This past week Children’s Author & Poet Linda Lokhee had become the architect to her own unique poetic style called the Lokhee Flip 4 – check out her Instagram @lindalokheeauthor for more details. Moreover, please study it as it will be utilized for this years Mini Poetry Olympics in February 2020.
Now, that being said, Linda has to be one of the most imaginative Children Writer’s I’ve read. Having children, you are picky with what they read, you want to ensure that a story will not only provide a little education but also enjoyment and The Sock Monster. With such a vibrant and quirky main character riddled with the truest sense of the word mirth. I’m so excited to share with all of you my interview with Linda below.
RMMW: Do you have any artist rituals before starting a new piece?
LL: I don’t, because I write anywhere and everywhere when inspiration hits. It would be great to have a ritual of sitting down and having a pot of green tea before I write though!
RMMW: Have you ever been creatively blocked, if yes how did you over come it?
LL: I haven’t been blocked so far...my thoughts on this is that if I can’t write, for whatever reason, I won’t write - and I’ll go do something else. Life can get very busy with teaching, both primary school and in a special education school, so I guess the pressure to write ‘to a deadline’ isn’t there.
RMMW: We all have an inner critic, how do you contend with yours?
LL: I tell my inner critic to be kind to myself. I know that my writing won’t appeal to everyone, and that’s ok! It’s normal and there’s no point beating myself up about it. I’m personally happier with some pieces of writing than others.
RMMW: Tell us a little bit about The Sock Monster…
LL: The Sock Monster’s name is Ike, and he is a big purple furry loveable (but lonely) monster. He loves collecting single socks, but one day gets busted by a boy named Tim. Instead of being scared of Ike, or being angry, Tim invites Ike into his house for dinner with his family. Ike learns a valuable lesson about friendship, kindness and rectifying wrongs. The Sock Monster is written in rhyming, humourous language and is suitable for children aged 3-7 years old. It’s also for any adults who have gone to get a pair of socks after washing day and discovered one sock from a pair missing!
RMMW: How long did it take you to write The Sock Monster?
LL: Writing it and developing the characters and storyline, and the editing by Anna Wainwright, took a few months.
RMMW: Why was it important for you to write a children's book?
LL: I have been around picture books all my life - from being a teacher who uses many picture books in my classroom, to personally exploring the wonderful language and pictures of books with my two sons. It seemed a natural progression to write a book for kids and when Ike appeared in my mind, I knew he had to be given a physical form! Now I literally have plushy soft toys of Ike - so that’s as physical as I’m going to get of The Sock Monster.
RMMW: What differences do you find writing for two different audiences like for example children and adults?
LL: The topics are very different for kids than adults. I like to play around and have make believe characters like trolls, unicorns and monsters when I write for kids. When I write my poetry, I tackle different themes, such as mental health and domestic violence issues, as well as more beautiful topic such as Love.
RMMW: How difficult was it for you to find a children's book illustrator?
LL: My illustrator is an amazing artist named Anahit Aleksanyan. My wonderful friend Anna originally found her! Ana created Ike as if she’d read my mind, based on Anna’s email brief. When I saw how she had brought Ike to life, I instantly fell in love with him!! He was fluffy and big with huge eyes and my absolute favourite colour - Purple! I had no changes to make to this character which I credit to both Anna and Ana and which I’m very grateful to them for.
RMMW: What is your favourite genre to write in?
LL: My favourite genre to write depends on the outcome I want to achieve. For picture books, the genre is set. When I’m writing for adults, and when I set and respond to writing challenges on my Instagram wall, my preferred genre is poetry.
RMMW: What is your work schedule like when you are writing?
LL: I write poetry when I get a chance, I can be anywhere where inspiration hits. For example, on public transport, at home, sometimes when I’m walking around on playground duty, ideas come to me, and even when I’m driving too. There’s no set work schedule regarding place or time. When I am writing a book, I have to have a set few hours uninterrupted to work on writing, and it would be a mix of at home and in a cafe - I like the noise and the bustle as I’m a Sydney girl!
RMMW: What are you working on now?
LL: I’ve written my next children’s book, and it’s been edited by Anna Wainwright already. I’ve sent it out to publishers and am crossing my fingers that the manuscript will be accepted.
Several poetry pieces have recently been published in April and May 2019, in two poetry anthologies, published by A.B. Baird Publishing which I am delighted about! I have a goal to publish a poetry book of my own in the future - so it’s a great goal to have! Writing is not my main job as I’m still teaching, so hopefully I can find the time to publish my poetry book sooner rather than later.
RMMW: Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
LL: My ideas come from the world around me. I observe people and my environment. Sometimes a topic for my poetry can come from a news radio article I hear or a current affairs newspaper article. Or from a conversation I’ve had with family and friends. There is definitely “food for writing” everywhere I go, in every experience, drawn from life. Other times, ideas just come out of nowhere.
RMMW: If you had a superpower what would it be?
LL: Oooh! That’s a great question! Perhaps I’d like to be Super Fast - then I’d be on time for everything, and be able to sleep in for an extra long time!