I don’t know about you, but we at the publishing company needed to know more about Debbie K and why she created Amy and the Feelings Basket. So, we asked Curious to interview her, here’s what he found out:
What inspired you to write the Amy and the Feelings Basket series?
There were two things that came together in a serendipitous moment. A friend had suggested that I do something more creative as a hobby. I’ve always worked a lot and read a lot of (work) books but apart from necessary exercise I haven’t ever had a specific hobby, especially nothing creative. I thought about my options and remembered how much I had enjoyed writing at school and college, so I decided to take up a creative writing course. I fell in love with writing and had some favourable feedback on the short stories I wrote.
The second thing was that I was starting to use my background in psychology and training in NLP more, both on myself and to help others. One day I was with a friend, who I have fondly named my personal “Feelings Navigator” and we were thinking of ways to talk about how we deal with our feelings, whether we allow them to appear and disappear or whether they are always present but we only take notice of them at certain times. This idea ran around in my mind for a while, then on holiday, while feeling particularly relaxed and happy I developed the concept of the Feelings Basket and Amy was created.
Why do all the Feelings look different?
Since first coming up with the concept of the feelings basket, I’ve had a very clear idea of what feelings look like and how their characteristics change. I can visualise their movements and habits. For example, Curious, who we meet first in “The Magic Basket”, needed to be soft and a bit unkempt, like he’s been sat in the corner of the library reading books for a while. His glasses needed to be big enough for him to take everything in around him, although he does spend a lot of time hoisting them back up when they slip down.
Relaxed, who helps Amy in “Starting school – Confident Leads the Way”, was easy to create. As a child I developed a strong bond with anything satin. Satin has the ability to help me to relax immediately, to the extent where I walked down the aisle twiddling with the satin parts of my wedding dress! So it was easy to develop a satin character, who smells of lavender and is so laid back, he can’t actually stand up.
Although I find it easy to visualise the characters and their characteristics, I’m not known for my drawing skills. Thankfully, I found Louise Grundy who is an amazing illustrator and has been able to interpret my descriptions and sketches and create something beautiful.
What age children is this aimed at – and is it for boys and girls?
The language of the books is aimed at children with a literacy age of 7/8 years. The messages in the stories however are something that children as young as 5 will understand, although some of the bigger words may need to be explained. There isn’t an upper age limit, adult friends of mine have read the books and said that the messages had a significant impact on them!
The books are for both boys and girls. Although Amy is the central character in “The Magic Basket”, it is the feelings who are prominent in the stories, and both genders can associate with the life event each story is built around.