Children's literatureClimate fictionFantasyInterviewShort storyThe Garret At HomeTrent JamiesonWriter

At home with Trent Jamieson

Trent Jamison discusses writing children's literature and creating fantasy worlds, as well as how we communicate about climate change to the next generation.

Trent is a multi-award winning novelist and short story writer. He is the author of the picture book The Giant and the Sea, the fantasy work Day Boy, and the Death Works series. He has twice won Aurealis Awards for his short stories.

 

Trent Jamieson_The Garret

TRANSCRIPT

ASTRID: Trent Jamieson is an editor, bookseller, and award-winning fantasy and science fiction writer. Day Boy, his 2015 novel won the Aurealis Award for Best Fantasy Novel, and the novel is also shortlisted for several other state and international prizes. In 2020, Trent has moved into children's literature with the gorgeous, The Giant and the Sea.

Welcome to The Garret, Trent.

TRENT: Thanks Astrid, it's nice to be here.

ASTRID: The Giant and the Sea took my breath away. I'm actually sending it to my niece immediately after this interview. She is 6 years old, and I can't wait for her to read it, and I want to talk to her about it. What took you from adult writing into the world of children's literature?

TRENT: I think I've always enjoyed reading children's literature and I really wanted to do a picture book, but it was never anything strategic. And this book didn't, when I started writing it, I had no idea that's what it was going to be. I was in the middle of a kind of a follow-up to Day Boy called The Stone Road, and I was really, really struggling.

So, I basically had a nap and I woke up with the opening sentence of The Giant and the Sea, about the giant standing on the shore, looking out to sea. And I thought, ‘Well, that's actually an interesting sentence. I might just sit down and see where that goes’. And I belted this story out in about 40 minutes, and I thought it's not a short story, it's definitely not a novel. I felt like, ‘Oh, actually, maybe this is a picture book?’

So, I kind of played around with it for a bit, and then impulsively sent it off to my agent, Alex Adsett, and said, ‘Here's another picture book to bother you with’. And she really liked it. I felt like there was something there. But yeah, it was definitely nothing strategic at all. It was just really a break from writing a novel and something that I was really struggling with. It was such a delight to have something that just flowed and just came from me.

Nine times out of 10, when I'm writing, it's stop, start, stop, start. I'll write on the bus. I'll be writing at work. This was actually, I was kind of rested because I had a nap, which I don't even understand now that I have a toddler, how that's even possible. But it's this wonderful, perfect moment of writing that led to this gorgeous book. And I wish I could say that I sat down and I really wanted to write a parable about climate change or the many other issues that the book brings up, but it was just the words flying from me and me just trying to find where they were going to go. And yeah, just being enchanted by it.

ASTRID: Enchanted is the right word. That's how I felt when I saw the cover and I read it. Trent, there is so much in what you just said that I want to unpack. And I have to note that I am very excited that they might be a sequel to the Day Boy, we are going to come back to that. But firstly, for those who are listening, who haven't read The Giant and the Sea, can you give us the 20 second overview of the storyline?

TRENT: Oh, this is one of those things that you'd think I'd be good at this. Because one, I'm a book seller and I'm a writer, and this is a book that it doesn't take that much longer to actually read it aloud. But it is basically a story about a giant that, as long as anyone can remember, has just been staring out to sea, because that's what she does. And there's a girl that likes to play on the beach near the giant, and one day the giant turns around and looks at her and says that the sea is rising and that she has to take this message to the people, and it sort of moves from there. So, it's really about people dealing with bad news, I guess, or dealing with change.

ASTRID: The world is currently dealing with bad news and change.

TRENT: Absolutely.

ASTRID: And behind all of that is of course climate change, which sometimes feels like it's dropped off the radar, but it really hasn't, and it's not going anywhere. To an adult reading this, it's clear that this is an allegory of climate change, amongst other messages and storylines in there. But this is very much what I think my niece is going to enjoy. This is a brave girl who is empowered or chooses to make decisions and comes up against the adult world who may be doesn't listen to her. Her parents listened to her, but the rest of the world doesn't. And I'm wondering, were you aware of trying to give that message to the younger generation? I know you said it flowed, but when you come back and reread it or edit it, what were you trying to tell the kids?

