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