Red Parka Book Tour! A Compendium of Collective Nouns

I am so excited to share this post with you today! My pal Jennifer Skelly of Red Parka Diaries has just released her first book! You may remember me posting about her fundraising campaign, and I'm pleased to say it was a success and the book launched this past weekend.
I received a copy of the book so that I could interview Jen, and it's just gorgeous! It's called "A Compendium of Collective Nouns" and contains Jennifer's beautiful illustrations of many different animals. Each page has a different group of animals, with the collective noun that is commonly used to describe each group. It's fun, educational, colourful and cute. The book itself is hard bound and really well made. I think my favourite is "A Smack of Jellyfish", though it's tough to choose just one! I spoke to Jennifer about her book, her illustration career and more:

Can you give us a brief introduction to yourself and your book?
I'm a illustrator from Tasmania, Australia, and I've been running my own business, Red Parka Designs, for about 5 years now. I've been drawing collective nouns for a while, starting with one of my favourites - A Parliament Of Owls - and about a year ago, decided it would be really fun to write a book! It's mostly illustrated but I did write a brief history of collective nouns for it which I think is really interesting - for example, did you know the first published collection of collective nouns was written by a nun in 1486!
What is your favourite part of your job?
That I get to do what I love for a living - drawing! I'm an introvert by nature so the solo life of an entrepreneur/artist suits me, although I do really enjoy selling my work at markets and event where I get to talk to people and share my ideas!

You haven't always worked as an illustrator, what prompted you to 'make the escape'?
I'd worked many jobs in my time while art was always a hobby. I really never thought I was good enough to make a living from art, therefore didn't take it that seriously! The big 'escape' for me came when the company I was working for downsized due to the GFC in 2007 - I was unhappy in my job so put my hand up to go first with the intention of trying to make it as a freelance editor/copywriter. While I built my editing business I supplemented my very small income by going to markets and selling my handbound books and one day, decided to put a few greeting cards with my drawings out on the table. To my huge surprise they were a hit! And so I did some more, then ventured into prints, and one day I realised I had accidentally found what I wanted to do for the rest of my life! These days I earn a small but sufficient full time living from my art, something I had only dreamed about a few years ago.
What drives you to illustrate?
I do it simply because I enjoy it and the fact that I never want to have to go back to a real job keeps me motivated! As far as inspiration goes, it's almost endless - I love bright colours and obviously I love animals, but I also get inspired by architecture, jewellery design, good films and music...... life in it's entirety is pretty inspiring! 

I'm a lover of collective nouns myself, I find them so interesting! How did you decide which animals to include in your book. And can we expect a sequel?
I made a huge list and then picked out which one took my fancy each day! I did try to make sure the book had lots of variety ie. Australian animals, African animals, birds, sea creatures etc. A few good ones missed out due to this (a dazzle of zebras and a loomery of puffins were probably the hardest to leave out) but I think a volume 2 is on the cards so they'll be in that one for sure!  
Do you know the collective noun for just about every animal now? I'd like to know the collective nouns for a) Squid b) Centipedes c) Unicorns.
Ok, I know it's a blessing of unicorns, which I think is lovely..... I don't know about the others - better do some more research!! 

What's your personal motto?
Never give up on your dreams.  

Where can people get their hands on this amazing compendium?
The book is listed in my Etsy Store.

Thanks so much for stopping by Kitty & Buck on your book tour, Jennifer!

If you'd like a copy of A Compendium of Collective Nouns, head over to the Red Parka Etsy store now! It would make such an awesome gift for a curious animal lover of any age. Excuse me while I go and research the collective noun for centipedes...


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