Book People: Kate and Jol Temple
Kate and Jol Temple seem to have exploded onto the Australian children’s book scene. While I’m sure that they have been working hard for years prior to their publishing success, they really do seem to just have gone from little-known authors to everywhere authors (in a a good way!) in such a short time! Their best-known book at the moment would be ‘I Got This Hat’, which was used as the 2016 National Simultaneous Storytime book and we have talked about here in our ‘Book+Profession’ series.
Their new book ‘Jimmy Cook Discovers Third Grade’ has just hit shelves around the country and has been devoured by my daughter in third grade and is now doing the rounds of her classmates.
Kate and Jol have been the recipients of Australia Council grants to create digital adaptions of their books and ‘Parrot Carrot’s’ digital companion won Creative Show Case and was shortlisted at a number of national and international award shows. It also reached number 2 on iTunes.
Thank you so much Kate and Jol for joining us here today to talk about your work.
Ten Things You Need to Know About Kate and Jol Temple
1. Tell us about your latest book.
Our new book is called ‘Jimmy Cook Discovers Third Grade’. It’s a about a boy with some pretty weird ideas, namely, that he is Captain Cook. Jimmy is dead set on becoming a famous explorer but he’s a bit of a nutter so things get out of hand.
2. How did you get started as a writer?
Jol: Both of us found jobs writing ads, which is basically storytelling for businesses. We just figured out we’ve got better stories of our own that need to be written.
Kate: I always wanted to be a writer, even when I was a kid. I forgot about it for a while and when I picked it back up I remembered how much I like doing it.
3. What does a typical day look like for you?
Jol: I work as a writer in an ad agency so my days are crammed with headlines and copy. When I get home I’ll eat like a king and read over our drafts, and think up new ideas for books. Then I’ll walk the dog.
Kate: It usually starts with an argument with my three year old son about fashion. Then after I’ve dropped the boys at school I race back home and get to work in my shed.
4. Can you describe your workspace for us?
We have a ‘Wendy House.’ It’s an old weatherboard shed that looks out on the garden. It’s full of crazy stuff like south pacific masks, 1980s ice cream posters, a collection of hats etc. We use it for art projects and for writing. At the moment our 7 year old is building a REAL time machine in there and we’re working around that on our new book.
Any words of advice for young readers and writers?
Jol: Read. Read lots of stuff.
Kate: The best advice I ever had was… if you want to be a writer, you have to write. It sounds really silly and obvious, but it’s true. You have to put pen to paper you can’t just think about it.
Do you have a favourite book or character (your own or somebody else’s)?
Kate: I am going to say Mike from our picture book ‘Mike I Don’t Like’. He’s got such a terrible attitude, he’s totally ridiculous and he’s reminds me of a few people who make me laugh.
Jol: Tintin. Jealous of all his constant traveling.
If you were not a creator of books for young people what would you be?
Kate: I’d write TV shows for kids.
Jol: Archaeologist and I still have time.
What is your favourite food to eat and/or your favourite music to listen to whilst you are working on your books?
Jol: Seashanties. It drives Kate crazy.
Kate: I can’t listen to music while I write but I gobble a lot of nuts. Mostly pecans.
How much of yourself or people you know is in your books?
Our two sons are a great source of inspiration for our books. They are not exactly in the books but something they said or did might be exploded out to create a character. Same goes for us. There are parts of us in Jimmy Cook. The mother and I both have a passion for preserved lemon and storage solutions.
If you could have one wish for the world what would it be?
That we start looking after it.
Endangered animals make a comeback. I hate to think of them lasting this long then disappearing on our watch.