Sunday, July 28, 2013

Blog Tour: Return to Cardamom Q and A with Julie Anne Grasso


I’m back with Julie Anne Grasso, author of the fabulous Cardamom books. It is my privilege to dig into the whys and wherefores of the Cardamom mysteries and also reveal the secrets behind the recipes. (It is also my birthday today, 29 July, so this is a doubly special treat!) When I reviewed Julie’s books, the whole concept behind them intrigued me, as I am sure it did many readers. Hopefully this Q&A will answer all your questions! Don’t forget to check out the fabulous cash/gift card and book giveaway here! OK, down to the nitty-gritty!

Where did the whole idea of another planet come from? Why isn’t the story here on Earth?

I wanted my story to be unique, fantastical, and full of nerdy gadgetry, so I think Earth would have been an unbelievable setting, hence I decided to create my own planets.

Why the name Cardamom for the planet? Why not Cinnamon, Allspice, Vanilla etc?

Initially I began with the character Caramel Cardamom. I thought it sounded quirky enough for an elvin princess. However, as I started to develop the world around Caramel, I realised I needed a planet with a rich aroma, that wasn't too well known. Cardamom does actually grow in cleared rainforest so there you have it, the perfect setting for an elvin world.

Tell me more about how Caramel’s character developed?

When I began researching how to write a kid’s book, all the literature said write about what you know. Pssst… Can you keep a secret, Caramel is loosely based on me. Well, apart from the elvin princess part, of course, hee hee. I actually broke my leg as a child. Of course, it wasn’t as dramatic or exaggerated as Caramel’s injury, but that is when I became interested in the medical profession. During my time as a paediatric nurse, I witnessed firsthand that children can succeed in life, regardless of their disability. Caramel is therefore a combination of my own experience and the inspiration I gained from watching these tiny people overcome adversity.  

Will her mom finally heal her leg? (it’s worrying me!)

Oh Fiona, you are such a marshmallow. The simple answer is no. We are all a little bit like Humpty Dumpty, I guess, and we can’t always be put back together again. Caramel’s leg is permanently damaged and she will always struggle with it, but the moral of the story is that she must not allow it to define her or determine her path.

Are you working on a Caramel Fine Dining Cookbook? Now this is a burning question for many readers who were so disappointed there was no recipe section at the end of the books.

LOL my sister said something similar when I first wrote book 1. She was envisioning Caramel merchandise, including of course, caramel cupcakes….

What do you want young readers to learn from the book/s?

Follow your intuition and question things if they seem wrong, be loyal to your friends and family, persevere in adversity and never ever ever ever give up on your dreams, only you can make them reality.

Given the name of your blog, when did you decide you wanted to write a kids’ book?

Well, I guess you could say now that I have written a kid’s book I must have grown up, but that is clearly not the case. I will always be a kid at heart.  The dream of writing for kids first came when I worked with them; however it wasn’t until I left nursing and became a mom that I found the time, energy, and inspiration to write.

How many people from your friends and family appear in the books?

Micah is actually my best friend's little boy, Sass was my neighbour's kid, Jorde was a kid I went to school with, Arianna was a mum I met when I cared for her very sick little boy: she was an inspiration to me and Jacob is my friend's little boy.

The planet’s inhabitants love food–do you love cooking?

Yes I do love cooking but not as much as eating it. I have made sticky date and chocolate cake with caramel syrup many times for family functions, and Julianna sauce is what we use on our home made pizza bases.

After Cardamom Book 3, what are your plans—something new? Another planet?

Cardamom Book 3 first draft is written, hurrah. This time the story will be on board a space ship, but don’t worry, all the Cardamom elves and Earth kids will reunite for this one.  As for plans for my next book/series, I have a middle grade mystery being illustrated as we speak. I hope to have it released in late November. Stay tuned for Frankie Dupont And The Mystery Of Enderby Manor.

Did you ever want to be an astronaut?

Funnily enough, no, but I do want to travel with “The Doctor.” I even own a TARDIS LOL

Tell me something readers don’t know about you but would love to find out?

I can actually sing. If you would have asked me what I wanted to do as a teenager, I would have said a Jazz singer. I also like to do cartwheels … especially when a new book comes out. Hurrah!

Thanks for appearing on my blog, Julie. If any readers missed my reviews of Escape From the Forbidden Planet, find the review here. Catch up on Return to Cardamom here.

Thanks so much for having me on your blog Fiona, it’s been a hoot.


Jambo said...

Happy Birthday to ya, Happy Birthday to ya, Happy Bir-i-irth-day...I was singing that in case you are wondering. Thanks for posting a great interview Fiona, virtual caramel cupcakes to you on your special day, hurrah....

Cathy L Murphy said...

Great interview from across the big pond! I guess a happy birthday greeting is in order, so...happy birthday!

Renee C. said...

Happy Birthday Fiona!! Have a great day! You can totally see Julie's personality shining through in this interview. Great job! Julie, I had no idea you were a singer - believe it or not, so am I! I used to sing competitively when I was in high school, but my cousin was better than me so I started accompanying her on the piano instead. We'll have to try our hands at a duet one day. lol Thanks for your great interview Fiona. :)

Fiona Ingram said...

Thanks for all the good wishes and nice comments. It's a pity I couldn't have a sticky date and chocolate birthday cake with Cardamom sauce, but maybe next time...