Who would have thought to combine vampires and computers in a story?
Author and illustrator Graeme Base, that’s who!
Graeme’s latest book, The Curse of the Vampire Robot, is our October Book Club book of the month.
Find out more about the story, along with Graeme’s thoughts on this and the 20-or-so other books he’s written and illustrated over 33 years in our Q&A below.
How did you come up with the idea of combining a vampire and computers in your new book?
The idea of a mash-up between vampire mythology (draining blood) and computer technology (draining power) came to me a few years ago. It was only when it occurred to me that the ideal setting for my little horror story was the Scottish Highlands (where else would you find Mac computers? haha) that The Curse of the Vampire Robot was born.
Is it more difficult to write the rhyming verse or create the illustrations for your stories?
I find rhyming verse a very enjoyable form of storytelling. Finding good rhymes that fit into the strict rhythm of the verse is a challenge but it comes with a high degree of satisfaction when you come up with the right solution!
Is there a word or phrase you’ve wanted to use but haven’t been able to find something to rhyme it with?
The word “orange” is famous for having no good rhyming words. As a result I have sworn never to write a book about citrus fruit.
A favourite word I use when I want to be annoying is “antidisestablishmentarianism”. I think it’s probably something to do with social politics. There are sure to be many good rhyming words but so far I have failed to find a story that needed it.
What do you think kids enjoy most about reading your books?
One thing I don’t do in my books is target a specific age group. (The exception to this was BumbleBunnies: Superheroes of the Garden, which was directed pretty much at preschoolers – though I still find it quite entertaining myself!)
The good thing about this policy is that I rarely fall into the trap of talking down to kids – maybe this is one reason why a lot of different aged people like what I do.
The Curse of the Vampire Robot
What did you learn when writing and illustrating The Curse of the Vampire Robot?
When I was at school I was fascinated by the woodcuts and etching of 15th Century German artist Albrecht Dürer, so I decided I would channel this interest into the artwork for The Curse of the Vampire Robot.
What I learned along the way was how incredibly brilliant Dürer was and how totally impossible it was for me to do anything even remotely as good! Still, I had a lot of fun trying and that’s the main thing.
What did you most enjoy about creating this book?
Although the black and white artwork was a joy to create (a change from the full colour stuff I usually do) I have to admit I got a lot of kicks from the geeky computerspeak humour – the blend of vampire mythology and computer jargon kept making me chuckle.
I rather suspect a lot of the jokes will appeal to adults as much as kids, but that’s OK – grown-ups are allowed to read picture books too.
What are the key messages you would like kids to take away from this book?
Gertie Giff is a lowly cleaning droid, looked down on by the other hi-res robots in the village of Loch Lan, which makes her an unlikely hero – my favourite kind.
The message is that you should never put yourself above or below anyone else – everyone has worth and skills – and each of us can potentially change the world in which we live for the better.
The Curse of the Vampire Robot by Graeme Base
Classic vampire mythology meets nerdy computer-speak in a rhyming tale of adventure, humour and compassion from master storyteller Graeme Base.
Deep in the Scottish Highlands,
Many years from now …
Gertie Gif, a lowly cleaning droid from the village of Loch Lan, sets out on an heroic quest to liberate her fellow robo-folk from the curse of a legendary, battery-draining laptop who lives in the castle on the hill.
Will Gertie and her little software-wolf companion succeed in cleaning out the vampire’s corrupted heart?
Or will the Curse of Voltoid remain forever hanging over the valley?
Read a sample of The Curse of the Vampire Robot here!
We have a special preview just for Kids News readers:
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