Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Inside the Mind: Ian Boyd & Gary Luck


Welcome to Inside the Mind where we here at The Faerie Review interview authors and creators.
Our guests today are Ian Boyd & Gary Luck, the minds behind Melody Finch.

Lily: Thank you so much for agreeing to this interview Ian and Gary I loved reading Melody Finch. What inspired you to write this book? 

Ian:   For me, it has always seemed a shame that the same Australian animals get used in most books and movies, so the challenge was to come up with a story that showed something different.

Gary:  Being an Environmental Scientist, I wanted to introduce kids to important environmental messages in a fun and engaging way. 

Lily: I really enjoyed learning about all those new animals! Why did you choose to have Melody turn into a finch? 

Ian:   This one’s for Gary.

Gary: First – Diamond Firetail Finches are beautiful! Second, their range extends from Queensland all the way to the bottom of South Australia. As a little finch, Melody wouldn’t be able to fly from Charleville to the Coorong all by herself. She would need help and this gave us the opportunity to introduce lots of fun characters to help her on the journey. 

Lily: This makes me want to learn more about all the animals in the book! Melody encounters so many interesting birds and animals during her adventures, was it hard to choose which ones to include? 

Ian:   Seagulls at Goolwa was easy, but Gary chose the rest.

Gary:   Not really. They almost chose themselves. Ramon the Rainbow Bee-eater was a must because bee-eaters undertake an annual migration in Australia, so he was the perfect travel partner for Melody. The clumsy frog spies – Peron and Banjo – were just funny. We included King Joh the cane toad because we wanted to highlight the issue of introduced species spreading throughout Australia. 

Lily: I have to admit, I giggled at the frog spies, and Ramon was wonderful. Out of all the animals in the book, which is your favorite, and can you tell us a little about them? 

Ian:   That’s very hard to answer, but I would say Reginald. He’s a wise, humble and dependable old guy, but also a little bit of a coward. He only became heroic because Dorothy forced him into it.

Gary:  Agree with Ian, hard to pick one favourite. I’d say Buzza. He never speaks a word in the book (other than bee language) but ends up doing some heroic things, and the interaction between him and Ramon is delightful. He’s the strong, quiet type.

Lily: They were both great characters, and hopefully our readers will want to pick up the book and get to know them. Now we’d like to talk about y’all as writers. What time of day is the best for you to write? 

Ian:   After breakfast because my head isn’t filled with distractions. Preferably when no one else is about making noise.

Gary:   I have more energy in the morning, but I rarely get to write then. Usually I’m writing in the afternoon for around 3-4 hrs a day. 

Lily: I don't know if I would have the energy first thing in the morning, but it sounds like it's perfect for both of you. Do you have a favorite place to write? 

Ian:  The kitchen table.

Gary:   Ditto!

Lily: Sounds like you both must have comfy kitchen tables! Do you prefer quiet, music, or noise when writing? 

Ian:     Quiet. I am very easily distracted.

Gary:   Yes, quiet as well. I don’t like distractions. 

Lily: I can't lie, I half expected one of you to say you put on nature sounds in the background when writing. Before we get to the fun questions, I wanted to ask you some animal and environmental questions. If you could spend one day as any animal, which would you choose and why? 

Ian:   Eagle. I’ve always thought it would be great to be able to fly wherever you want and see absolutely everything. They are the kings of their realm because nothing can mess with an eagle. Gary could probably disprove that, but I can dream.

Gary:  Ian keeps stealing my answers! I’d have to choose a bird so I could experience flying. I’ll pick a Peregrine Falcon because they’re the fastest animal in the world! They can dive at nearly 250 miles per hour. 

Lily:  Woah, that's insanely fast! I can see the appeal in spending a day as both. If you could talk to and understand birds, mammals, fish, or reptiles, which would you choose and why? 

Ian:   Birds. I’ve mainly worked outside, and in a couple of weird moments after someone close to me has died, a magpie has landed on the ground beside me while I was eating morning tea. I’ve always wondered if they were trying to tell me something.

Gary:  I’d want to talk to a tiger. And I’d make sure I called him Sir or her Madam, being very, very respectful in case they wanted to eat me. 

Lily:  I always believed a bird visiting after the loss of a loved one was the loved one telling you they're ok (but I've also always been a bit superstitious). I would also definitely love to know what a tiger had to say (and hopefully it wouldn't want to eat me). What’s one issue facing the environment right now you want kids and adults to know more about, and can you suggest any easily accessed resources for them? 

Ian:   I’ll let Gary answer this one.

Gary:   I’d like everyone to think about protecting half the planet for nature. That leaves the other half for us, people. Surely one species – humans – can live on half of this planet, leaving the other half for the rest of the millions of species on Earth? Here’s a link to learn more about it:

Lily:  Thank you! Let’s finish up with some fun questions and get inside your minds. If you could spend one week anywhere, where would you go? 

Ian:   Three days in the ancient forests of Tasmania and four days at Kakadu in the Northern Territory. They are two of Australia’s most ancient, magical and contradictory landscapes, one at the top of the country and the other at the bottom.

Gary:   Too many places to go to. Either Antarctica, the Himalayas, Siberia, Mongolian desert, or another trip to the Amazon. Oh, and Patagonia. How about Galapagos…😊 

Lily: Hehe I think we might need a year to visit all the interesting places! What’s one food combination you think is delicious but others might find strange? (Example: mayo and banana sandwiches or sweet pickles and chocolate ice cream) 

Ian:   I love vegemite and cheese on toast, but some people don’t understand it.

Gary:   Sultana sandwiches or tahini and honey. 

Lily:  I can't say I've tried vegemite yet (it's hard to get in the states but it's on my food bucket list). Sultana sandwiches do sound yummy. What would you name your boat if you had one?  

Ian:   I would only want a houseboat, and I would call it Chugga!

Gary:   I’d have a kayak named Wave Crusher. 

Lily:   I can totally see you living on a houseboat named Chugga Ian, and I love that name Gary! Survival/rescue items aside, what three things would you want if you were stranded on an island? 

Ian:   A guitar, a solar powered laptop and a magical dongle with hi speed internet that never runs out.

Gary:   My partner Gayle, our border collie, and a packet of corn chips. 

Lily:  I'd love unlimited hi-speed internet on some of our vacations! Now I'm wondering if there are any corn chips floating around in my kitchen... Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?

Ian:   I would say that writing Melody Finch taught me more about environmental issues than I ever could have imagined when we started out. It has only inspired me to keep writing and learning, so I hope our readers feel as informed and inspired as I did.

Gary:   Keep reading, writing and trying to make the world a better place. 

Lily:  I'm so glad I got the chance to interview you both. How can readers discover more about you and you work?  

Ian:   Subscribe to our website and receive updates of our upcoming novel, The Last Firedog.


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