DECEMBER 2015 ;e Costco Connection 51
arts & entertainment
Imaginary Fred (Item
#1000903), as well as
a variety of other
picture books, is
available in most
Colfer says it is rare to find someone who can
make a story better, but Jeffers elevated his
work and he enjoyed working with him.
“We didn’t have any disagreements or
arguments,” Colfer says. “It was all for the
good of the project.”
Colfer, who was born in Wexford, Ireland,
lives there with his wife and two sons. He says
that although he no longer is cool enough for
his 18-year-old son, Finn, his 12-year-old son,
Seán, is happy with his father’s profession.
“He likes the books, too,” Colfer says,
adding, “I’m hoping he stays at that phase as
long as possible.”
Having grown up with a father who was a
schoolteacher and a mother who was a drama
teacher, Colfer followed in their footsteps and
went into teaching after earning his degree
from the University of Dublin. The experi-
ence of a recession taught him that if you had
a job you should keep it. However, not want-
ing to resent teaching, he resigned in order to
concentrate solely on writing 15 years ago. He
admits he misses the camaraderie of working
on a staff, as well as the students who were
smart but just lacked life experience.
“I don’t miss it the first of September,
when all my friends are going back to school,”
he adds jokingly.
Colfer says he looks forward to the development of Artemis Fowl into a movie, a project that has been discussed by Disney for
several years but has not come to fruition. He
says he remains cautiously excited about the
project, which is further along than it has ever
been. While it’s likely some things will be
changed in the adaptation, he’s hoping the
teenage criminal mastermind Artemis Fowl
remains true to character.
“I am over the moon about the recent
announcement that Kenneth Branagh and
Conor McPherson will be taking the creative
reins on the Artemis Fowl movie,” Colfer says.
“This book has been in development for a
long time, but this is a team that was worth
waiting for.” C
By Christina Guerrero
IN ADDITION TO being a parent, working
as a primary-grade schoolteacher for 15 years
is probably the best real-life experience a children’s book author could have.
“I think [teaching] really taught me how to
address kids and how to relate to them and
not patronize them and talk down to them,”
For the first time, Colfer has cre-
ated a picture book, Imaginary Fred,
which presents a unique take on the
concept of how imaginary friends
are created with the right conditions,
such as a little bit of electricity, luck
and magic. The book tells the story
of two little boys and their shared
love of reading, pretending, playing and lis-
tening to music, and creating comic books.
“I’ve had the story in my mind for quite a
while, but I didn’t know what to do with it,” says
Colfer, who has also had success with several
stand-alone novels, including the best-selling
historical adventure Airman (
Disney-Hyperion, 2009; not available at Costco).
Colfer says that when he met Oliver
Jeffers, an Irishman as quirky as himself, at
the Auckland Writers & Readers Festival in
New Zealand in 2012, the pair, much like the
two boys in the book, had perfect chemistry.
Imaginary Fred, featuring Colfer’s text and
Jeffers’s artwork, will be published simultaneously in the U.S. and the UK.
“It was a stress-free collabo-
ration without any ego, mostly
completed over Skype,” Colfer
says. “[Jeffers] would literally
hold up the pictures to the cam-
era, and oddly enough we pro-
ceeded that way.”
Jeffers, who was born in
Australia, grew up in Belfast
and now lives and works in
Brooklyn, New York, is the
illustrator of the best-selling children’s book
The Day the Crayons Quit (Philomel Books,
2013; not available at Costco). Well known as
an artist, illustrator and writer, he has won
many high-profile awards for his books,
including the Nestlé Children’s Book Prize
Gold Award, the Blue Peter Book of the Year
and the Irish Children’s Book of the Year.
Imaginary Fred is the real deal
In our digital editions
Click here for a tongue-in-cheek
interview with Eoin Colfer.
(See page 13 for details.)