TRENT: So, this is the worst question to ask an author, I think for me, because I tend to be like, ‘Well, I'm just going to kick these words along and see where they go’. I feel like as a child, we'll go back to this concept of allegory, because I mean, definitely on one level it is, but I was a huge Tolkien-phile as a child and I would read his essays. And I'm talking, I would go over my head, but that the piece that he wrote about Lord of the Rings not being an allegory for World War 2, really impressed upon me this idea that allegory was a bad thing and that you shouldn't depend upon it in the narrative.

So, I guess I always resist saying, ‘Well, this book is about that’. Though this is obviously about my fears of climate change, and I do tend to go dark. And I feel like this story, actually, I stepped back from that a bit, really, if I'm thinking about what I would like people to get from it is something that is hopeful. But also opens up a conversation around climate change, and perhaps looks at why people are scared of changing things, and why perhaps we resist listening to expert opinion on things.

And I mean, we can see that with COVID-19 as well. There's massive resistance to scientific evidence, and it was really when people started listening and coming together as a community that we started to engage with it properly. And you can see the places where that hasn't happened. So, I think in a way this book really is looking at, ‘Well, when we get bad news, but there's a chance that we can do something, even if it's challenging that we should really talk about and not just drive that news away’.

ASTRID: As an adult reading this, I saw myself in the narrative and I mean that as a really high compliment, I don't always read kids' books and have any response to them whatsoever. In The Giant and the Sea, in passing, there is a mayor, there is a businessmen, there is mention of newspapers, there is a machine, and there is the rising sea. And when I think about just those little tiny aspects of the narrative, that kind of feels like, as an adult, the world that I am living in.

There are newspapers, and there is a rising sea, and there are business people, and I'm not really on board with anything that is happening outside the walls of my home. There's one particular page that, every time I go back and read it, Trent, I don't actually tear up, but my chest constricts. And you might be able to guess which page this is, but I'm going to read it to you.

TRENT: Okay.

ASTRID: “Then the Giant's hand reached through the girl's window and picked her and her parents up. The giant rescued as many as she could. Water rushed around below them, but up on the giant's shoulders, they were safe. The girl pointed at the people protecting the machine. ‘I cannot help them’. The giant said, ‘Now, hold on’.”

Trent, I keep thinking about the girl, the young girl pointing at the people protecting the machine, and the giant not being able to help them. And I want to know what my niece thinks of this line. You said before that you go dark, you do go dark, but in this beautiful light way. How do you balance that for a kid?

TRENT: I think you just have to be as honest as you can be. This is a fantasy story about giant and a girl, but it's also about our world. And I think all you can do is be honest to how you feel about that particular situation. It's a moment of compassion, but also an inability to actually save those people, as well. And I didn't want it to be something that was cruel, but it's there. And because this is about climate change, it is about loss and transition.

And there was a line that we ended up cutting out on the next page where they go to the new place. But initially, and I'm glad we cut it out because it was sort of hammering it too hard. But it was like, they found this new place and they rebuilt, but it was never quite the same, and that's it. This is where writing about climate change is such a challenge because it's something that is multi-generational. It's something that, if we changed everything now, we're still going to have to live with the consequences of it. And that is very hard to deal with, imaginatively.

And I was actually just reading James Bradley's Ghost Species a couple of weeks ago, and I know you had him on here, and I think that really does show that kind of multi-generational shift and how hard it is to comprehend that. And I think with a picture book, it is a dark topic, but our children are going to grow up into this world. And no matter what we say, it's not going to get better, and it probably won't get better for their lifetime. But we need to have this sort of understanding that what we do now has long-term ramifications.

And one of the things I think that actually heartens me at the moment is, in the main people's response to COVID-19, we all got together by not getting together. We all looked out for each other and I feel like the only way that we're going to deal with climate change is sort of evidence-based stuff. Where we, as a community, come together and realise that it's going to be hard and there's going to be real challenges, and they're going to be deep losses, but it's the long-term thing that we're looking at. We have to start changing the way, and I feel like this is my anti-capitalist book, I guess, as well. Which, it's kind of weird trying to sell a book that is kind of anti-capitalism, too. But as a community, we need to start looking at de-centering the individual and actually looking at our role as caretakers and creators is rather than consumers, I guess.

ASTRID: I don't normally interview writers of children's fiction on The Garret, but everything about The Giant and the Sea struck me from the cover art, to the name, to the words in the story, Trent. And it actually reminded me of Cicada by Shaun Tan.

TRENT: I love that book.

