Looking for a cute Valentine’s Day gift for your little reader? Here’s an adorable book that I found called “Dylan’s Cosydoze” by Elsa Joseph. A graduate of South Bank University in London, Elsa has pursued her love of writing with a passion. She combines her interests of travel, art, and theater to build interesting plots and develop memorable characters. I had a chance to interview Elsa about her favorite childhood memories and authors, what inspires her and what upcoming projects are in the works.
- What is your favorite memory from reading as a child?
Elsa Joseph: When I think back to what spurred my undying love for reading, I can date it back to the classic children’s book, “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carie. I remember being introduced to this book by my reception teacher and studying the life cycle of a caterpillar. I can recall joining in discussions of what the caterpillar ate each day and being amazed when, at the end of the book, he becomes a beautiful butterfly.
- Who was your favorite author and how did they influence you?
Elsa Joseph: Paulo Coelho is my favourite author. I read The Alchemist two years ago and at first I didn’t like it. However, over time this book has grown on me. The book uses words and storytelling in their simplest forms as a means of portraying something so profound, divine and spiritual. It does it in a way that dissolves all attempts at classification or recapitulating. It is a quick read (at only 170 pages) and the plot is relatively a straight forward one. The style of prose is also clean and an uncomplicated, a-tune to that of a religious parable or childhood fairy tale, both of which this could be likened to.
- Do you have a writing routine? Share what works for you.
Elsa Joseph: Yes, I do indeed! My alarm starts to ring. It’s 7am. I swing my legs out of bed, stretching as I walk into the bathroom. I splash some water on my face, and head to the kitchen and gulp down a refreshing glass of warm lemon water.
Then I take it back to my desk, where I read for half an hour and jot down some notes that will be important for today’s projects. Once I’m done, I shower and put on my clothes, ready to start the day.
I don’t work well at home, so after eating breakfast I grab my laptop and head on down to the local coffee shop. There, I’ll sit and drink coffee and make a start on the to-do list I wrote out the previous evening.
The day is spent busily tapping away at my keyboard, with the occasional break to eat something or gaze out the window at the busy shoppers as they rush by. Around 5pm I’ll go home, make dinner, chat with my family for a while, and then hit the gym.
I come back fully exhausted but satisfied. The gym is great for clearing your head. Then I’ll shower and watch a movie, read a book, or browse the Internet for a while. I take a few minutes to reflect on the day and write my to-do list for tomorrow. Then I’ll turn the lights out and drift off to sleep at around 10:30pm. I wake up feeling refreshed the next morning, pumped to do the whole thing all over again.
- What subjects would you like to write about in future projects?
Elsa Joseph: I have so many! I have an author blog (http://www.elsajoseph.co.uk) which I am in the process of re-organizing. I would like to write more about some of the things related to my hobbies which are travelling, cooking, health, etc. I am toying around with writing another children’s book — something about disability, something about acceptance, something about how children with conditions such as Spina bifida and Down Syndrome are normal and talented and not abnormal like how the media can sometimes portray.
- During all your travels, what was the most place that was inspirational and why?
Elsa Joseph: That’s a tough question because each country I have visited is special in its own way. If I had to pick a place it would be Venice. I love the uniqueness of the city, especially its watery canals. I love the architecture, the Grand Canal, the beautiful Rialto Bridge. I love the fact you don’t see cars but boats and gondolas.
So many things make Venice unique from any city in this big world. It’s truly a magical city.
- With your background in theater, are you planning a series or book?
Elsa Joseph: Last month I made my debut as a playwright at the Young Vic Theatre in London. As much as I enjoy writing books, at the moment I want to solely concentrate on my playwriting.
- What teacher inspired you when you were younger and why?
Elsa Joseph: When I went to Sixth Form College I was taught English Language & Literature by Lisa James (Ms. James to me), and it was as though she walked into my head and turned all the lights on.
She lent me poems, plays and books she liked. I showed her poems I had written, which weren’t really poems but more an explosion of words. But she took me completely seriously. She introduced me to Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller, Henrik Ibsen, Eugene O’Neill– all people who have meant more to me than anyone else. Her way of teaching was very searching but also very passionate and scrupulous. She definitely inspired me to write.
- What do you do to research your books?
Elsa Joseph: It depends on the kind of book I am writing. It also depends a great deal on what topics I am researching, and why I need to research those topics for that book.
For example, let’s say I want to write a novel that has a lawyer as the primary character and don’t know any lawyers. Right away, the kind of book I am writing is fiction — so I would ask myself what’s important to my story. Am I going for technical accuracy, or sensory? Do I want the reader to feel like I know what I am talking about when it comes to the details of the law or am I trying to convey the analytical and judgmental skills of being a lawyer because I want a realistic character? These are some of the questions I would ask myself.
- How does living in London influence your writing?
Elsa Joseph: It influences my writing a lot. London is one of the most culturally vibrant cities in the world. For my book Best Kept Secret which is set primarily in London, I drew inspiration from the cities ethnically diverse population.
- What is writing to you in one sentence?
Elsa Joseph: “Writing” is the process of using symbols (letters of the alphabet, punctuation and spaces) to communicate thoughts and ideas in a readable form.
“Dylan’s CosyDoze” is a younger reader’s rhyme book that delves into that toddler problem of losing your favorite toy. On a visit to grandma’s, Dylan’s blanket or “CosyDoze” gets lost. Can Mum and Dad find it? Or will he have to find another way to get to sleep? Delve into this real life problem that many toddler’s can relate with. A great example of problem solving as a family, “Dylan’s CosyDoze” will be a read-aloud to help any child fall asleep.
“Dylan’s CosyDoze” is available on Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com.
For more information on Elsa Joseph, please visit her website at: http://www.elsajoseph.co.uk.