PERTH, WA, AUSTRALIA. Born in Vienna, Austria, Werner is now living in the paradise of Perth, Australia with his wife, two married children and three grandchildren. He worked in the printing industry for many years and later for the United Nations in Vienna. Now retired, after a full and eventful life, he began to write children’s stories. He found illustrators through Odesk, narrated them himself for YouTube and finally took the next step by publishing ebooks.
What is your book about, Werner? When I saw that the main character was a cat(!!) well, I was sold. I always like to share talking about cats to children and the merge of the kangaroo as a way for the cat to travel was a fantastic way to add fun to the duo!
“Oliver and Jumpy” are best of friends and experience many adventures together. Oliver is a black-and-white tomcat, who is very self-assured. As a matter of fact he says: “I love myself!” quite often. But his best friend Jumpy is aware that he is only putting up a front! Oliver has a soft heart and will always want to help others. The great thing is Jumpy’s pouch, which Oliver loves to ride in! He calls her his kangaroo taxi! Today, we have the first two books of an extensive series and more in the works.
Who or what influenced you to write children's books?
There are lots of fairy tales and bedtime stories around and many of them are quite violent and unsuitable for young children. This made me decide to write something different. On a flight from Europe to Australia I watched the movie ‘Magic on Belle Island’ with Morgan Freeman, where Freeman teaches a little girl to have imagination and write her first story. This inspired me so much! And the first stories with two main characters Oliver, the elegant tomcat, and Jumpy, his kangaroo lady friend, made their appearance.
Did you do any specialized research for your stories?
There was no need to research for the stories, but rather to find illustrators and the right software for doing the books and YouTube clips.
What challenges do you face while writing the stories?
I simply had to try thinking like a small child and imagine their reactions.
Tell us more about Oliver?
Oliver, the elegant tomcat, is a know-it-all individual, who thinks he is the best, but is always helpful to others. Like most cats, Oliver does not like to get wet, but generally does not fail to face any adventure that comes his way...
I notice you use somewhat of a regular format for your stories, but how do you decide on the adventures?
I go through different scenarios of children’s stories and pick out one after the other, making sure they are age appropriate and factual related to what is happening.
How do you start another book??
I just pick a quiet spot, close my eyes and let my mind sail in the darkness. Eventually I can visualize an image which can become a story.
Preference for writing: Day or Night?
The night is for sleeping. I live very healthy.
What is your process for editing your work?
After the initial draft, I let the story rest for a while and then revisit. I revise a couple of times before letting my editor have it. English is not my mother tongue, so I need help with the grammar. It is usually a case of shifting the words into a different order. So far, there has been little problem in moving from language to language...The series is now available in more than English.
How do you come up with your book covers?
Actually, the cover is the first page of each picture book with title rather than text.
Do you think the book cover is important?
Sure, covers are important. But with a series it is a little different. A series needs brand recognition. I prefer to keep them simple, but recognizable. There are so many beautiful covers out there that one looks like the other. Just look at romance books! There is either a beautiful muscle man on the cover or a couple kissing. They are all generic! A series needs to be recognizable at a glance!
Which publishing platform do you prefer and why?
I prefer ebooks on all ebook platforms. It is just so much simpler. Print-on-demand will be another option later on. If a publisher wants to bring my books into shops then I will look at that as well. I just don’t see any money in it here in Australia, where most chains have closed.
What methods do you use to promote your work?
Currently I am doing everything I can do to collect as many reviews as possible. This takes an enormous amount of time.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Produce a good product and persevere with promotion. Nobody will do it as well as yourself!
Which social media platforms do you use the most?
I use Google+, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn.
My Amazon author’s page: (You will always find a free full-length book there and the free Introduction to the series)
Whenever you put on your new clothes, you can announce to everybody, "I am refined!" And everybody will think you are an elegant person. Well, enough of all that talk about me, although I can never talk too much about myself. I really think I am a cool cat. I love myself! Do you think this is naughty? You are probably right, but I can't help it.
My best friend’s name is Jumpy. You guessed it. She likes to jump a lot, because she is a kangaroo! She is a great girl and she lets me ride in her pouch! I get in and Jumpy jumps away and away! That’s a lot of fun. I bet you would like to ride in her pouch too, wouldn't you? You are probably a bit too big. I am quite small, so it is OK. I love it, but after a while I need to rest. All that up and down makes me dizzy. It's a bit like being on a roller coaster.
One day I was in Jumpy’s pouch, happily hopping through the fields. It was a very sunny day and I wore my white hat and funky sunglasses. Sun is beautiful, but too much of it burns your skin! My fur coat protects me though. I don’t need to worry about buying the hottest fashions. What if I shaved off my fur? Could I dress up like people do? What do you think?
We were hopping across the fields, when Jumpy stopped suddenly. It was so unexpected that I fell out of her pouch, bouncedy bounce down to the ground. Amazingly, I did not fall very hard, but very soft! But that softness screamed loudly! I had fallen on a mole.
