September 8, 2015

Fish Detectives by Kelly Hashway

When Kelly Hashway asked if I could review her latest picture book, Fish Detectives, I said, "Absolutely!" I love both Kelly's writing and K.C. Snider's artwork, so I knew this would be a slam dunk for me. 

Sure enough, Fish Detectives is as much fun as I thought it would be. So much so, that I wanted to include a few interview questions with Kelly and K.C., too. So let's take a moment to talk to the ladies before I share my review of the book.

Kelly, Horatio and Alexander are so cute. What inspired you to create two mystery solving fish?

My mother told me she had two fish named Horatio and Alexander when she was growing up. I loved the names, and for some reason they sounded like detectives to me. From there I imagined what kind of cases they might solve in a fish tank.

K.C., Horatio, Alexander, and Gus are all very beautiful fish and the emotion in their expressions really adds to their character. Do you have fish or did you visit a pet store for inspiration?

First, I’d like to express how much I enjoyed this story.  I like challenges, and getting the view of the room through fish tank glass or getting the fish tails that unique translucent look was a lot of fun to do.

We used to have a tropical fish tank, but one winter, we lost electricity overnight, and it froze solid.

Oh, that's so sad. I'm sorry to hear that. As always, I'm really impressed with the illustrations, K.C. Your work is amazing. (K.C. illustrated the covers of my Weaver Tales books.) The reflection of the surrounding room on the first page, the sense of movement in the water throughout, the lush foliage and adorable tank accessories all really add to the depth of the setting. What kind of research did you do to capture the setting so well?

I looked up images of fish, tanks, toys, and tank plants, etc. on Google.  I research some of the images so I have a deeper knowledge of what goes together best, what makes sense together, and what is a safe environment for goldfish.  Then I decide how to place it, what one might see, as a fish, of the surrounding room they’re in, and how the plants and lighting move around the fish as they explore their environment.


Kelly, what is the most exotic kind of fish you've raised?

I've actually never had a fish, but I love aquariums and fish tanks. They're so full of color and look like magical underwater worlds.

And the final questions are just for fun!

Kelly, if you were a mermaid, what kind of fish would you choose to be bff's with and why?

Ooh, fun! Probably a Blue Tang because I loved Dory in Finding Nemo, and I'm always drawn to Blue Tangs in aquariums. They're beautiful.

K.C., if you could participate in any sort of underwater adventure without risk to yourself, would you rather:
    explore an epic shipwreck (like the Titanic)
    swim with a pod of whales
    or be the first to discover hard proof mermaids really exist

Shipwreck explorations are dangerous.  So is swimming with whales.  Besides that’s been done.  The first person to discover mermaids?  Now that would be an adventure of a lifetime!  I would love to paint a real mermaid! 

Thank you ladies for visiting with us and giving us a little insight to how Fish Detectives came together!

About the book:

When a treasure chest mysteriously shows up in the goldfish tank, it's a case for Horatio and Alexander, Fish Detectives. But a diver is guarding the treasure, and he's not talking. Horatio and Alexander will need all their comet goldfish speed and know how to crack this case.

My Review:

What a fun story. I love the relationship between Horatio and Alexander. I suspect they are very relatable for young readers with Alexander being serious and Horatio being more spontaneous and fun. It’s funny that Alexander seems almost disappointed by the result of their investigation. And young readers should find the ending snort-worthy when Horatio and Alexander realize they might need more fish in the tank before they’ll get more mysteries to solve.

The illustrations are lush. The fish are beautiful and emotive. It isn’t the first time I’ve marveled over how closely KC Snider’s work resembles a photograph, but the details are stunning and there’s so much to look at. It’s like the reader is staring directly into the tank.

Get your copy of Fish Detectives here: Guardian Angel Publishing| Amazon|

About Kelly Hashway:

Kelly Hashway grew up reading R.L. Stein's Fear Street novels and writing stories of her own, so it was no surprise to her family when she majored in English and later obtained a masters degree in English Secondary Education from East Stroudsburg University. After teaching middle school language arts for seven years, Hashway went back to school and focused specifically on writing. She is now the author of three young adult series, one middle grade series, and several picture books. She also writes contemporary romance under the pen name Ashelyn Drake. When she isn't writing, Hashway works as a freelance editor for small presses as well as for her own list of clients. In her spare time, she enjoys running, traveling, and volunteering with the PTO. Hashway currently resides in Pennsylvania with her husband, daughter, and two pets.

Hashway is represented by Sarah Negovetich of Corvisiero Literary Agency. 

About K.C. Snider:

K.C. Snider, an honors graduate from The Eugene School for Art, is a prominent Oregon artist. Her love of the western life and of wildlife has been developed since her youth, with her natural talent for drawing and color exhibited since she was ten years old.
 
Originally specializing in Western Fine Art, K.C. now has a collection of oil and acrylic paintings, lithographs, and pastel and pencil drawings that include portraits of the All-American Cowboy and Cowgirl and their lifestyles of days gone by. K.C. had planned to become an illustrator when she was in art school, but when circumstances intervened, she turned to fine art as an outlet to express herself. However, K.C. had always considered her work to be a form of illustration because even her paintings "tell a story."

In 2007, K.C. illustrated two children's books, The Christmas Angel, with author Mary Jean Kelso and The Magic Violin, with Mayra Calvani. Both books were published by Guardian Angel Publishing and are also available as an e-Book. Now she is an established and sought-after illustrator for Guardian Angel Publishing with a total of nine children's books published, four more pending publication and 12 more waiting to be illustrated. K.C. works with authors all over the world, including Australia and Belgium.

4 comments:

  1. K.C. was so great to work with on this book. And her illustrations are just gorgeous.

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    1. She's super talented and a wonderful person to boot. This is a fun book, Kelly. Thanks for sharing it with me. I'm glad I get to share it with readers in turn. :)

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  2. What a fun interview, ladies. I enjoyed learning more about the artwork, which is fabulous. The story is unique, with adorable fish. We used to have a fish tank and the little critters were so much fun to watch.
    Great review for a great story, Kai. Will the fish be having any more cases to solve is the question? :)

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    1. I'm pretty sure Kelly said this will be her last picture book, so we will have to imagine more mysteries for them to solve on our own.

      Thanks for visiting, Beverly.

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