ASTRID: Everyone should love that book. I hope that becomes a classic. And I hope The Giant and the Sea becomes a classic because it reaches out and says so many things to a young person, and to the adults reading it to the young person, with images and words. And I should say, for anyone listening, you mentioned the one conversation before, this is a conversation starter with a child. It's not didactic, it's not telling a child that something is worthy and it should be considered, et cetera. It just opens up the world that they may find themselves in. And of course, next to your words are the illustrations. Now the illustrations are done by Rovina Cai. Can you tell me about having an award-winning illustrator work with you on your story and bring your words to life?

TRENT: It was absolutely amazing, I've not really had that experience. Though, to be honest, my first short story was illustrated by Shaun Tan back in 1994. So, I'll always have that. I have actually met Shaun at Worldcon in 2010 and he'd remember that story. And I was kind of trying to angle to see if he still had it somewhere. And his dad really likes it and has it on his wall. So, I wasn't going to get that. But Ravina is just an amazing artist, and I couldn't have asked for a better illustrator for this book. Because there's a lot of space in the book, and then she fills it with this very spacious flowing artwork that just blows me away every time I look at it. And I still can't quite believe that this book exists, and that it is so absolutely beautiful.

It is a collaboration, but it was really not a collaboration between the two of us, it was a collaboration between the words on the page and her art. So, we didn't really get together and plan it or anything like that. I just saw the pictures as they came. The moment I started seeing some of the initial stuff, it just took my breath away. It felt like the words and the pictures really work so well together, they sing to each other.

ASTRID: They do. That's a beautiful way to describe it. They are all in kind of this, I'm no artist, but they're in this muted palette of greys and greens, and it feels both beautiful and calming, but also, ‘End of the world is nigh’. type thing. And to have those two different concepts on the page at the same time, it's quite an achievement. Trent, you work in a bookstore and I had no doubt that you have come across lots of kids and adults who are looking for stories. What is that thing, that indescribable thing, that catches a kid's attention?

TRENT: Oh, I really, really wish I knew. I think every child is different. So, I don't know if there's a universal thing. Because, as a bookseller, I actually don't believe that. In a way, I feel like our industry is very, ‘This is the book of the moment, and everyone should be engaged with that book’. Whereas, it's like singling out one raindrop that's falling. The whole industry is a storm. As a bookseller, your job is actually to find the book that talks to that particular person. And I have to say, I work at Avid, which is the adult part of the bookstore, not Where the Wild Things Are. So, having this book come out, it actually kind of terrified me because it's a different type of conversation. And I know what I respond to, in a children's book, but I'm not a child, and I can't pretend to be one.

I know that changes as a child ages as well. My daughter, at the moment, is really into The Bum Book. So, maybe that's the thing, the bum is the thing that connects. It's the perfect conversation point. But yeah, I don't know. So, I feel like really, in regards to selling books, it's about connecting the right book at the right time to the right reader. And that's a big responsibility and you have to take it very seriously, and particularly with children's books.

I feel like adults are a little bit more, we tend to move in a crowd, so you tend to get those massive sellers, and everybody wants that book. But, as a bookseller, I still have to believe that all the other books that we, you know, we don't have 20 copies or we've got two or three, there's a worth and a reader there. And it's our job to kind of find that reader when they come in and go, ‘Well, I want to read a book’. You have to kind of dig and find that the right fit. And that's why I love book selling. I've been doing it for 25 years now, I think. And it's the thing that keeps me going. And I know with COVID, when we actually started to not have customers in the store, we've got them back in and in small numbers. But it was actually so exhausting because we didn't have that engagement. So, people wanted something, but they knew what they wanted and you didn't get that wonderful dialogue you have. And I feel like any book can be the perfect book for somebody, it's just who that person is and what that book is. So, it's a weird relationship that reader/book thing.

ASTRID: As a voracious reader, sometimes I walk into a good bookstore and the person who is working there and talks to me about books, or what's come in, or something that's the one copy on the shelf that they think I might like, they are some of the most beautiful conversations I've ever had. I spent my university years selling books, and that is still the greatest job I've ever had. And the last 20 years, honestly, haven't hit those heights of enjoyment for me. So, thank you.

TRENT: Oh, you're welcome. It's an addictive job. It doesn't pay that well, but it's the people that you work with because we're all big readers and we all read different things. I tend to be more of a science fiction/fantasy reader, but then you have some really kind of high-end literary readers there, as well. It's all these different voices.

