Tuesday 29 September 2015

In Conversation with Longzhen Han

Today I am delighted to chat with Longy Han who very successfully crowd funded her first picture story book. This is the first in a planned series of adventures of two adorable characters, Gusto & Gecko. Read on to learn more about the path to publication for this hardworking and determined author.
Quick Plug …
"Gusto & Gecko travel to Kenya" is a story about two dinosaurs, a travel machine and Kenyan wildlife.
Tell us a little about your writing journey.
Having travelled quite extensively, I really wanted to share travel stories as a way to inspire curiosity, to spread happiness and to provide kids (and adults!) who haven’t travelled an opportunity to "experience" the world in the comfort of their homes.

I thought about it while I was at University and I thought about it a bit more while working. It wasn't until after my 25th birthday (aka "quarter-life crisis") that I started to write the first Gusto & Gecko adventure.

What do you enjoy most about being a writer?
Being a children's book writer is the best - I can escape from my usual lawyer life to conjure up the craziest, most ridiculous stories. Apparently kids love reading about farts and poops, but it would be hard to incorporate "fart" into a contract!
What is the hardest aspect of being a writer?
Knowing when to stop editing the manuscript!
Writers are sometimes influenced by things that happen in their own lives. Are you?
Each book is based on different country so I draw inspirations from my travel experiences for each story. More importantly, I grew up in a non-English speaking family so I relied heavily on books. Melbourne, being one of the most multi-cultural places in the world, also allowed me to appreciate from a young age the importance of understanding and respecting different cultures and traditions, which is something I want to explore and reinforce in the Gusto & Gecko series.
Tell us about your publications?
The Curious Travels of Gusto & Gecko is a children's picture book series which follows two dinosaurs, Gusto and Gecko, on their epic journey around the world.
The aim of the Gusto & Gecko series is to:
  1. Introduce children to various animals, plants, food and landscapes;
  2. Broaden their horizons and inspire curiosity about our world;
  3. Foster a better understanding and awareness of different cultures and traditions; and
  4. Invest in the next generation by giving back to the community.
Our first adventure takes Gusto and Gecko to the rolling plains of Kenya where they stumble upon a ferocious lion and must run for their lives! Along the way, readers encounter Africa's "Big Five" animals in their natural habitats, learn collective nouns and become little explorers.
What is the most surprising thing about writing/publishing you have learnt?
It's easier than you think. Self-publishing is fairly straightforward if you can stay motivated and focused. The hard part is creating a good product that consumer will enjoy and having the money to go ahead with it (which can be overcome through the support of tools like crowdfunding).
Other than writing what else do you love?
I love the water so I sail competitively on the weekend. I volunteer with the Young Members Committee at the Art Gallery of NSW for cookies and I am an avid TEDx listener.
What would your dream location for writing be?
Anywhere near or on the water.
Five words that sum you up.
A big, slightly crazy, kid.
How can we learn more?
Webpage is: http://gustoandgecko.com/
I'm currently planning another crowdfunding campaign for the second book so if you're interested in our journey, please follow our facebook page or get in touch with me: longzhen.han@gmail.com
Thanks so much for sharing your story with us. Stay tuned for the Dream Big ... Read Often's review shortly. Gusto & Gecko will be officially launched in Sydney on October 10. Good luck!
(Melbourne launch details to come)

1 comment:

  1. Inspiring post, Melissa. Refreshing to hear of Long's success. She seems very focused and driven. Love it. :-D