Ep 338 Meet Gus Gordon, author and illustrator of ‘Finding Francois’.

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In Episode 338 of So You Want To Be A Writer: You'll meet Gus Gordon, author and illustrator of Finding Francois. Discover who is a plotter and who is a pantser. Plus, we have 3 copies of The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner to give away.

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Show Notes

Should I plan my novel? 20 authors tell us how they get it done

Writer in Residence

Gus Gordon

Gus Gordon is an internationally acclaimed illustrator and author. He has illustrated and written over 80 books for children. His illustrations are known for their loose and energetic line work, mixed media and humour. His writing is always anthropomorphic. He attributes this to his love of Kenneth Grahame's Wind in The Willows.
Gus's first picture book, Wendy, was a Notable Book in the 2010 Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Picture Book of the Year Awards.

His second picture book, Herman and Rosie, now published in twelve countries, has been internationally acclaimed and awarded.

Somewhere Else was published by Penguin Random House Australia in 2016 and has won many awards internationally, including a 2017 CBCA Notable book and 2017 book of the year for 5-8 year olds in the Speech Pathology book awards in Australia.

His latest book is Finding Francois.

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Interview Transcript

Allison

Gus Gordon is an internationally acclaimed illustrator and author. He has illustrated and written over 80 books for children. He was asked to illustrate his first book in 1996 and illustrated many books for other writers before his first written and illustrated by Gus Gordon picture book Wendy about a motorcycle-riding stunt chicken was a notable book in 2010 Children's Book Council of Australia Picture Book of the Year awards. Since then, Gus has won many awards for illustration and for his own picture books. His latest picture book Finding Francois is out now. Welcome to the program, Gus.

Gus

Thank you for having me, Allison.

Allison

So, we're going to cast our minds back into the realms of time to 1996 and that first illustration work that you were offered. What were you doing at the time and what was your response when someone said, “Can you illustrate this book for me?”

Gus

Back then, when I first started out, I was essentially a cartoonist doing whatever I could to make ends meet drawing pictures. So I was doing stuff for magazines and newspapers, but it was pretty slim pickings. And I really just wanted to do whatever I could to make a living drawing at that stage.

And so I was drawing these cartoons and a good friend of mine, fella called Mark David, who was a pretty prolific gun for hire, I guess, illustrator for many publishers, he had to pull out from illustrating a book, and he recommended me to fill in and do the job. Now, I back then I really hadn't thought much about children's books for a long time. You know, I was 24. And I really had not thought about children's books for years and years. And the idea of it seemed quite alien, but I thought I'd give it a crack.

And so the book was an educational book and it was a series called Supa Doopers by I think back then they were called Pearson Longman*, I think, before Penguin acquired them. Anyway, the book was called The Trouble With Parents by Dianne Bates. And they asked me if I could illustrate the first chapter, just to have a look what I did.

And pretty much straight from the beginning, I realised that, wow, this is actually really fun. And I really liked the way the words and the pictures work together. And I can sort of, even from the very first book, I realised I could tell, I could be a bit daring and I could sort of have my own little narrative going on.

And so from the very outset, and thankfully, I got the job, although looking back at my work back then I don't know why they employed me. Because, you know, it was pretty early days. But the thing that for me that still stands out to this day was the idea that I could read the text and then it was basically up to me, I had all this power that I could, was my interpretation of the story. Which I still think is an incredible honour that we're given, and it's a privilege to be able to do. So that's where it first began.

Allison

All right, so let's talk a little bit about that. Because you spent many years illustrating the writing of other people. What is your process? Like you said that you can create your own narrative within the narrative. Do you enjoy that collaborative process and the ability to, as you say, interpret the text as you can, should, choose?

Gus

Ah, yes. And I think… I think the more autonomy the illustrator gets, once they've received the manuscript, the better. In the early days, that wasn't necessarily the case. You were given often quite a descriptive brief about what they were thinking of about the story. There was still wriggle room for doing something interesting. But those early days, there was sort of a list of things that they had.

But I've found, from the get-go, from the early days, you know, it was kind of a weird experience because I'd get this manuscript, and I was doing probably illustrating maybe eight to 10 books a year. That's how many I was doing. And they were all chapter books. And so I'd get the manuscript and I'd write a tonne of notes. Of course, I had no communication with the author. That was very much frowned upon back then.

Allison

Wow.