And what I love, even if it's a book I'm never going to read, is actually asking someone at work, ‘Well, what are you reading at the moment?’ And just hearing them talk about it because we all love books. And quite often I feel like bookselling, at the moment, because a lot of it somebody might have read online, seen in an Instagram shot. And that's all great, but it doesn't get to the meat of it. It doesn't get to the words and the rhythm and just the actual joy of falling into a book. You can't recreate that with a photograph. I'd like to think that I'm just going to keep selling books as long as there are bookstores and somebody is happy to employ me, because I can be a bit vague. Yeah. It's just the best job.

ASTRID: I think all booksellers can be a bit vague. I am one of those people who reads both literary fiction and genre fiction. On The Garret, I guess mostly it's literary fiction, but my first love will always be fantasy and speculative fiction, and I am really thrilled to be able to talk to you about Day Boy. I adored the book. I am so happy that you think there might be a sequel. You said it was called The Stone Road, the sequel?

TRENT: The Stone Road. Yes.

ASTRID: And how far along are you in that writing process?

TRENT: I have a draft. This is when we can talk about the business of writing. Text haven't taken it up because Day Boy didn't quite sell as well as they would've liked. So, it's a little bit of an orphaned book at the moment. There might be something happening, but I can't really say. I see it as a bookend to Day Boy, and it was one of those books that when I was writing it, later on in the year or next year, depending on what COVID does, I'm doing a workshop called, You Will Fail: The Business of Writing. And that book is sort of illustrative of that.

Day Boy really consumed a lot of my time when I was writing it. The Stone Road, it just wiped out the last four years of my writing life, I think. I just couldn't get it right. And I think I actually have a draught that does, now. So, hopefully you might get a chance to read it at some point down the track. But I know it was such a struggle because I wanted it to have a conversation with Day Boy, and it's about mothers and daughters and grandmothers.

So, I wanted a book that balanced it because Day Boy is a very blokey book. And I don't consider myself particularly blokey, but I felt like there was another side to that world that I wanted to write about. Day Boy is very much about the 1 per cent, as the vampires are like billionaires, basically. They're that very top of society and very predatory, and I was writing about a world where, what happens if everything's super masculine in a way, and nothing's particularly evenly distributed, and your rulers actually eat you.

So, yet again, I was writing about capitalism. But this other, I wanted to look at a different part of that world where there aren't vampires fighting monsters, and it's left up to the people because they're regarded as not at all valuable. I wanted to look at the relationships between mothers and daughters and grandmothers. I'm kind of rambling on about this book that may or may not find a home. I think it's one of those things that I got a lot from writing it. So, if it's never published, I'll feel a bit sad. I'll probably just publish it myself. But still, I learnt a lot.

ASTRID: It's interesting what you said, it didn't sell well enough for Text to want to take the next one that comes from it. And yet, Day Boy won the Aurealis Award. I adore the books that are shortlisted and that come out of the Aurealis Awards. I have judged that awards in various categories for three years. It's the height of fantasy and science fiction and speculative fiction writing in Australia. I hope that your work does see the light of day, because I will be reading it.

But I wanted to ask you, I am obviously a genre reader and I adore it. And when I read Day Boy with a critical eye, within the first page, I knew I was in some kind of fantasy world. And yet there wasn't anything that would show a reader what type of world that I was going into. And I want to ask, how do you do that as a writer? How do you create that feel of genre, that feel of, ‘It's not our world’. Without putting a dragon on the front cover or something?

TRENT: I don't know. I feel like, partly, it's because my love is genre fiction and fantasy. And I feel like that's the world when I write, that's the world I inhabit. So, then it becomes a kind of a trajectory. It's how you kick off a story without all that exposition, and I don't particularly like exposition. So, I don't know. I think there's a kind of a rhythm to that story. It's slightly mannered, and I was really trying to create, because it's such a voice novel as well. But it's not a contemporary voice, but it's not a historical voice, either. So, I think all those kinds of things come into play.

At Text, Mandy Brett, my editor just pushed me really hard, which I love. So, I feel like that is also thanks to her. If we talk about the book, when I submitted it, the first chapter was actually the third chapter. So, I added all that stuff and I wanted a book because it was so much about fighting and the kind of the pointlessness of it all, with the bravado. We initially started where he, it's been a while since I've looked at that book, but when the hunter captures him in the creek, and that was the point. Mandy said, ‘But that makes him too sympathetic a character because he's under threat and you're worried about him initially’.

