Episode 97: Bringing a Samurai Story to Life on the Page- Interview with Pamela S. Turner and Gareth Hinds

by Gabriela Pereira
published in Podcast

Hey there Word Nerds!

Today we’re doing something totally new at DIY MFA Radio. We’ve had co-authors on the show before, but this is the first time we have an author-illustrator team.

In this interview I talk with writer Pamela S. Turner and illustrator Gareth Hinds about their book Samurai Rising: The Epic Life of Minamoto Yoshitsune. Pam has written historical fiction, biography and science for young readers and has won numerous awards. Gareth is the creator of the critically-acclaimed graphic novels based on literary classics like Beowulf, King Lear, Romeo and Juliet, and Macbeth. Together they make for a powerhouse team in bringing to life the amazing story of legendary samurai: Minamoto Yoshitsune.

In this episode Pamela, Gareth, and I discuss:

  • The development of an author/illustrator partnership
  • Inspiration born of personal interests
  • Bringing the story to life on the page
  • Knowing your audience and writing for children
  • The importance of having a crack design team in creating quality books

Plus, Pamela’s and Gareth’s #1 tip for writers.


Link to Episode 97

(Right-click to download.)

About the Author and Illustrator


Pamela S. Turner has written historical fiction, biography, and science on diverse topics. She the author of five books in the Scientists in the Field series, including The Frog Scientist (AAAS Science Writing Prize winner) and The Dolphins of Shark Bay (a Kirkus and School Library Journal Best Book of the Year).

Her newest book is Samurai Rising, a biography of famed Japanese warrior Minamoto Yoshitsune. She lives in Oakland, California and is a black-belt practitioner of kendo (Japanese swordfighting). For more about Pamela, visit her website at www.pamelasturner.com


GarethHindsGareth Hinds is the creator of critically-acclaimed graphic novels based on literary classics, including Beowulf (which Publisher’s Weekly called a “mixed-media gem”), King Lear (which Booklist named one of the top 10 graphic novels for teens), The Merchant of Venice (which Kirkus called “the standard that all others will strive to meet” for Shakespeare adaptation), The Odyssey (which garnered four starred reviews and a spot on ten “best of 2010” lists), Romeo and Juliet (which Kirkus called “spellbinding”), and Macbeth (which the New York Times called “stellar” and “a remarkably faithful rendering”).

Gareth is a recipient of the Boston Public Library’s “Literary Lights for Children” award. His books can be found in bookstores and English classrooms across the country, and his illustrations have appeared in such diverse venues as the Society of Illustrators, the New York Historical Society, and over a dozen published video games. To learn more about Gareth, visit his website, or follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, or Pinterest.

If you liked this episode…

Head over to iTunes, leave a review, and subscribe so you’ll be first to know when new episodes are available. Also, if you know anyone who might enjoy this podcast, please share!

Until next week, keep writing and keep being awesome.


Enjoyed this article?