Woo hoo! There’s a brand new graphic novel in town featuring an unlikely secret agent and his loyal sidekick. Make sure you read my Q&A with author, Mo O’Hara to find out more about the inspiration behind Agent Moose and the process behind writing a graphic novel.
Agent Moose, the best (worst) secret agent in the Big Forest, and his slightly-more-intelligent sidekick Owlfred are on the case in this new full color graphic novel chapter book series from Mo O’Hara, author of My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish, illustrated by Jess Bradley!
Something fishy is going on at the South Shore. Folks just disappear and are never seen again. But when Agent Moose learns that a key witness has gone missing, he and Owlfred ride to the rescue. Will they find the missing turtle before time runs out?
Q&A with Mo O’Hara
1. How did you come up with the idea for Agent Moose?
It’s funny how an idea comes together. Agent Moose started with a typo. My agent messaged me saying that she had typed ‘Anonymouse’ instead of ‘Anonymous and thought it was funny. I liked the idea of a character named Anonymouse. (He was a mouse who was a master of disguise.) I wrote a few chapters of a story about him and some dialogue to try and find his voice and bits of background, but it just wasn’t working. I put it away for a few months and worked on something else. When I came back to it, I realised it wasn’t funny because the idea of a mouse that can disguise himself and hide isn’t that hard to imagine. There could be a mouse in any room you go into, and you probably would never notice. Then I thought…. What if there was a MOOSE who could disguise himself as anything and hide in plain sight? And what if he was named Anonymoose? Somehow a huge 7ft tall furry moose that you can’t see is a lot funnier than a 3-inch mouse. So, Anonymoose was born.
2. What was the best part about writing Agent Moose?
The best part is coming up with the most ridiculous disguises for Agent Moose. It is sooooo much fun! And it is working with a talented team and with the fantastic Jess Bradley!3. What was the most challenging part about writing Agent Moose?
The most challenging part is to write the words while thinking of the graphic novel as a story being told in pictures. It’s a challenge to make each word countbecause you have to keep the word count low. And you need to make the action move everything along while holding back something so the mystery isn’t solved until the end. It’s a balancing act.
4. What’s it like writing a graphic novel compared to writing a traditional book?
Writing a book is a collaborative process really. You work with the editor and there may be an illustrator who illustrates a couple of moments in each chapter. But in a graphic novel there is so much more collaboration. The illustrator, editor and art director really craft the bookwith you so that the storytelling is balanced between word and pictures. I have learned so much about story making from working on these graphic novels.
5. What do you like about writing for children in particular?
I think writing for kids is just genuinely more rewarding that writing for adults. Kids are really direct in theiropinion. So, making kids laugh is great because it’s anhonest reaction to whatever you wrote or said. I love performing as well. Doing author visits for kids at festivals or in schools is a wonderful way to connect to my readers and to actually get the buzz from hearing the kids laugh. 😊 That’s what I’ve really missed during the lockdowns- getting out and meeting my readers.
6. Can you tell us a little bit about the sequel that’s coming out in July?
The second book is called Agent Moose- Moose on a Mission. Agent Moose and Owlfred and their friends are back but there are some additions to the cast. 😊 Agent Moose’s Granny comes to visit, the circus is coming to town and someone or something is putting the squeeze on the residents of Big Forest. I loved setting some of the scenes in the circus! And I had fun coming up with the guest villain in this book too. Jess Bradley’s illustrations are laugh out loud funny once again and watch out for some weird and wonderful moose disguises this time!
I absolutely loved reading this! Packed with excellent puns, suitably dastardly villains, and a whole host of other hilarious characters, this book would be a great choice for anyone just starting out on their graphic novel journey. My eight-year-old particularly liked the parrots and my 12-year-old groaned at the jokes. Perfect.
The brilliant illustrations obviously add a whole other layer to the story, with plenty of extra clues to be spotted and jokes to be enjoyed. I cannot wait to read ‘Moose on a Mission’ in the Summer!
*Many thanks to Scholastic for inviting me to be a part of this blog tour*