Gus

And it was just really up to me to then come up with the characters, how they looked. Sometimes the publisher asked for character sketches initially so that they could approve them and so that they were happy for me to then go ahead and do the final illustrations. But they were pretty quick, quick dash things that I would… I hesitate to say ‘pump out' because that's disrespectful of the work. But I did them and I had to do them in pretty quick fashion and they were mostly black and white drawings. And sometimes a bit of ink wash as well. So just a little bit of black ink, as well. They were pretty quick they were on the market very fast.

Allison

Right, okay. So these days, are things different? Like in a sense of if you work with an author these days, if you're illustrating someone else's work, is it much more of a collaborative process now?

Gus

It's not really.

Allison

Okay.

Gus

Having said that, it really depends on the publisher and who you're working with. Some publishers, I find, don't mind if you get in touch with the author and ask them… Often the specific things that I need to know or perhaps it's just a feel or a general tone of the story, or might be something quite specific to the actual narrative.

But I find that in the US more than Australia, they really do not want you to work with the author. In Australia, just for the fact that I've been around for so long, I tend to know the author anyway. And so I get in touch with them invariably, just to ask them a few questions. But otherwise, I'd actually prefer just to have the experience by myself in my own headspace working to figure out what I can bring to the story myself. Yeah.

Allison

So do you have, as an illustrator, obviously, who's worked with a lot of different people, do you have some tips for authors when it comes to working with illustrators? Like, is it: let the illustrator to do? Is that the tip?

Gus

I think that's the main one, Allison, yeah. I think, allow the illustrator to bring their thoughts to the story. And that's, I've always thought of that, that's a pretty gutsy call and it's kind of a brave thing for the author to do. Because, you know, they're basically putting up their hands and going, “right, here's my baby. Now, it's your turn to do what you do.” And there's a lot of trust there.

But of course, that's what the publisher does. The publisher picks an illustrator they think is going to best bring the story to life, an illustrator that's going to suit what the story is all about. And actually by and large, I have to say publishers do a pretty good job of matching the author and the illustrator up together. Hmm.

Allison

Okay. So let's talk about your own picture books because, you know, having done this for quite some time, you then decided it was kind of time to create your own stories. What brought you to that decision?

Gus

I think after doing so many stories… The first thing really is that I just, I really wanted to do picture books. I wanted to do nice big picture books. But because I'd done so many chapter books, you know, gosh, I'd done over 70 by that stage, people couldn't see me as a picture book illustrator. They could only see me as that guy that you hire to do a very quick chapter book.

But yeah, I just really desperately wanted to be a picture book illustrator at that point. But also too, I felt I was being pigeonholed into certain types of stories and boys stories, especially about, you know, gross things. And that was really trendy at the time and, you know, and that's fine, but I really wasn't doing the stories that I wanted to do.

And it came to a point where I just thought, “Stuff this, I'm gonna write them myself.” And I sort of believed enough, and maybe this is a good thing about being naive, in my writing ability to bring something to the table. And I'd always written. You know, I'd never stopped writing. I'd always written poetry and stories. And English was a really passionate subject. I was a big reader, I still am a big reader.

So I sort of felt I knew how story worked. But it was another thing all together to be able to begin actually putting story together and working out structure and all that sort of stuff, which I sort of worked out very naively as I went along.

Allison

Well, that was gonna be a question for you, because you had worked on so many stories at that stage. You know, I wondered whether or not you were able to, as you said, and also you're a big reader, you liked writing stories, was it a steep learning curve for you to actually create that story?

Gus

Yes and no. It was a steep learning curve trying to figure out how picture books work and the cadence and the rhythm, and how important every single word was, and all these little things like that. But on the flip side, I learnt really fast and I just embraced everything I could. And I read and I bought lots of picture books and I still have them on my shelf. And I just sort of ate it all up. And I just found a way to do it.

And I had good mentors too, good help. I took Wendy in the early stages to Laura Harris, who I knew just through being an illustrator. And she was a big believer in what the story and these characters that I had, especially this Wendy, and she gave me a development contract so that I wouldn't take it elsewhere. And so then she gave me sort of six months to work on this book, on Wendy. This farcical story about a motorcycle-riding chicken. And when I think back, I think, “what was I thinking?” But I guess, you know, it all makes sense looking back, doesn't it?

