Interview with B.C.R. Fegan, author of The Grumpface

12:30 AM

Doodles, doodles everywhere congratulates author Bryce Fegan on the release of his book, The Grumpface! Let's welcome him on the blog for an interview with DDE today. Read on!

1. How did you decide to write The Grumpface?

I began writing The Grumpface a number of years ago in response to that ‘grumpy face’ young children (and let’s be honest, sometimes adults too) pull when things haven’t quite gone their way. The Grumpface just sounded like a natural villain, filled with negativity and resistant to all attempts at making him crack a smile.

As someone who has always enjoyed fairy tales, crafting a story around this villain using this style of writing was an easy next step.

2. Can you tell us what kind of research went behind the book?

In many ways, the research for this book was undertaken as a child. As someone who enjoyed reading and especially enjoyed the magic contained within fairy tales, I quickly absorbed what I liked about these narratives. As time wore on, I began looking for other stories that had the unique ability to capture the mind and send the imagination soaring.

However, as someone who never lost that fascination with children’s picture books, in my adulthood, I was dismayed to see these narratives changing. Imagination was being replaced with issue-driven children’s books or hollow narratives filled with low-brow humour. As someone who had by this time written a number of books, I decided that now was the time to begin publishing these works.

In essence, my research was really grounded on the natural inhalation of imaginative children’s books and the discovery that these types of books were becoming a rarity.

3. How did you celebrate the first sale of this book?

The first sale of The Grumpface was a pre-order and was met with confusion rather than celebration. Who was this mysterious buyer and how did they become aware that the book was available? The first real celebration was actually the book launch and by then, a number of the books had been sold.

4. Tell us about some of the biggest challenges or learning experiences you faced throughout the writing and publishing process.

A huge question! The writing process wasn’t so much of a challenge. I have always enjoyed writing so it’s a pleasurable experience when I have the time. The publishing process on the other hand is a dangerous path of pitfalls and dead ends. The challenges are certainly exciting but anyone serious about doing things right may find the process tiring – even more so if you are a perfectionist like me!

Perhaps the biggest challenge has been getting the book noticed. As an unknown author, this means spending an incredible amount of time pursuing every avenue for potential exposure. Don’t get me wrong, it can be very rewarding and you interact with some amazing people on the way, but it is a long journey.

5. Do you decide the character traits before you sit down to write the book, or as you go along?

I think both. I am passionate about creating deep characters with strong personalities, so I spend considerable time mapping this out. However interactions between characters have the inevitable consequence of influence. As a story progresses, these characters must respond to their circumstances, other personalities and even their own contemplations. While I must be mindful of the story arc, I must also allow the character’s to develop organically and authentically.

6. Who's your favorite character from The Grumpface and why?

Dan, the protagonist of the story, is easily the most curious character. He has an incredibly big heart, sees life optimistically and is determined to succeed. Yet this is juxtaposed with his constant failures in just about every area of his life. It is in fact his personality, more than the challenges he faces, that sets the tension in the story.

7. Tell us something personal about you that your readers may be surprised to know.

I grew up only minutes away from some of Australia’s greatest beaches. As a child, when I wasn’t reading or writing, I was surfing. Some of my most inspiring or calming moments came from sitting out in the surf in the early mornings before school. It might sound clichéd, but there is an incredible serenity and power in the Ocean that seems to naturally align your thoughts with life’s bigger questions.

8. What do you do when you are not writing or reading?

I enjoy the outdoors and spending time with my wife. We both enjoy keeping fit, so we will involve ourselves in various outdoor adventures when we can.

9. What's next?

I have another children’s picture book coming out in August – Henry and the Hidden Treasure.

10. Lastly, any special thoughts for the readers?

I would love to reemphasise something that Michael Ende once wrote about almost forty years ago. In his book, The Neverending Story, Ende laments the slow death of imagination in children’s stories. Since that time, we have seen some legendary authors reignite that imagination in young people time and time again. Yet the war is not over and Fantasia remains in peril. When bookstores are filled with stories that are agenda driven or seek to ‘educate’ children on trending social issues, we erode the magic that inspires a wonderment of life. It is my hope that in the near future, we can once again return to the importance of simple adventures, excitement, mystery and imagination in children’s stories.

“He didn’t like books in which dull, cranky writers describe humdrum events in the very humdrum lives of humdrum people. Reality gave him enough of that kind of thing, why should he read about it? Besides, he couldn’t stand it when a writer tried to convince him of something. And these humdrum books, it seemed to him, were always trying to do just that. Bastian liked books that were exciting or funny, or that made him dream. Books where made-up characters had marvellous adventures, books that made him imagine all sorts of things. Because one thing he was good at, possibly the only thing, was imagining things so clearly that he almost saw and heard them”.
Michael Ende, The Neverending Story.

The Grumpface

by B.C.R. Fegan

Publication Date: May 1st 2017
Published by: TaleBlade
Page count: 32


The Grumpface is a poetic fairy-tale that tells the story of Dan, an inventor who ventures into a forest looking for a rose.

Instead he finds the mysterious Grumpface who threatens to hold him captive unless he passes some difficult challenges. What follows is a humorous adventure that neither Dan nor the Grumpface could have anticipated.

The Grumpface is a tale in the spirit of any grand adventure. It is about a clumsy young inventor's quest for love and the challenges he must face to find it. It is also a tale of bravery, absurdity and happiness, and the power of these qualities over negativity and sheer grumpiness.

Every parent will be acquainted with their own little 'grumpface' now and then. This story stands as a small piece of hope - that no matter how ingrained the grump, there will always remain in every one of us a smile or a laugh just waiting to come out.

Buy the book

About the author

BCR Fegan is an Australian author who has written a number of fairy tales and fantasies for children and young adults.

Raised on a small hobby farm only minutes from some of Australia’s greatest beaches, Fegan grew up inspired by the power of natures ambience. From the intensity of the frequent summer storms, to the overwhelming serenity of a lonely beach in the early hours of the morning. His ravenous appetite for both reading and writing soon saw him drawing on the transformational influence of the world around him to craft short stories, poems and picture books.

As time wore on, Fegan also found inspiration in the magic and depth of authors and compositors like Hans Christian Andersen, the Brothers Grimm and Charles Perrault. He was mesmerised by the potency of small but beautiful phrases that were carefully carved from the minds of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Alfred Lord Tennyson and Robert Frost. He grew to appreciate the worlds meticulously created by David Eddings, JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis.

Eventually, he began to forge his own complete works. Weaving his own magic, piecing together his own phrases and crafting his own worlds. Agonising over plots that would inspire, characters that would be loved and circumstances that would delight. In time, his efforts saw a number of children’s books and young adult fiction produced. Through the efforts of TaleBlade Press, these works are now being published with that same careful dedication. 

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