Today we talk about Fat boy no more , a book by Maretha Marais published with our publishing house Europe Books.
Europe Books had the pleasure of interviewing the author Maretha Marais to get to know her better and to discover which of her life experiences find expression in her book Fat boy no more.
Below you can find our interview. Take a seat and enjoy your reading!!!
- What particularly significant experiences in your life find expression in your book?
All of us has struggled with our weight at some time in our life. Pre-teen, I was fine, but once I got to high school, I became quite chubby. Dieting was a pain in the butt – I was constantly thinking about food, being hungry, and the weighing and measuring of the food were irritating and over complicated. I found it easier when we just changed the way we eat: no sugar in tea and coffee, no sugary drinks, bread only over the weekends and in moderation, sweets and chocolate. This experience is expressed in the scene between Davey and his Mom when she talks about dieting. The second experience would be a chronic illness. I was absent from school quite a lot and found it challenging to make friends. I also remember being side-lined in activities. Even when I was better, I would constantly hear: Do not overexert yourself. Are you tired? Should you not rest?” My worst memories were when we went somewhere, and I was stuck on a bench with a book – ‘as not to tire myself out.’ In the book, this was the reason for the fight between Davey and Adam – Davey has started to treat Adam differently after he experienced Adam being sick.
- What would you like to hear from your readers?
I would like to hear that the readers enjoyed the story, that it was a fun read. That the funny parts made them laugh, and the sad parts made them cry. That the readers could share in the characters experiences, emotions. That they care about Davey and Adam as much as I do. I’ll be more than pleased if the readers could learn something from the characters and their journey in the book. I want Fat Boy no more to inspire readers to try something new, to do things differently. A reader mentioned that the description of the food made her mouth water, and she wanted to try out the dishes. I’ll be really thrilled if the readers would like to read more about Davey and Adam to hear about their adventures and what the two of them get up to in the next book.
- How would you describe your writing style?
The target audience for Fat Boy no more is middle-grade kids between the ages of nine to twelve. My writing style is easy, informal – a story being narrated by the characters. My style is character-driven, with dynamic relationships between the primary and secondary characters and even the peripheral characters. For me, scenes should be full of interest, tension, emotions, humour. I like my characters to talk to one another. In the book, I focused more on dialogue and actions to express emotions and less on describing the emotions in words. I want readers to hear the character’s voices to get into their heads. I also used actions to force change and move the story forward.
- How was your publishing experience?
Finding a publisher was a tense, depressing experience, but it was actually easy once I signed on with Europe Books. I say it was easy as I had a professional team assisting me. Since I’m working full-time, the publishing schedule helped me to plan ahead. The team provided editing guidance and was available whenever I had questions. I would have liked a bit more help on the grammar since English is my second language. Whenever publishers are portrayed, they are usually demanding, critical, and require many rewrites. Also that you would have little say in the selection of the cover. I did not find that to be the case. I was always consulted, and the editor was open to discussing the proposed changes where changes were required. From my point of view, as a first-time writer, I felt that I was in professional hands and actually enjoyed the process. I learned a lot.
- Are you working on a new writing project you can tell us about?
I have just finished writing the 2nd book in the series with the working title Former Fat Boy. I’m busy with the self-editing phase, which I think is even more difficult than writing the story. This is where all those self-doubts start creeping in. I’ll start on the 3rd book in the series in January/February, time permitting. The broad outline of the story has already been completed. I’m also working on an Easy-Reader series for younger children called Big Station. The first book in the series is called East Train. It is about a train conductor that usually works on the trains going south. Sometimes he works on the trains that go to the north and once in a while on the trains that go west. But he has never been on a train that goes to the east. One day he is asked to work on the East Train, and he finds a magical adventure. This is also my first time working with an illustrator, and I find the process quite interesting.
Europe Books thanks the author Maretha Marais once again for taking the time and answering our questions. We are really pleased to have walked alongside her on the editorial path that led to the publication of her book Fat boy no more. We wish her the best of luck for this novel and for her future works.
To you, my dear reader, I hope this book makes you feel all the emotions that the author Maretha Marais wants to convey, as well as to see things from other perspectives that can enrich your way of living and approaching life.
So, my dear reader, I just have to wish you to enjoy your reading!!!