And so, I went, ‘Well, maybe what we'll do is we'll have him have a fight’. And so, I just wanted this book that sang ridiculous bravado, initially. Whether or not, I guess if I've sold it straight up as being a fantasy, as being not of this world, I think it's just because that's pretty much every story I ever write is fantastical.

And I'm not a realist writer. Every time I try, the books very quickly become strange. And yeah, I don't know. So, I wish I could give a definite series of cues that you can give the reader, but I think it changes from book to book, as well. I like books that are fantastical, but start off as though they're not, and then slowly shift as well. So, it's kind of a perspective thing. But I feel like with this one, yeah, you're right. I definitely didn't want it to feel like it was our world.

ASTRID: It's not our world, but a close reading of the work tells me that that is a vampire novel set in Australia's future. I mean, at some point there was mentioned of an echidna, and eating kangaroo meat, and there's the Great Dividing Range, and it's very subtly done. And it's kind of immaterial where this book is set, but that did intrigue me. I don't think I've ever read, essentially, a retelling of a vampire myth set in Australia's future.

TRENT: Well, it's definitely Australia. It's based on the town that I grew up in, called Gunedah, which is out near Tamworth. And so, it's not too far from the Border Ranges and it's not too far inland, but it is an Australia that's shifted. And in The Stone Road, I kind of look at a bit more of that and what actually had happened. Because in this one, they all tell stories about how the vampires came about, but I've always liked the idea of magical transition that's slightly environmental, as well. And with The Stone Road, they have this thing called the Years of Heat and Sadness. This is post all that, where things are starting to establish themselves. But yeah, I really also just wanted to write a book that had vampires in it, but was very Australian as well.

ASTRID: Oh, totally. Look, I love a good vampire story. I really, really do. I adore vampire fiction. I have my favourites, and I'm interested in how you approach what is a really well-known myth, but how you make it new and fresh and different.

TRENT: Well, I think what I wanted to do with that, so I'll give you the genesis. Because it actually came out as a short story first, which was shortlisted for an Aurealis Award, as well. But I had this image of these kids flicking cigarette butts at a crypt, and I thought, ‘What are they doing there?’ And then I realised that it was a vampire's crypt and they actually worked for the vampire. And then I thought, ‘Well, I'm going to write a vampire story. I don't know if I can do it from the perspective of a vampire’.

It's always more interesting to do it from a position of less power. So, I thought just taking the focus away from the vampire and onto the children that work for them, and what kind of culture that they would create. So, I think that was the way that I could do it because the vampires themselves are fairly traditional vampires. I kind of saw them a little bit, as I'm a huge Le Guin fan, and I thought my vampires as kind of like the equivalent of her dragons in a way, but a little bit less, I guess, a little less grey. They're certainly blacker than the dragons.

But I think if you're going to tell a story about vampires, sometimes it's nice not to centre it on the vampire and just to have a look at the culture that might exist around them and then sort of play around with that. And I guess that's the same with The Giant and the Sea in a way, because it's not focused on the giant, it's focused on the child. And you kind of need that smaller point of view that is looking at the world and uncovering it. Whereas, if I had the vampires, they knew everything. It would have been a very different story.

ASTRID: Oh, of course. I mean the allure I have, why I enjoy vampire fiction so much, is not about the vampires. It's the fact that if you have these immortal creatures, that poses questions about being alive and what it means to die and what it means to be human. And they're some of the most fundamental questions that we can consider in literature, and that's the allure, and that's what you do in The Giant and the Sea in a very different way. What does it mean to be alive? And what does it mean to live on this planet that maybe isn't doing so well at this point in time?

TRENT: Absolutely. And I think both of them kind of are also about adults failing children, really. In The Giant and the Sea, I keep thinking about it because I think I've just read it too many times now, but her parents go, ‘Oh, go off to the city’. And it's like, ‘Where are they?’ I would like to think that I wouldn't palm it off to my children. So yes, that's me just being hyper-critical of my work.

ASTRID: No, I think that's a kind of a comment on what we've all done as adults. I mean, you and I are of a certain age. Neither one of us is particularly old. And yet, I don't know, our generation is looking at a 17-year-old climate activist from Sweden to save us all, apparently.

