Dynamic duo, Deanna Kent and Neil Hooson, have signed a new deal with Macmillan Imprint. This new series is three full-colour graphic novels titled GLAM PRIX RACERS. Pitched as Mario Kart meets My Little Pony, Mio the mermaid and Mudwick the monster truck use sparkle, speed, and a lot of teamwork as they zoom all over Glittergear Island, competing to win the coveted Glam Prix Cup. GLAM PRIX RACERS’ first installment is slated for spring 2021.
It wasn’t too long ago that we reported Kent and Hooson’s first 3-book deal with Macmillan’s Imprint. Since then, Books 1 and 2 of the Snazzy Cat Capers series have been released (book 3 will be released September 2020) and have seen foreign sales in Russia and a licensing deal with Scholastic’s Book Club.
After finishing the manuscript for Snazzy Cat Capers’ third installment, Kent was struggling to find a new book idea. “If I can’t distill my idea to one short sentence, I don’t have an idea. And I couldn’t. I was beating my head against a wall.” During a call with Gemma Cooper, Kent’s agent, the topic of another client’s fun picture book came up. “She laughed and asked if I liked writing about vehicles. I said no, but at that moment something sparked and I started rambling off magical and moto pairings,” says Kent. “The kid in me took over. I told her I’d happily write about a mermaid and a monster truck, a fairy and a freight train, a dragon and a dune buggy, a unicorn and a unicycle, a sprite and a soft-serve mobile, a zombie and a Zamboni.” Gemma loved the idea and recommended Deanna start writing immediately.
Hooson, co-creator and illustrator, said that he was obsessed with RC cars as a kid so he was thrilled about world-building and designing characters and vehicles for this series. “This diverse world where magical creatures and motor pairs live and race quickly took a life of its own,” says Hooson. He explains that Glittergear Island is made up of diverse racing realms—each with its own unique terrain, colour palette, and system of tracks.
When the groundwork was solid and their idea was fully formed, Kent says they submitted two book formats they felt could fit this new idea—a graphic novel script format and a more traditional illustrated chapter book format. These were submitted exclusively to the Macmillan Imprint team. The pair said the publishing team at Imprint was “smart, creative, collaborative and kind. It just made sense to do everything in our power to try and work with them again… We were over-the-moon thrilled when we heard they wanted it.”
The dream team has worked with a variety of people and teams to develop different projects in the community—helping to create displays with the Kelowna Art Gallery, presenting for kids with the Kelowna Public Library, and helping to create art and story materials for three MRI rooms at the Vancouver Children’s Teck Acute Care Centre.
Celebrating creativity and Kelowna’s growing art and tech sector is something Kent and Hooson have done for years. The two worked together for almost a decade at Disney. Hooson now works at Yeti Farm Creative studio as Art Director for the Amazon TV series Pete the Cat, and Kent works out of the Innovation Centre at AO with Montreal-based Carebook Technologies as a Marketing Manager and Writer for Product.
The pair aren’t giving up their regular jobs anytime soon. Kent says, “We love what we do during the day, and flexing different creative muscles in our spare time makes us better. It makes us happy.”
Besides these recent book deals, the pair have been working on another kids’ IP, which they took through Accelerate Okanagan’s Angel Summit last year. Kent and Hooson say they learned a lot through that process, did some testing, and will be launching something in the coming months. “That one is a really special passion project—we’ll keep you updated.”
You can look out for the Snazzy Cat Capers book series at any bookstore, including Mosaic Books and Once Upon a Bookstore. Book 3 of Snazzy Cat Capers will be released September 15, 2020, and the first book in the Glam Prix Racers series will be released spring 2021