Gary Lamit has a long history of of writing books, most though are of a technical nature. His latest venture is into the world of children’s books. Children’s literature is a very different beast. A completely different set of dynamics come into play. I enjoyed Wally The Walking Fish and think that it contains a good mix of entertainment and education.

I had the opportunity to interview Gary on my Week In Reviews radio program. He is a very engaging man to talk with and our 30 minute planned interview lasted almost an hour!

It transpires that Wally The Walking Fish is indeed a very personal project to Gary. The little girl in the book, Madison, is actually his grand daughter, and Cooper is Gary’s dog. The brush with reality does not stop there. Some of the illustrations were based on actual photographs take while on a family vacation in Michigan. Wally is a ‘walking fish’ and it just so happens that one of Gary’s children is an expert on walking fish! There is also a section that talks about Mushrooms, the Uncle Jamie mentioned in the text is Gary’s son, who, you guessed it is indeed a Fungi researcher in real life!

We spent the latter part of the interview on the more technical aspects of creating a successful children’s book. By trade Gary is a teacher, and has taught from grade 2 all the way up to college level. I spent 6 years teaching in a low literacy adult environment and could not resist taking the opportunity to talk about fonts and other things that the average person likely gives little thought to.

While not strictly about Wally The Walking Fish I do think this part of the discussion would be of great interest and benefit to any would be author.

We also strayed into the big bad world of publishing in general. I talk to many authors and the general consensus of opinion is that the industry is broken. It has become the world of have’s and have not’s. At the root is the Print On Demand (POD) versus traditional publishing house approach to doing business. Gary has some pretty strong thoughts, and if you are a budding author this part of the interview is a must listen to.

In fact so important is this issue that I do plan on scheduling another radio show around the very subject and I most certainly will be inviting Gary to join the panel.

You can catch the entire interview here.

You can find out more about Gary Lamit on the walkingfish web site.

Simon Barrett

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