What is the message of your story for kids?
RT: Other than the counting theme, I wanted to show off some of my favourite (and sometimes lesser known) Australian birds. I always hope that after reading my book, a child will recognize a crested pigeon or fairy wren in the wild.
Is the Very Tired Wombat based on a real character?
RT: Wombat is based on a common wombat I saw at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, Brisbane, in 2007 – just a few weeks after I moved to Australia. It was the first time I had ever seen a wombat and all he did was sleep, despite all the noisy children, lorikeets and kookaburras around him. I didn’t realize how impressed I was by his ability to just sleep until the illustrations started popping up in my imagination.
Where did your inspiration for this story come from?
RT: The story came to life after I started illustrating the above mentioned sleeping wombat – first I drew him with one frogmouth, then two galahs, then three kookas and so on. I kept hoping someone else would come along and write me a story featuring the wombat, which I could illustrate. f course, this didn’t happen, so after my son was born I decided to try to write it myself. It took well over a year for the story to transform from a straight-up boring counting book (1 frogmouth, 2 galahs…) to the story it is now.
RT: I have always been interested in illustrating animals and I tend to be interested in whatever is in my immediate environment. In the States, it was chickadees and barred owls. Here in Australia, it’s wombats and frogmouths and boobooks…
RT: Taking on a new title is tough – I didn’t study writing and was very unsure about claiming myself to be an author. But after Wombat was published and the second contract was signed I had to look myself in the mirror and repeat ‘I’m an author-illustrator’ until I believed it.
Are there any more children's books in the works?
RT: Yes! Colour for Curlews is due out in September – in fact it’s at the printers now and I’m anxiously awaiting my preview copy to arrive in a few weeks. Curlews is published by Random House Australia and follows the two curious curlews and a host of other birds as they get into mischief with my paint brushes and paint. (Of course Wombat makes a guest appearance as well.) I am finishing up two other manuscripts that feature Aussie natives and another pesky one about a cheeky owl that I just can’t seem to whip into shape.
Fishpond, and Amazon. Read more about Renee Treml here on Bondville.
Images: One Very Tired Wombat