But yeah, for some reason she believed enough in it. And then we took it to the next stage and I was lucky enough to work with a good editor who I pretty much had all the way through, Katrina Lehman. She was Katrina Webb. So yeah, that was really fortunate, I think, stumbling upon Penguin and Laura. And a good editor, of course, as you know, is just invaluable

Allison

Was Wendy the first one that you'd ever tried? Was it the first picture book manuscript that you'd ever written? Or had you tried other things prior to Wendy?

Gus

No, it pretty much was the first. While I was doing Wendy and trying to figure it out, I came up with another little idea. And Penguin were doing a small picture book, I'm just trying to remember what it was called, I think it was called Puffin Baby, a series called Puffin Baby. And I wrote a quick story about a dog called Noodles. And it was called A Day With Noodles. And it was really just about this dog's day. And they published it and then they canned the series straightaway.

Allison

Oh!

Gus

Even though the book had sold…

Allison

Do you feel responsible?

Gus

I think that's why the… It was basically because of my book. Everyone could see it was just not up to scratch. But no, anyway, so that just came out before Wendy and then Wendy quickly followed after that.

Allison

Okay. So your official bio, which of course I have read in the lead up to this interview, says that your writing is always an anthropomorphic… I can't even say it.

Gus

Anthropomorphic.

Allison

Thank you. And that you attribute this to your love of Kenneth Graham's Wind in the Willows. Can you tell us a little bit more about that? Like, why are your characters always animals?

Gus

It's a good question. I was really attracted to those sorts of books as a child. When, you know, like Wind in the Willows, fantastic story and still is an amazing story, works on lots of different levels. But I really liked the idea of these characters Badger and Toad and Rat by the river. And there's something about putting characters in animal form that sweetens the deal. It's almost like cheating in some ways.

I sort of see it, like, you've already got a little bit of a head start with children before the narrative even starts to roll. And you have these animals and you can sort of get away with a lot more. I find that even quite dark and – not that I do a lot of dark stuff with mine – but even quite sort of being controversial, or perhaps things that kids might find a little bit startling, with an animal, if an animal is in that role as that character, it does seem to make a little bit more palatable for the reader.

And the other thing is, I just loved animals too. I grew up on a farm so I was close to animals. And I love animal books. Richard Scarry, do you remember Richard Scarry?

Allison

Yes. I loved Richard Scarry.

Gus

Yea, and I still love Richard Scarry. In fact, I've got a… Here is a Richard Scarry book about his life. I still find his stuff really great. There's something about his pigs driving cement trucks and foxes driving buses and there was so much going on. And because I liked drawing animals as well, it just seemed quite a natural thing for me to pick up.

And I really like to try and match that character's personality to an appropriately suitable animal. And quite often, I'm not sure exactly why I pick an animal. So often it's not a stereotype. So obviously with Herman and Rosie, a book I did later, Herman is a crocodile. And I ask kids this when I go to schools, what would you normally attribute, what sort of personality would you attribute to a crocodile? Typically, and they, you know, they say, “Well, you know, probably aggressive and angry and scary” and words like that. But in actual fact, in the story, Herman is meek and shy and conservative and dorky. He's the opposite. So it doesn't, stereotypes often aren't necessarily the best way to go. And I don't really know why, how that works. I'm still trying, I'm still fascinated.

Maybe perhaps when you put clothes on animals, that can help bring them to life in certain ways and help shape their personalities. But it's not always the stereotypes that we think, like the fox being cunning and that sort of thing. It's more than not the character finds me, rather than me find the character, which is probably a very strange thing to say and good thing I work by myself.

Allison

We're all like that.

Gus

Yes, I know.

Allison

It is an interesting question, though. Because this notion of why Wendy's a chicken and why Francois, who we're gonna talk about in a minute, is a pig and all those sorts of things. I guess as a non-illustrator, as someone who doesn't really think in pictures, to my very sad disappointment because I would love to be that kind of person, I find it fascinating how you know. That why is Francois not a koala? You know, it's an interesting thing of how you, how a character comes to life as something that is not just the traits of that character, but a quite different physical representation. So, you know, it's an interesting thing. And like you say that they find you. Did Francois just turn up as a pig? Here I am?

Gus

Yeah, that's, gosh, that's exactly how it happens. They just turn up. So like all illustrators, we sketch a lot and we keep lots of sketchbooks and they're basically just sketches in the hope that we'll find, stumble upon something of worth, something interesting, something that we'll want to flesh out. And normally you just do loads of sketches and nothing is ever appealing. But every now and then… Well, as far as a story goes, anyway. But just for instance, can you see that Allison?