TRENT: Absolutely. And that's the thing, we need to stop looking at other people to solve our problems because we're all flawed. So, it's only as a community that things are going to be resolved and improved. And that means everyone coming together, and not looking for somebody to solve our problems. And thinking back to Day Boy, with the vampires too, I really wanted to look at hunger as well. That's very much the driving element of their culture, is consumption.

I think vampires are very good at being that it's not just about... Because, in a way, vampires are kind of like Tolkien's elves, they live forever, and time is different to them. But the elves aren't constantly craving human blood. So, you kind of have this other element that comes into play, and having a culture that eats from the top down and it's not fairly distributed is kind of a good way of writing a fun, slightly adventurous story that is also about now.

ASTRID: Talking about now, you are a bookseller and we've already briefly touched on Avid Reader in Brisbane. Our industry writing, publishing, book selling has taken a hit, like so much of the planet in the last couple of months. What have you noticed that is happening, the good and the bad?

TRENT: Okay. Well, I think my perspective working at an independent bookstore is that well, people have migrated online a lot, and we've been dependent on that. But I think every indie bookstore is so grateful, because most of us are actually doing better. We've had some very, very big, big weeks. But it's also so exhausting. We're not warehouses. And it's almost like this is forcing a kind of a business model that is more warehouse driven, and more about stock control rather than selling books. What it does tend to do is books kind of get missed. And I feel too, looking at publishing, everything has been pushed back to September now. So, there's going to be this massive release period where no bookstore is going to have enough money to do justice, to all those books, to keep the right stock level in. I feel like it's kind of tipped everything.

It's ridiculous to complain about it, in that no one was expecting this to happen this year, or to see the impact that it's had. I feel like at the moment, there's been a lot more people reading, we're getting a lot of online interest, slowly going mad, but now customers are coming back in, which is nice. But then again, they're not social distancing all the time. That's a bit panic inducing. But I feel like we've seen a lot of sudden dramatic changes, but it's what's going to happen over the next 12 months that's going to be interesting and a little bit scary. Just a lot of arts organisations have no funding now, authors have lost a lot of income from being able to go to festivals. The thing is, I can only really talk for myself, but actually a lot of authors I know too, in a way that's kind of a relief because you don't have to get up and talk.

But it's also, this year for me income wise was going to be probably pretty good, and it's been a few lean years and suddenly that's all gone. You still have to pay your bills. And so, I feel like a lot of authors are really struggling. You don't have to have a massive cut in income for it to be a massive cut in income when you're a writer. So yeah, I feel actually very lucky that I have work. It's made it all a little bit distant. But you can see it just in the shop and the stock that we're moving. I was actually starting to panic a bit because we weren't getting customers in because you have all these books that you don't have a lot of copies of, but people aren't seeing because they're not coming in to have a look. And it's very hard to do that hand selling. So, I feel like we are going to have a few lean years, but hopefully it will turn around as well. Bookstores are certainly surviving.

ASTRID: That is music to my ears. I don't think books will ever go out of fashion. But I'm interested, what is selling now? And you've obviously just alluded to the fact that the obvious things are selling and those books, maybe all the books that are regular sellers that you keep in stock, but only one or two and you hand sell them, aren't selling because no one knows to ask for them. Where are people turning?

TRENT: Okay. Well, obviously classics, people are chasing after those. Books like Phosphorescence by Julia Baird. I think books that are really talking to the moment are selling well. In Brisbane, a lot of local stuff, things like the Brisbane Line. So, those big titles still are. New releases are still going, we're selling a bit of the new N.K. Jemisin, it's called The City We Became. So, yeah. I feel like people are actually turning a lot to fiction, as well.

ASTRID: So, more fiction than non-fiction?

TRENT: I think so. Except for Phosphorescence, which has been massive, and Dark Emu is still selling. So, that has been one of our biggest selling books. Obviously, an author like Trent Dalton, we're still selling Boy Swallows Universe. So, he's got a new one coming out, which was going to be in a month or two, in September. I can't say what has been selling in kids' books as much, because I've not really crossed it, except for the Bluey books, which have been massive as well.

ASTRID: Bluey. Can't go past Bluey at this point. Trent, it has been wonderful. I really do recommend The Giant and the Sea for anyone with a little kid in their life. I think it's a beautiful thing to share with them. So, thank you for writing it. Congratulations for somehow managing to release it during a pandemic. And I can't wait to read the sequel to Day Boy.

TRENT: Oh, thank you so much, Astrid. Thanks for having me.