Bookpleasures.com welcomes as our guest Dorianne Allister Winkler author of Pukey Poetry: Tales Ticklers by Mz Millipede.
Norm: Good day Dorianne and thanks for participating in our interview.
Please tell our readers a little bit about your personal and professional background.
Dorianne: I have been teaching and working with children on the Hawaiian island of Kauai for the past thirty years—always sharing my stories and artwork with them. I was collecting these “tummy ticklers” for over a decade before I decided they belonged in a book. Actually, it was the children themselves who came up with the title PUKEY POETRY. They explained that this title would “make kids want to read poetry that makes them laugh!” And I agreed. The rest is up to the magical Mz Millipede.
Norm: How long have you been living in Hawaii and what made you want to live on the beautiful island of Kauai?
Dorianne: I came here on my honeymoon, fell in love with this rainbow island and figured out a way to live here. My life is dedicated to children and I spent years in the public schools teaching conflict resolution, empathy skills and non-bullying techniques. It has been so satisfying being involved at this level of helping children. Luckily I was able to incorporate art and writing into these programs as well.
Norm: How has your upbringing and your environment influenced your writing and art work?
Dorianne: Having a father who was an award winning artist and writer really influenced me. It wasn’t hard to emulate his passionate example! My mother insists I was born with a paintbrush in my hand and an over the top imagination, so mostly it is my natural way of expressing myself and relating to the world around me.
Norm: What helped you focus when you created your book?
Dorianne: I think that having a clear intention gives one the ability to focus on anything they choose. My goal was crystal clear in that my passion to bring joy and laughter into the lives of children served as the natural garden in which to bloom this book.
Norm: What drew you to express yourself through poetry and what was the most difficult part in crafting your picture book?
Dorianne: I am naturally drawn to writing in a rhythmic style as I used to be a singer and songwriter. It comes more naturally than prose for me. Words tend to rhyme themselves in my stories and I step back and allow the process to flow through me. I am asked quite often how I come up with such characters as Toe-Jam Sam, Lollipop Preeta and Skink the Skouse?
And why did I choose a millipede to author this book? Firstly may I say that living in the tropics with all the creepy crawlers hanging out in my art studio was a major influence in choosing an insect as my muse and guide. I can speak through her and introduce an array of whimsical and hilarious characters that all contain aspects of the children I have met in my own life travels. Children can relate to this.
Norm: How did you go about adapting your illustrations to your poetry? Which came first, the writing or the art work?
Dorianne: I create the illustrations and poems simultaneously. It is difficult for me to separate the process as I literally write and make quick sketches that go alongside the ideas.
Norm: What do you hope will be the everlasting thoughts for readers who finish your book?
Dorianne: I hope it leaves them laughing and looking for more! The PukeyPoetry.com website will be featuring Mz Millipede’s DAILY DIARIES where the reader is invited in (on a millipede’s dare) to read how she came to meet all the hilarious characters in this book.
Currently I am half way through PUKEY POETRY book two where the reader will be introduced to even more hilarious characters to keep them going for awhile.
Norm: Would you say you get clarity about a subject from writing a poem about it? If so, please elaborate.
Dorianne: These story-poems are more fantasy than anything else. One could say they trigger a child’s imagination and lifts their spirit. I know it lifts mine!
Norm: What in your opinion makes a good children's picture book?
Dorianne: It’s important to grab their interest from page one to get them hooked. I can recall my own experience as a child and what kept me wanting more—I had to be able to relate to the main character(s) and the adventures they went through. A classic can be reread throughout the decades and still maintain the magic! Peter Pan, Anne of Green Gables, Alice in Wonderland—these are powerful characters that are not stuck in time.
It is my hope that Mz Millipede, as she is nearing 750 years old—will create a magic in children’s minds and imaginations that keeps her books on the shelves for new generations of enthusiasts.
Norm: What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
Dorianne: I so enjoy the surprise element of what I am going to come up with next. I keep myself guessing.. I love the creative flow and am grateful to be able to do share it with everyone.
Norm: Where can our readers find out more about you and your art work?
Dorianne: This first book from Mz Millipede is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble in both print and Kindle editions. The E-book and audio will be available shortly.
In the meantime, please feel free to follow the Diaries of Mz Milli online at her website where you can be kept up to date on upcoming books and insider information.
Norm: What is next for Dorianne Allister Winkler?
Dorianne: Hopefully more love, light and laughter!
Norm: As this interview comes to an end, what question do you wish that someone would ask about your book, but nobody has?
Dorianne: No one has asked if Mz Milli could possibly be a cartoon character with her own TV show where her characters join her in adventures and exciting escapades. I could totally get behind that one!
Norm: Thanks once again and good luck with all of your future endeavors?
And thank you for this interview, I enjoyed myself!