Allison

I can see it. So just describe to me, just describe for our audience what you're holding up.

Gus

Oh, yes, okay, I forgot about that. So, in my sketchbooks I have, I really don't know where these things come from, but like for instance, this page, first page I've just have a redheaded bird. A strange looking sort of pigeon-like bird.

Allison

Which is gorgeous.

Gus

So you know, it really is all over the shop. There's some Parisian dogs. There is a duck, looking through a patisserie window. In fact, this was, this particular picture was the inspiration for a book I did called Somewhere Else, about a duck, who doesn't travel, who doesn't want to travel. And you can see, there's a duck here looking through a Parisian store window. And look, there's… I have birds, lots of birds.

Allison

I just want to say, can I just add, while our audience is just listening to this, but I am looking at the sketchbook that Gus is holding up and I as a non-illustrator person want to take it home. It is absolutely a beautiful, beautiful thing.

Gus

Thank you.

Allison

So you know, like I'm watching the rough sketch come out of your mind there and it's a gorgeous thing and they all look like they could be something to me, but to you they're like, maybe, maybe not.

Gus

Yes, yeah, that's exactly right. And it's sort of, it's like a feverish habit that we have where, excuse me, when you're just sketching you don't really know what you're sketching in some ways. You're just doodling and just seeing where the line takes you. And then one day, you know, you'll draw a character, or an animal or a person that seems to be a character. There's a big difference between just drawing an animal that is just an animal and then drawing another animal that seems to be a character of its own. It's almost like the story has been written about this character, and I've arrived upon it and now it's up to me to figure out what their story is all about.

So it's kind of, I'm chasing the story once I've discovered the character. And all my books have started in that visual sense of, I've come across the character, I've discovered… That's how I, I really think like that. I found the character. And then I'm fleshing out through numerous sketches afterwards what this character's story is all about. And I think that's the fun, I think that's essentially the most interesting and appealing attractive thing about what I do is when you chase story. And I know you do in different ways, as well, in a less visual sense. But when you have that initial idea, and then you begin to chase the story, it almost is the most exciting part of the whole picture book process, I think.

Allison

I can imagine. All right, let's talk about Finding Francois which is described as a heart-warming story about hope, possibility and finding a friend. And which I have here, and is just a beautiful, beautiful book.

Gus

Thank you.

Allison

Can you talk us through the process of that? So obviously, you've described your process, through your sketching, through working through things, you discovered Francois, who is a very cute little pig. What was the process from there? You then followed Francois through the story? Is that how it worked?

Gus

Pretty, pretty much. So there's a couple things going on there. So one day I did, and I'm holding this up for you, but I'll describe it. One day I did a drawing of a pig throwing a bottle into what is undoubtedly the Seine River in Paris. And so I drew this picture and I was in Paris at the time, which is a place I tend to spend as much time as possible at. I love it.

And so Paris was obviously in my head at the time, and I drew this pig. And then I was trying to think, what's going on here with this bottle? And the other thing is I've always been a little bit obsessed with the idea of a message in a bottle and how that even if that just is a one way trip, just that one time, and it arrives somewhere, could be days, months, years later, and the idea of someone reading this. And if that little note could be something inspirational or a message that that person or animal connected with, I think that in a nutshell is really interesting premise.

And so then I was in that space of trying to chase the story. And then I wrote a line. And this is how my brain works like this, I do a drawing, and then I think of a line, and then I sort of flip flop back and forth in this kind of organic way, cobbling the story together. So I wrote this line. And all I'd had written down was, “One afternoon, Alice walked down to the river and threw a bottle into the water. Inside the bottle, she had written a note, which read, ‘hello world, I am Alice.'” And that's all I had written. And I thought, well, that's enough. And then I started doing some more drawings. And then I thought, Oh, really where is Alice? I need to go back to the beginning and introduce Alice to the reader. And that's where it really all began. So I sort of flip flop back and forth.

In some ways, I wish it was a bit more structured. You know, write the story then illustrate it. But I do like, I think it works better the way I go back and forth, because I think the words and the pictures tend to marry together and fuse together in a better fashion if I do it in this way, I think.

Allison

How long does it take you to write and illustrate a picture book? Like, is this a process of ease? Or is this a process of weeks or what?

