Welcome to #SeasonsOfKidLit, all you wonderful vampire fans! Today, we are excited to feature a book you can truly sink your teeth into. The incredible Laura Lavoie is here talking about her debut picture book: Vampire Vacation. When Fang's family is ready for a vacation, he tries to talk them into something other than their usual spot, i.e. Transylvania. Will his family try something new? Want to more about Laura, her fabulous book, and her MC Fang? Read on...
Q: Hi, Laura. Thanks so much for joining #SeasonsOfKidLit! I'm excited to have you and talk about your fang-tastic debut book: Vampire Vacation! Can you tell us a little about Fang, the main character of your story?
A: Hi, Heather! Thank you for having me.
Fang is a little vampire who is a bit different from the rest of his family. He likes to wear brightly colored capes and isn’t into typical vampire hobbies, like coffin carving or training his pet bat, Ambrosia, to compete in the Vampminster Bat Show. When his parents announce yet another trip to their favorite vacation destination—Transylvania—Fang decides to persuade Papa and Mama to change their plans.
Q: Your book hilariously follows a vampire family trying to go on a normal vacation (i.e. anywhere other than Transylvania). What inspired you to write Vampire Vacation?
A: I read a blog post about creating characters with inherent conflict and I found that really interesting. I started brainstorming ideas and the one that clicked was a vampire who dreams of visiting a sunshine-y beach. Of course, the final version of the story turned out a bit differently and doesn’t focus as much on the “danger” aspect of a vampire going to the beach. From that initial idea, I was able to create a story about staying true to yourself and being open to trying new things, even if it feels a little scary.
Beyond that brainstorming session, I’ve always been into spooky stuff. As a kid, I read a lot of R.L. Stine. By middle school, I had moved on to Stephen King. So writing a story about a young vampire—but in a kid-friendly way—felt appealing to me.
Q: The illustrations for Vampire Vacation (illustrated by Micah Player) are truly hysterical. What was your first thought when seeing sample illustrations? Can you share your favorite spread with us?
A: I’ll be honest, although I’d seen Micah’s art and love his style, I had no idea what to expect from the illustrations. Not being an artist myself, I couldn’t picture how to make vampires look cute and kid-friendly, but I felt confident in the team that however they approached our little vampire family, it would be awesome.
Of course, Micah nailed it. The juxtaposition of these dark, brooding vampires paired with bright colors and beach apparel adds so much humor to the story. Also, there are so many fun details in the illustrations, including some jokes for parents. (Hint: pay close attention to Papa’s record collection!)
This spread, of Fang’s siblings dressed up in beach-themed attire, is one of my favorites. They each have so much personality. Numerous readers have commented that they have a favorite vampire sibling. I always love to hear which one and why!
Q: What do you hope readers will take away from your book?
A: I hope readers laugh! Books can be such a great escape from anything else that’s happening in our lives. I love to make kids (and their parents or caregivers) giggle. I’m a big fan of puns, so you’ll always find plenty of punny jokes in everything I write.
Q: What other spooky and fun reads can we expect to see from you in the near future?
A: Next year, in July, my second book will be out from Roaring Brook Press/Macmillan. It’s called MONSTER BAKER. The story follows a little monster named Tillie who wants to bake a cake for her grandmonster’s 247th birthday, inspired by their mutual idol, famous TV-personality-chef Pierre du Monstère. It’s illustrated by Vanessa Morales and I can’t gush enough about the art. Tillie is one of the cutest characters I’ve ever seen, but there are also plenty of monsteriffic references for the spooky crowd.
That sounds AMAZING, Laura! We're definitely looking forward to reading it!
Q: Would you like to leave a Trick or a Treat for the readers?
A: I’ll leave a treat: a 30-minute Ask-Me-Anything Zoom chat for one winner!
Holy cow - A HUGE FANG-YOU!
Contest Details: To enter to win a 30-minute Zoom chat with Laura, leave a comment below and let her know what you love most about Vampire Vacation! The winner will be announced on or about November 4th.
Reminder: Those who leave a comment on all posts will be eligible to win one (1) of ten (10) Rate Your Story Speed Passes.
About Laura Lavoie:
Laura Lavoie writes humorous, pun-filled picture books. She can also tap dance, tell terribly cheesy jokes, and bake a mean chocolate chip cookie. When she isn’t reading or writing, you can usually find her outside: hiking, kayaking, or hanging around in trees. She lives in upstate New York with her fang-tastic husband and daughters, plus two cats, one dog, and numerous backyard squirrels.
For more about Laura, check out the below links:
To purchase Laura's books on Amazon, or to leave a review, click here.