This week we are DELIGHTED to have been chatting with Jordan Kopy, writer of Theodora Hendrix and the Monstrous League of Monsters. You can read a review of this brilliant book here, or stick around and read about the importance of showing up and why we all need to celebrate the things that make us all unique. Enjoy these ten questions with Jordan Kopy!
Why did you start writing/illustrating books for children?
I am a huge, lifelong fan of children’s literature, so when I thought I’d try my hand at writing, it seemed only fitting that I would write for children. Growing up, I loved escaping into stories that transported me to far-off places, that helped me to explore different cultures and, most importantly, that entertained me; I’ve always felt there’s a sort of magic in children’s stories, and I wanted to be a part of that!
How did you get your book out into the world?
It’s been quite the journey! I spent a long time honing my craft; I’d been writing for 7 years before I felt my work was strong enough to put out into the world. Then I did a ton of research on how to get a literary agent, scouring informative (and free!) resources like Writer’s Digest and Query Shark. Finally, I began querying agents, signing with the Madeleine Milburn Literary, Film & TV Agency 6 weeks after I began my search. 6 months later, I signed a 3-book deal with Walker Books. Since then, Theodora Hendrix and the Monstrous League of Monsters has been released in multiple formats in the UK & Australia (Walker Books) and Spain (Roca Editorial), and is coming soon to the US & Canada (Simon & Schuster, July 2022). It’s taken many years of hard work to get my book out into the world. But what a wonderful ride it’s been!
Why did you write this book?
Why did you want to illustrate this story? I don’t know that I had a particular reason for writing Theodora Hendrix and the Monstrous League of Monsters, so much as that this was the story which popped into my head, so this was the one which I wrote!
Do you relate to any characters in your stories – which ones and in what way?
Definitely! I think I probably relate most to Theodora. Growing up, I was a bit of a misfit, so I certainly relate to Theodora. And like Theodora, I’m also independently minded. I’m more than a little stubborn and not a fan of rules for rules’ sake. Plus, pizza is my favorite food!
What’s your favourite book and why?
Oh, that’s a tough one. I don’t know that I have a favourite per se (I have loved different books at various points in my life: The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, Matilda by Roald Dahl, Shabanu, and Daughter of the Wind by Suzanne Fisher Staples all come to mind), but I find myself returning to the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling again and again. So, I’d have to say Harry Potter!
What did you want to be when you grew up?
What do you want children to get from your books?
I primarily hope that children reading my books walk away feeling entertained. Reading joyful books can help foster a life-long love of reading. I hope to be a part of that journey for as many children as possible. I also hope children walk away from my books with a deeper understanding of how important it is to recognize and appreciate those traits which make each of us unique. And to celebrate these differences; the world would be a very boring place indeed if everyone was the same!
Best advice you’ve ever been given?
“Just show up”. My late drama teacher, Mr Robert Sloat, used to say that at the start of rehearsals. What he meant was that if you’re feeling tired, or doubting yourself, you’ve got to “show up” anyway. Go to that rehearsal, play in that football match, pick up that pen and start writing. If you can do that, then you’ve already done the hardest part. You’re one step closer to accomplishing whatever goal you’ve set for yourself.
Finish this sentence for us…Reading from diverse bookshelves…
is SO important! When we read books that expand and challenge our individual worldviews, we open ourselves up to new ideas, new perspectives and new values which can help us not only to better understand the world and the people in it, but to better understand ourselves. How cool is that?!
A message to readers of your book?
Readers, I truly hope you enjoy Theodora Hendrix and the Monstrous League of Monsters! If you want to see what Theodora gets up to on her next adventure, you can check out the second book in the series, Theodora Hendrix and the Curious Case of the Cursed Beetle, this October. If you have any thoughts or questions you’d like to share with me, or if you’d like to arrange a school visit, you can write to me at [email protected]. Happy reading!