Today we are chatting with Laura Lavoie, author of Vampire Vacation
Read on for more about her, the book, and a giveaway!
Meet Laura Lavoie:
Author Bio: Laura Lavoie lives in Upstate New York with her fang-tastic husband and daughters, two irritable cats, and several sagging bookshelves. Vampire Vacation is her debut.
Illustrator Bio: Micah Player studied graphic design at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. He believes in the power of visual stories to connect people. Micah and his family live in a little house beneath a big tree in the mountains of Utah.
About the Book: Vampire Vacation
The last thing Fang wants is another vacation in Transylvania. He’s toured Dracula’s castle and the coffin museum enough for an eternal lifetime. Why can’t he spend the summer swimming and surfing like his other friends? When his parents refuse, Fang decides to convince them that fun at the beach is possible, even for a family of vampires.
Laura Lavoie’s clever text and Micah Player’s devilishly fun illustrations are the perfect pairing for this hilarious picture book that captures the joy of having new adventures and staying true to yourself.
YABC: What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
At first, I came up with the idea by trying to think about characters who could have obvious, inherent conflicts. A vampire who wants to go to the beach? There’s a conflict! But as I dove deeper into writing the story, I was inspired by an obsession I had as a kid. Growing up in upstate New York—where the winters are cold and long—I wanted to move to southern California and go surfing in the Pacific Ocean. It seemed completely idyllic to me. I even painted my bedroom this blindingly bright yellow because it reminded me of sunshine. Eventually, my mom gifted me a trip for my sixteenth birthday. It was a little too cold to go surfing, but we still had a blast.
YABC: Which came first, the title or the novel?
Funny you should ask, because I nearly always come up with the title of a manuscript first and then spin the story from the title. Vampire Vacation is one of very few stories for which I didn’t do this—I came up with the idea first, wrote the manuscript, and then had to figure out a good title.
YABC: What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?
I’m most proud of the scene in which Fang decorates his father’s “Man Cave” to look like a beach. Micah Player included so many little details in the art throughout the story, but I’m a big rock ‘n roll fan and there are some fun album covers in that scene. I made a few suggestions and Micah really ran with them, which is amazing.
YABC: Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you’ve learned as a writer from then to now?
Honestly, I had no clue what I was doing when I started out writing picture books. I made the classic mistake of writing in the same style as many of my childhood favorites, rather than writing the sort of stuff that sells now. My texts were all far too wordy. So, the most important thing I’ve learned is to consider the interplay of text and illustrations and to know when to keep it short and snappy—for example, simply saying Boing! instead of writing a sentence about a character jumping on a trampoline. Equally as important: patience. You have to be willing to take the time you need to study and learn the craft.
YABC: What do you like most about the cover of the book?
I adore the pinks and purples on the cover. They’re my daughters’ favorite colors. When I think about vampires, I tend to think dark and brooding, so I was delighted to see such a bright and cheerful cover. I knew my kids would love it and I couldn’t wait to show them.
YABC: What’s up next for you?
I have a picture book coming in 2023 about a little monster who idolizes a TV-star chef named Pierre du Monstère. It’s called Monster Baker and it’s illustrated by the uber-talented Vanessa Morales. Food is absolutely my love language—if I dig you, I will show you by baking you mini cheesecakes.
YABC: Which was the most difficult or emotional scene to narrate?
I had the toughest time writing the big emotional scene where Fang is realizing he might not be able to convince his parents to take him to the beach. Humor is my strong suit and I sometimes struggle with writing big emotions, especially if the character is sad. When I realized I could show those strong emotions and make it funny at the same time, it finally clicked.
YABC: What is the main message or lesson you would like your reader to remember from this book?
I want readers to remember that trying new things can be scary, but when all is said and done, it’s usually worth it to take the plunge.
YABC: What advice do you have for new writers?
Read as many recently published books in your genre as you can. Study them and pick apart what makes them work. Consider the title, the first page, the pacing, and the ending. For picture books, how the story sounds when you read it aloud is also super important. And perhaps my biggest piece of advice: have fun!
Book’s Title: VAMPIRE VACATION
Author/Illustrator: Laura Lavoie; Illustrated by Micah Player
Release Date: 05/10/2022
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Genre: Picture Book
Age Range: 3-7
One winner will receive a copy of VAMPIRE VACATION (Laura Lavoie) ~US ONLY
*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway*