Beloved New Zealand writer and illustrator Gavin Bishop has recently published his latest book – Teddy One-Eye. Scary, funny, heart-warming and magical, this is a story of love and loss and a great fondness for the delights of childhood. We had the opportunity to ask Bishop some questions about his new book.
1) Teddy One-Eye is a lovely book, told from the perspective of a teddy bear. Can you tell us a bit about how you came up with the idea?
To be honest I cannot remember. I may have been talking to a group of children about the clever things my teddy bear can do and the idea came to me then. The book took about 3 1/2 years to write so the idea for it came along quite some time ago.
2) Did you have a special toy when you were a child?
My teddy bear was special but I must have been very rough with him because some of his patches were done by my grandmother and she died as an old lady when I was 12.
3) I’ve read that there are some strongly personal elements to this book – can you tell us which bits are related to your own childhood?
Most of the themes in the book are related to incidents that I remember from my childhood. But most of these have been grossly exagerated to make the story stronger. So it is about 5% truth and 95% lies.
My grandmother did actually have her stockings burned by a Catherine Wheel but she was never “kidnapped” by thieves in a stolen car.
4) I loved the twist at the end of the book – it really caught me by surprise and was very moving. What kinds of responses have you had to the book and the twist at the end.
Surprisingly few responses to the books ending but I do know that quite a few people have been taken by surprise and quite a few had shed a tear of two. The book is definitely a 5 hanky read in several places.
5) This book has fewer illustrations than I expected – was this on purpose?
Yes. I wanted the text to carry the story. The illustrations accompanying the passage of time are meant to show Teddy’s imagining of the outside world. He sees Christchurch for example as a toy town made of blocks.
6) Do you think you’ll write about Teddy One-Eye again?
I just might. Some of the other characters in the book could take the lead next time. Several people have suggested this and I am beginning to like the idea.
7) Anything else you want to tell us about this book?
I am hoping that adults will enjoy this book as much as children. I would really like to see it published internationally.
And if you’d like to be in to win a copy of Teddy One-Eye, head on over to our competitions!