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Literacy Learnings Léargais Litríochta

Author name: Úna Woods
Book: Have You Seen the Dublin Vampire?

1. What was your earliest memory of reading/being read to?
My earliest memory of books is being read Fairytales by my parents. My favorites were Snow white
and the Seven Dwarves and Hansel and Gretel. I loved looking at the pictures in the books. I began
reading myself reading LadyBird books as we had lots of these in the house. I loved going to the
library as I got to see lots of different types of books that we didn't have at home. I remember finding
the Richard Scarry books which I though where amazing. I loved all the different characters especially
Lowly worm.

2. When did you first begin to write/illustrate for an audience?
I first began writing and illustrating picture books in 2014. I had been illustrating for many years
before this for lots of different types of projects but mainly illustration for educational books. In 2014
I took a picture book course run by Adrienne Geoghegan. I learnt how to make dummy books and
also met lots of people who also loved picture books.

3. What book inspired you most as a young writer/illustrator? Why?
I love books by the author/illustrator Beatirce Alemagna. Her illustrations are so beautiful and all her
stories are so simple but have such gorgeous messages. My favourite book of hers is 'The Marvellous
Fluffy Squishy Itty Bitty', a story about a little girl trying to find the perfect present for her mother.


4. What is the best thing about writing/illustrating for a contemporary audience?
I love that my story can take the reader on a new adventure, somewhere they haven't been. When I
am creating a picture book I have lots of fun creating the illustrations. I really like contempory
fashion so I love creating different types of outfits for my characters.

5. What is the most challenging thing about writing/illustrating for a contemporary audience?
There are so many picture books now on the market I think it is quite a challenge to create something
different and new.

6. What inspired you to write and illustrate Have You Seen the Dublin Vampire?
I grew up in Clontarf, very close to Marino Crescent where Bram Stoker was born, so I had a curiosity
about vampires. I was fascinated by the idea that the most famous vampire in the world-Dracula-was
created in Dublin very close to where I lived.I also feel that people nowadays are too busy to take
time to notice what is going on around them so I wanted to include this theme in the story. I liked the
idea that possibly the vampire might be walking around Dublin right past you and that you are to
busy looking at your phone or rushing to get to the next thing that you miss him walking by.

7. What have you learned from the process of writing and illustrating this book?
I have learnt it is quite hard and it takes time to make a picture book. There is also a team
behind creating the book which involves working with an editors and designer. It is so
exciting and rewarding to see your book finally published and in a bookshop.

8. What advice would you give to an aspiring writer/illustrator?
Read lots of picture books. Go to the Bologna book fair it is so amazing to see all the different type of
books from all over the world. I also recommend being a member of Childrens Books Ireland and
going to there conference which is once a year. I learnt so much just by listening to other writers and
illustrators talk about the way they create their books.

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