Recently I needed to buy new footwear and I immediately knew where I would shop. There was a small shoe store in a strip mall that had a huge fly poster. Kids’ authors get this immediately. “Of course, she wrote a book about a boy who kills flies for a contest. Obviously she needs this poster for…school visits.”
Literary festivals are a whole different venue. Tougher really. No projector and screen for our power point of cover images, setting, possible characters, fly diagrams etc. We don’t have the captive/captured audience of the school classroom.
Instead perhaps we draw a small gaggle of children who may or may not be snacking. Some will toddle around in only a diaper. They stretch out their chubby hands to touch…something, anything.
At any given time their parents will yank them from the audience to go to the bathroom or another exhibit or to have their photo taken with the Captain Underpants festival mascot. This will make the audience shrink by whole families down to perhaps only a few flies.We need our reading/entertainment to be so irresistible that toddler will not be led away!
And so we need bright colourful (and unbreakable) props.
Before I even launched Revenge of the Fly, my husband ordered me hundreds of plastic flies (and a fly stuffy!). I also bought an electronic fly bat. It looks kind of like a tennis racket. Not sure it will zap a plastic fly but I bet I will find a volunteer in the audience who will want to try.
Also, I bought a large copy of the original article in the Hamilton Spectator that sparked the whole idea: Kill the Fly, Save the Baby! I’m having it drool proofed/laminated. All of this will provide lovely fascinators for the crowd.
But the expensive sandals I bought turned out to be well worth the price. Once the salespeople understood that I had written this story set in nearby Hamilton and that it was about a boy who needed to avenge the death of his mom and sister by killing flies, they immediately found me a fly bag and box–a great place to store my plastic flies and electronic zapper, as well as a freestanding model fly. I won’t even have to spell the word for anyone.
Come and see how all this comes together at Telling Tales Festival, September 14, Westfield Heritage Village in Rockton. Know anyone under 14? Get them to design bookmark for the special prize awarded there. Visit http://tellingtales.imaginationplus.com