The Smiling Elephant is a touching true story about an Elephant taken into captivity to work in the tourist trade then eventually rescued. Based on a true story.
Who doesn’t love elephants? Especially when they are as cute as the elephants in pachyderm in The Smiling Elephant. Here to share the secrets behind The Smiling Elephant, is author Aston Heath. Aston, I love the idea of smiling elephants. How did this idea come to you?
The idea from this story began with my visit to the Elephant Nature Park in Chang Mai Thailand.
The Elephant Nature Park must have been awesome if you were inspired to write a book about it. Was this the only experience from your life that you used to colour this book?
Being an amputee all my life I know sometimes life can be a bit more difficult. I’ve always endeavoured to maintain a good and happy attitude which I hope can help others.
A good and happy attitude is always a great asset to have. How did you use this spirit when you were creating the characters?
After seeing one of the elephants struggle to walk I was able to relate this to my own experiences. I could then write this story based on what happens to elephants in captivity.
What happens to elephants in captivity the most important thing that you wanted to share with the readers, or did you find there was something that was more pressing today, and if so, what was it?
That even though life can be difficult we can get through it and our experiences can help others.
What was the greatest reward you found from communicating that people can move through difficult times in your book?
Visiting the elephants at the nature park and seeing their kindness and majesticness.
Visiting the elephants is a great research trip. I’m not sure how you will top that, but it is a good challenge! On the top of challenges, where you do feel was the area where you learnt the most while writing ‘The Smiling Elephant’?
The plight of elephants in Thailand and the impact of tourism.
Now that you’ve tackled the plight of the Thai elephants, what are you going to write about next?
The Elephant Who Would Not Give Up – A true story of an amputee elephant.
*Laughs* There is nothing better than an elephant! Do you think of elephants whenever you write, or do have other thoughts in your mind when you write? And if your mind isn’t filled with smiling elephants, which I think might is a shame, what are you thinking about?
Myself as a child and what I would say to him.
That actually might be a better thing to have in your mind rather than the smiling elephants! What do you love most about writing that keeps drawing you back? Is it the elephants, the thought of yourself as a child, or something else entirely?
It is a great way to explore my own moving stories and experiences.
How does this exploration process for a new story begin? Do you find yourself planning how the story will move, or does it just happen?
Generally, the story unfolds and unfolds. I do start with a basic idea.
Once you have the basic idea in mind how do you keep your focus and energy directed towards it each day?
I like to get into a relaxed state with no distractions.
Once you’ve relaxed distraction-free and ended up with a complete draft, do you switch your writing gears towards editing?
I usually engage a professional editor.
Do you feel that you’ve progressed as you’ve continued writing and taken the advice from your editor?
Yes, with each book I get to a more in tune voice with the characters.
Is your plan to use this developing author voice to create the foundation for an author brand?
That’s the plan. I first would like to build an audience around my first and upcoming two children’s books.
When can our eager elephant lovers expect to see the next children’s book released?
Early next year.
Not long now. Good luck getting your plan ready! As you’ve already gotten one book ready and out into the world, what do you feel are the top tips that other authors should be mindful of when they start releasing books for their own author brand?
Write your heart. Ensure its a piece of work you would give to your friends.
And if you have elephants as cute as the ones in ‘The Smiling Elephant’, I can see why you’d show it to everyone! I love the cuteness of your elephant and I’d love to follow it up with some equally cute questions but I don’t have any of those with me today. Instead, let’s pick a few selections from my happy creative set and see if we can get some smiling humans since I’m fresh out of elephants. Let’s start the hunt for smiles with the first question. Why is lemon juice made with artificial flavour, and dishwashing liquid made with real lemons?
Dishwashing is not natural.
So, does the addition of real lemons make it a more natural process? I can say that the strategy to add real lemons hasn’t enticed me to see dishwashing as a more natural practice. If you’re in a vehicle going the speed of light, what happens when you turn on the headlights?
You are light years behind.
*Laughs* That might be the case! If you invented a monster what would it look like and what would you call it?
Bear rowie – a huge bear that roars loud but is fun too.
I want to see this bear in action. I think he needs to be featured in one of your upcoming tales. The next question might also be something that you want to write about in a story too. What happens if Batman gets bitten by a vampire?
Robin looks tasty.
Robin better be getting a move otherwise he will be next! Are you left or right-handed?
What happens when you get scared half to death twice?
I call my mum.
Always call for backup from Mum! If nothing ever sticks to TEFLON, how do they make TEFLON stick to the pan?
The Pan is sticky.
So that’s the trick. On the topic of tips and tricks, what’s your overall top tip for authors in general?
Find your story.
Finding that story is important. And when you have that story you need to fill it with the best selection of words. What is your favourite word?
That’s a solid choice. Well, I only have one happy question left to ask you today, so I hope you can give myself and the readers something to love. What’s your favourite line from ‘The Smiling Elephant’?
“He gave him a new name”
What’s the new name, well you’ll have to read ‘The Smiling Elephant’ to find out! Aston, thanks for chatting with me today, and I hope we’ll get the chance to read another elephant adventure from your pen soon.
Excited to read the book we discussed today? Find it here on Amazon: ‘Elephants of Thailand: The Smiling Elephant ( ASIN: B078FPMVRM )‘.
Want to find out more about Aston Heath? Connect here!