Moles are creatures who live in the ground and love to dig tunnels. They are much smaller than cats. Sometimes they come out from their holes. Moles are blind, because they do not need eyes below ground. That’s why she didn’t notice Jumpy coming. Jumpy only saw her at the last second so she made an emergency stop. I was saved, but the mole appeared quite unhappy about the disturbance.
After I stopped turning around and around, because I was still dizzy from the jumping, I apologised to Molly the mole. She recovered quickly and was not really hurt. Then she even got friendly with us. "I have just made lunch," she said, "why don't you join me? I have the tastiest worms and bugs. Would you like some?"
You see, that’s what moles eat. A kangaroo prefers grass. I find the occasional bug quite tasty, but don't fancy slimy rainworms. Jumpy made an excuse not to accept the offer. "Thank you very much, but we are watching our diet!"
Molly was not unhappy about it, since she could now eat everything by herself. "Come and visit me again, but without any accidents next time! I think you are a very elegant cat, and a very jumpy kangaroo. I like you guys. Of course, I am a lady myself and don't eat just any bugs, but only the best!"
After this adventure, we decided to go home for a nap. I suppose you are having your bug dinner now and hope they don't taste too crunchy. Next time I will tell you about Ducky, the duckling. See you later, alligator!
I can also eat real fish. Unfortunately, they are very hard to catch. We have a small lake nearby and sometimes I wait very quietly by the side of the water until a fish swims by. Cats fish with their claws, not with a fishing rod, as you know. At least I have never seen one do that. Have you? On one of those fish-catching days, while Jumpy was eating her grassy lunch near me, I was just about to hook a fish.
Suddenly we heard a very pitiful "Chirp, chirp, chirp." This is the sound small ducklings make before they have their change of voice. Then they cry "Quack, quack, quack!" So this baby duckling was nearby and obviously in trouble. "Jumpy, see what the problem is," I called. I did not want to scare the duckling even more. She might think I wanted to eat her!
Jumpy said, "Look up in the sky!" A big eagle circled high up in the air, ready to dive down and get himself a baby duckling for dinner. "Be quick, Jumpy," I cried, "You have to save her!" So she jumped towards the chirping sound, and I followed closely behind. "The eagle is diving down! Where is the duckling?" I yelled. Now you could hear mother duck quacking in alarm. She had also realised the danger for her baby, but could not help much. Only Jumpy was big enough to scare him off!
Have you ever seen an eagle close by? They have awfully strong beaks and claws and can pick up a duck easily and fly away with it. Well, we don't want to let him do that! So we all cried: "Go away eagle! Go away eagle!"
You can help too! Shout together with us! We were shouting and running, and running and shouting, and still could not see the chirping baby. Then Jumpy pointed out," There she is. Tangled in the reeds!" The eagle started to descend rapidly. We were jumping and running as fast as we could to get there first.
Jumpy arrived just as the eagle extended his claws to pick up the duckling. "Oh no, you don't!" he cried and boxed the eagle in his side. "You are stealing my lunch," the eagle protested and flew away mad. The duckling was saved, even though she was very frightened.
"Quack, quack, quack," called mummy duck and daddy duck, coming quickly to the side of their baby. Of course, the brothers and sisters named Quick, Quack, Quip, Quop and Quish, also arrived as fast as they could. All the ducks were very grateful that Jumpy saved Queck. They did a lot of very noisy quacking and chirping. After a while, they finally quieted down, and Jumpy explained to them that I was allergic to eating birds and that they were quite safe with me.
So we still had an enjoyable afternoon, with the ducklings hopping into Jumpy's pouch and having a ride kangaroo style. In the end, some of them would even jump on my back for fun. What a picture! An elegant black cat with ducks on his back! Duckybye!
Hi Everybody, and thanks so much to Werner Stejskal for spending time at book Readers Heaven to talk about his first, and continuing, children's series. This is the first time I'm sharing about a series that is one of my favorites for children! Yes, Of Course, Oliver is the reason for me...but, hey, I don't not like all animals, I just like to read about cats more...Why? Because I have shared a home with so many over at least 50 years and have found them quite wonderful as friends and companions... In fact, my absolute favorite type of book is cat cozy mysteries that merge my favorite furry friends with my favorite type of fiction--mysteries...
I am amazed just how much Werner has expanded since I first grabbed a copy or two of his books... I see that Chinese, Spanish are now available in this series, and that he has expanded beyond the Oliver and Jumpy books! He is obviously prolific and must be a great story teller for his family, since he has no problem thinking like he did as a child, and sharing those adventures of seeing his first mole...et.al. I have to admit that I share quite a few of my stories about 'coons, deer and more that come around my log cabin...
So, do check this writer out. His books are fun and there is a "touch of kindness and love" in each that seems to be just right for sharing with a new, young reader! And You older will enjoy reading them, first, as well!