Gus

Yeah. It's normally years. Most often, it's normally years. You have this idea. And then you know how it goes it with an idea and off you go and you race and off you go and it's really fun. And then you stop. It's bang, you hit this problem and you don't know where to go. How do I get my character from A to B? And you sort of put it down and in some ways the less I think about something, these story problems, the easier for me it is to solve it. And so they sort of dwell away in the back of my mind like a stew. And so it just takes so long. I wish it was quicker.

I did do one book that was enormously quick and frightfully quick. It came to me so fast, I did wonder whether I should even attempt to take it to my publisher. I drew a bug on a leaf in a sketchbook, the same sketchbook I just showed you before, and then suddenly the bug was talking to another bug. And then suddenly, the two of them had this dialogue, this very funny dialogue as they looked at this glorious peach above them. And then within a day, I'd pretty much written the story.

Allison

Wow.

Gus

It just went from one… It's all dialogue, this story, too. So it was quite a different path for me having just dialogue. And back and forth, back and forth. And then we've got the twist at the end which took a little bit longer to think of, but essentially the story came to me in a day. But most of my books, you know, they just stew for years. They just take a long time.

Allison

So here's the question, do you still love creating illustrations? Do you still love illustrating even after all of these years of doing it? Because sometimes, you know, the thing that we love, we think we want to do it every day, but the actual reality of doing it every day can sometimes, you know, like it becomes, it's a job, isn't it? So does that does temper the love? Or is the love still there?

Gus

The love is always there. It really goes back to that inner child and why I started drawing in the first place. In that way that there's a yearning to do something. And I still think that. Having said that, you're exactly right in that there are still plenty of days where it really does feel like a job and I'm trying to nut it out, and when things aren't working I really wonder why I chose this career. You know what it's like.

Allison

I do.

Gus

There are times when you're writing and you think, “God, how have I got away with this for so long? I am such a fraud. This is just absolute shite.”

And I just, I think, “gosh, everyone can surely see me for the fraud that I am.” And honestly, sometimes it could be the next day, and you think, “This is gonna win awards!”

Allison

“I'm a genius!”

Gus

“I'm so clever! I've solved this problem and the wheels are rolling again and I'm a new…” Oh dear, oh dear, our partners. I don't know. You know, they get us through this process when we are at our worst, doubting selves.

Allison

I think a lot of people would be very reassured to hear you say that, that you have days where you think that you're a fraud, because I think it's an incredibly reassuring thing to know that, you know, even someone like you who has won all these awards and done all this amazing stuff has days where they're like, “I'm sure the world can see me for who I truly am.”

Gus

Oh, look, it's… The good thing about, I suppose, getting old is that you realise that most people I know who work in the creative industry, who write, who illustrate, feel exactly the same. And you know it's funny you say that, given that I've been around for so long, blah, blah, blah, you know, and I think of somebody else like Shaun Tan who I know has had real doubts about his work and I could name so many people I know as friends or colleagues who feel exactly the same.

And the way I sort of look at it, and I was talking to someone about this only last week, I'm not sure I should name who they are, but this is someone who's a very successful writer and illustrator and she was sort of saying this very thing about they're really doubting their work lately and the quality of it and so on. And I think it's a sort of a little bit of a human nature thing where we, I think we sort of have to be like this in the sense that we need to be constantly critiquing and analysing our work and doubting our work in order for that work to be something of worth. For it to be you… I think you need to bring your A game to everything. In order for it to be, for you to be satisfied with it, way before you even send it off to the publisher, you've got to just be satisfied with it yourself. You've got to be your own worst critic. And you really have to be hard on yourself. And sometimes, you know, it hurts when you do beat yourself up. But in the end, when you look back at the work, by and large there's a satisfaction that you got through and you made something nice, something worthwhile.

Allison

Definitely. And I think the other thing that you flagged there is something that Valerie and I talk about a lot too, which is the importance and value of having writer friends, people around you who understand where you are and what you're going through and can help talk you down from the ceiling when you require talking down from the ceiling. That kind of stuff.

Gus

Yes. Absolutely, for sure.

Allison

So I'd imagine that under normal circumstances, you would be out doing school visits and other events to promote Francois, which is obviously like probably being slightly tempered at the moment. But I guess… Are author events or school visits, are they something that you enjoy? Like, what do you think is the key to a good one, if you're having them?

