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When Liam’s father tells him to control his temper Liam goes one step further and pulls it right out of him. Unfortunately Liam’s temper doesn’t want to be controlled and would rather have fun. Follow Liam and the Grump through the mayhem as he tries to get it back under control. A fun story for all ages showing how we all can struggle to control our temper.

My review:

“Liam and the Grump” by Graham Austin-King is a truly wonderful book for children. I rarely read and review these books because I neither have children nor am a big fan of the genre, but the title made me laugh and so did the entire book.
It has a great concept / idea behind it and is full of really amazing illustrations that make the entire story even more enjoyable.
His father wants Liam to get rid of his bad temper and when Liam does, it isn’t quite as they had hoped it would turn out. A wonderful parable how we want children to be perfect but they might lose their charm or wouldn’t be the same. This little gem is written with sense of humour, charm and love for children. I grinned throughout the entire reading and hope the author is going to come up with more great ideas like this, if not a couple of series. I could easily see the grump becoming a popular series. Very entertaining for children and adults alike.
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From other reviewers:

Amazing character writing! I love how Liam learns with his father, and through his father, but also with the help of the mummy. What a great story of responsibility, actions, and anger-management for little fella’s or misses. LOVE this story!
5 of 5 stars!
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Sarah Heseltine really made the illustrations in this book pop! The Grump came alive for me in her art!….
I love the fact that the story is infused with a moral and a coping mechanism and I adored the very last sentence. The End? Indeed.
Have 5 * for the story and the illustrations.
WaAr
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Kudos to Mr. Graham Austin-King for creating this delightful, entertaining and educational story.

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Interview with Graham Austin-King:

Graham, tell us a little about yourself and your family situation. Is Liam based on any of your children by any chance, or are you the child with the temper?

Hi Christoph, I am married with four kids and live in Kent in England. Liam is actually my six year old son and the core of the story was developed between us whilst walking to and from his school. That said I think that we all have our Grump and we all need to know how to deal with it. I certainly can be a miserable grump until I’ve had my morning coffee!

How did you come to writing at all and how did you come up with the story?

I’ve been writing for years. I, like most writers, have a collection of truly abysmal efforts locked away that I wouldn’t dare show anyone. The children’s writing came later in life and I wrote a few stories for my step-kids in my previous marriage. This book came from an attempt to get Liam to try laughing at himself to control his temper.

The story gels so well with the pictures. How did you connect with the illustrator?

Once I had the core of the story produced I sent it out to numerous agents and publishers and didn’t have much success. To be fair I received some wonderfully constructive criticism which enabled me to tweak the book, I think it’s a much better tale now. I had almost given up when I had a deeper look into Amazon’s self publishing through kindle and thought I had better find myself an illustrator. I posted an ad on an internet site and Sarah was one of about twenty who contacted me and sent sample graphics through. We actually work really well together although I tend to crack the whip and she stalls and strives for perfection. We spoke at length about each image and I think the results are not bad at all.

Did you have any influence on the process of design at all?

I described Liam and also the Grump but Sarah put her own spin on my ideas. The various incarnations of the Grump are all Sarah’s own. She really did a great job.

Will there be more of Liam and the grump or do you have different ideas for your next book?

I have a little girl called Naomi who has been promised her own story and so “Naomi and the Lost Smile” is my current project. That said I’ve been asked by many of the kids I field-tested the book on to produce a sequel so there are things on the horizon.

Where would we be able to find out about it, do you have a website or blog?

I have a website, I am also pretty active on Facebook and you can find Liam and the Grump there on it’s own page.

Why did you decide to self-publish? Did you find the process satisfactory?

Mainly due to the sheer time and frustration involved in approaching agents and publishers. I approached quite a few and nobody really enjoys repeated rejections. There is an economic element as well since a fair number of people in the industry will still only accept hardcopy and the price of stamps adds up after a while.

I found self-publishing to be relatively painless. The formatting and layout made me scream several words that will never make it into a children’s book but then I am not an expert in that field so it was to be expected. What I didn’t expect is the sheer effort it takes to get the ball rolling even a little in terms of marketing and publicising the book – that can be quite disheartening.

What is the experience like for you so far – what were your highlights?

The highpoints have definitely been seeing the book come alive in both kindle and paperback editions. There is nothing quite like holding your own book for the first time. I had a bit of a hiccup with Amazon and for some reason ended up on the bestseller list for large print children’s books. That was a great high-point and great exposure for me.

I read somewhere that your influences were Julia Donaldson, Eric Carle, Robert N. Munsch. What adult books do you read?

Patrick Rothfuss is my favourite modern author. He has produced two thirds of the best fantasy series I have ever read. The writing is just amazing and it carries over into his blog as well, I would love to be half the writer he is. Other than that I am fairly eclectic – everything from horror to legal drama including everything in between.

Do you have any favourite indie authors?

I don’t differentiate, we’re all just storytellers.

Which book would you take on a lonely island?

Can’t I take my kindle and a solar charger?

What else would you take if you had one more item permitted?

My wife.

Which author or famous person would you like to meet and why? (apart from Steven Spielberg to discuss a film version of your book)

Patrick Rothfuss to get some writing tips.

Would you prefer animation or real life for the film version?

Animation. They did a great job with The Gruffalo

Any idea who should play the father character?

Haha I think I’ll wait for the film deal.

How do you write? What is your environment like?

Quickly! I have a house full of small kids and so if I don’t get the ideas down on paper quickly then they are gone. I tend to make up the bare bones of the story whilst out walking and then get them down fast. Then go back and flesh out and tweak over several sessions

Do you need total silence or do you have music?

Ah silence…. I miss silence!

How long did it take you to write the text? Was that written before the illustrations?

The bare bones of the text was thrown down in about two hours flat. After that I had about five hours of tweaking. Then once I had found Sarah we had to rework the text to work well with the graphics. All in all I would say it took about two months not counting the time waiting for Sarah to work her magic.

Do you find the children’s book market competitive or playful?

It’s definitely competitive.

So far your book is doing incredibly well in the ratings (as it should). How did you approach reviewers and publicists?

My wife ran across a group on Facebook that reviews books. I’ve had a lot of offers for paid reviews as well which I don’t agree with at all.

Links:

Graham Austin-King
http://www.GrahamAustin-King
https://www.facebook.com/LiamAndTheGrunp (not a typo sadly)
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7068395.Graham_Austin_King
https://twitter.com/GrayAustin

Sara Heseltine, the Illustrator:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sarah-Heseltine-Illustration/416806221742679

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