Gus

I think… Well, to answer your first question, yes. It's difficult at the moment, of course, and all my publicity tours have been cancelled, sadly. And I was supposed to be…

Allison

Boo!

Gus

I know! Just like everything else this year, everything's been cancelled. And I'm supposed to be in New York right now, but that's not a good place to be. Anyway.

Yes, look, I think every writer, illustrator, needs to find a good balance of how much speaking work they do. Because, you know, not everyone is good at it or not everyone finds it a natural thing to do. There's, I mean, as you know, there's a certain expectation from publishers to sort of sell your wares and to visit schools and things like that. And I've been doing it for a long time.

And a funny thing happened a couple of years ago. After 20 plus years of speaking, I sort of found myself zoning out, where I would be speaking to a group of children and I could tell that I was saying the right things, like a tape between my ears it just reeled on through. But my head, I remember thinking in this out of body experience way, “oh gee, I should stop in at the butcher on the way home, grab a couple of those lamb chops. I really need to email that person back. And then… Oh my god, I'm still standing in front of this class, I better engage with the audience.”

And I just, I remember saying to my wife Ally about it, that's not a healthy thing to do. I just reached a point where I felt that I was disconnected and I really should take a break. And so I did. I took two years off. I took one year, I spoke to various speaking agents, and I said, “I'm just gonna take a year off.” They said, “Good. We've been expecting this phone call” mostly they said.

And I enjoyed it so much and I got so much writing done, I took another year off. And then I was supposed to be back this year. And I booked, we had all my weeks booked in various states and whatever and of course Covid came and it looks like I've got another year off.

Allison

Well, you'll be well rested for next year.

Gus

I'll be well rested! But the point is, you know, I needed a break. But I do think visiting schools is a valuable thing. You know, for both obviously the kids and for yourself as well. Because by doing this sort of thing, it makes you analyse what it is exactly that you do and try to break it down so that you can kind of prove to kids that it's not a magical thing. It's not, you know, if that child likes to write or draw, there's no reason why they can't do exactly what we do. It's not… I like trying to demystify the whole process because I think it's… I don't try to be any, you know, this aloof author type. I love the idea of breaking it down so kids can see, “gosh, that actually looks like something I could do.” I think that that's part of the whole thing that I find really interesting. And that makes me keep going back to schools and libraries, talking to people.

Allison

Fantastic. All right, Gus, it's been such a pleasure talking to you today. I've just, you know, fascinating and I've learned so much and I'm so excited that I got to see your sketchbook.

Gus

Oh, yeah.

Allison

I'm just saying that everyone so that everyone out there listening to us knows that I saw it and they didn't.

Gus

Oh, I'm sorry everybody

Allison

But we're just gonna finish up today with our last question that we always ask our interviewees, and that is for your top three tips for aspiring picture book creators out there who are listening to us right now.

Gus

Okay. I'd say the first thing is stick to your guns. Stick to the things that you know well and the things that you feel naturally drawn to. So, you know, don't try and write outside yourself in the very beginning. Try and stick to things that that you're passionate about and that you feel is going to be something that you'll be able to flesh out and use in a narrative. So, you know, stick to your guns there.

And I would say, meet people. Get to know other writers, people from the bottom of the food chain all the way up. Go to things and get to know people who are doing exactly the same thing that you're doing.

And the last thing is, don't go to too many of those things! Because I've seen it time and time again, the same people, they just keep going to the same meetings and the same events and so on about becoming a writer, when I just think their time is best spent actually doing what they want to do, supposedly.

Allison

Yep.

Gus

And that's just creating, creating, writing, you know. If you keep going to these things and not actually setting out on your objective, trying to actually write stories, you just, you're missing the whole point of the thing and you're just kind of wasting everybody's time. You just got to do it. That's just, just do it and ride in a direction. Go off and just make the time and then write.

Allison

Brilliant. All right. Well, thank you so much for your time today, Gus Gordon. Of course, Finding Francois is on the shelves as we speak. It is an absolutely beautiful book.

Gus

Thank you.

Allison

And I'm sure it's going to go gangbusters for you.

Gus

Thanks, Allison.

Allison

And best of luck with the third year off the author talks.

Gus

I know! The unexpected third year off. Anyway, I'll be back in the swing of things next year.

Allison

Fantastic. Thank you.

Gus

Looking forward to it. Thank you. That was really enjoyable.

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