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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Interviews, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 2,659
1. One Writer’s Process: Fran Manushkin

Before becoming a writer, Fran Manushkin had the idea that books came to life inside an author’s head fully made and that an author simply wrote them down “lickety split.” But then she started writing and discovered that notion simply wasn’t true. "Books develop according to their own time,” she says. “You cannot dictate that a book be born; neither can you dictate to a book. Listen.

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2. Faith, Hope, and Love: An Interview with Joanna Pistorius, Wife of Ghost Boy Author, Martin Pistorius

by Sally Matheny

Martin and Joanna Pistorius
Embrace Faith, Hope, and Love
Several months ago, I wrote a review of Ghost Boy,by Martin Pistorius. Gems of his remarkable life story nestled in my mind. One facet that continued to shine was how faith, hope, and love grew when he met his wife, Joanna. It made such an impression that I hoped to talk more with her. 

Joanna and Martin were on a book signing tour in Norway when I caught up with them. Joanna graciously agreed to talk with me when they returned home to England.

If you have not read Ghost Boy yet, Martin tells an amazing story of going from a healthy twelve-year-old boy to living in a waking coma state, unseeing and unknowing of his surroundings. 

Four years later, his mind slowly wakes up. But his body does not.  

Then, for ten more years, his mind is completely aware—aware that he is trapped inside an unresponsive body and powerless to communicate with others.

You’ll have to read the book to get the whole story of Martin’s incredible journey. Eventually, he is able to communicate and he meets Joanna. Both Joanna and Martin are originally from South Africa. However, Joanna was working as a social worker in England when first introduced to Martin. 

Martin’s sister and one of Joanna’s friends were roommates in England. All three girls were together when Martin’s sister contacted him in South Africa on New Year’s Day in 2008. It was during this Internet Skype conversation that Joanna first met Martin.

Instantly, she was attracted to Martin’s kind heart and infectious smile. The feeling was mutual and their online friendship began.

Read more »

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3. NYCC ’15: Maris Wicks on Self-Care, Poop Jokes, and “Human Body Theater”

The Beat sneaks in an early NYCC interview with the one and only Maris Wicks to chat about her new educational science comic from First Second: "Human Body Theater"!

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4. Emma Watson live Q&A This Friday!

Emma Watson has just tweeted that she will be a part of a live Q&A (over Twitter), discussing her new movie RegressionAs previously reported, Emma Watson plays a tormented young woman who fears for her life after experiencing something horrific. According to IMDB, Emma Watson’s character accuses her father of a crime he does not remember committing.


The Live Q+A will take place 9 am LA Time and 5 pm UK Time.


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The trailer for Regression can be seen below:

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5. INTERVIEW: Chip Zdarsky on Creating the New “Jughead,” Turning Down the Harvey, and Crafting the A-1 Burger

Calling all miscreants!  All slackers and gamers!  All those who would banish terrible cafeteria food to the secret tenth circle of hell (located in a specific unmentionable location on Satan’s person).  Archie’s Jughead is back with a new ongoing series written by none other than Sex Criminals’ Chip Zdarsky and illustrated by The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl‘s artist Erica Henderson. […]

1 Comments on INTERVIEW: Chip Zdarsky on Creating the New “Jughead,” Turning Down the Harvey, and Crafting the A-1 Burger, last added: 10/7/2015
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6. The Great Big Harry Potter Fansite Interview: Leaky’s Q&A with Harry Potter Illustrator Jim Kay

Today, October 6, Bloomsbury is publishing the first illustrated edition of the Harry Potter books–Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is hitting shelves in stores near you. As a part of publication celebrations, illustrator Jim Kay agreed to participate in Q&A sessions with major Harry Potter news sites, calling it The Great Big Harry Potter Fansite Interview. The Leaky Cauldron was honored with the opportunity to be apart of this event.

The Leaky staff came together to create and ask Kay four specific questions that we thought fans might like answered, and questions that Kay had not yet answered in previous interviews or Q&As. Jim Kay took the time, between drawing illustrations for Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, to answer two of each site’s questions, and send never-before-seen images from Philosopher’s Stone. Please see the images and the interview below!


The Great Big Harry Potter Fansite Interview


Were you influenced by previous Harry Potter illustrators/the films or did you veer away from both?(Alwaysjkrowling.com)

I’m a huge fan of both the books and the films. I thought the screen adaptations were a wonderful showcase of the best set design, product design, costume, casting, directing and acting their disciplines had to offer. I knew from the start that I’m competing to some degree with the hundreds of people involved in the visuals of the film. I remember watching the extras that come with the movie DVDs a few years back, and wondering how on earth you’d get to be lucky enough to work on the visuals for such a great project. To be offered the opportunity to design the whole world again from scratch was fantastic, but very daunting. I’d like to think that over the years lots of illustrators will have a crack at Potter, in the same way that Alice in Wonderland has seen generations of artists offer their own take on Lewis Carroll’s novel. I had to make it my version though, and so from the start I needed to set it apart from the films. I’ll be honest I’ve only seen a few illustrations from other Potter books, so that’s not been so much of a problem. I love Jonny Duddle’s covers, and everyone should see Andrew Davidson’s engravings – they are incredible!

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What was the most important detail for you to get right with your illustrations? (Magical Menagerie)

To try and stay faithful to the book. It’s very easy when you are scribbling away to start wandering off in different directions, so you must remind yourself to keep reading Jo’s text. Technically speaking though, I think composition is important –the way the movement and characters arrange themselves on the page – this dictates the feel of the book.

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What medium do you use to create your illustrations? (Snitchseeker)

I use anything that makes a mark –I am not fussy. So I don’t rely on expensive watercolour or paints, although I do occasionally use them – I like to mix them up with cheap house paint, or wax crayons. Sometimes in a local DIY store I’ll see those small tester pots of wall paint going cheap in a clear-out sale, and I’ll buy stacks of them, and experiment with painting in layers and sanding the paint back to get nice textures. The line is almost always pencil, 4B or darker, but the colour can be a mixture of any old paint, watercolour, acrylic, and oil. Diagon Alley was unusual in that I digitally coloured the whole illustration in order to preserve the pencil line drawing. I’d recommend experimenting; there is no right or wrong way to make an illustration, just do what works for you!

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Because each book is so rich in detail, what is your personal process when choosing specific images?(The Daily Snitcher)

I read the book, then read it again and again, making notes. You start off with lots of little ideas, and draw a tiny thumbnail illustration, about the size of a postage stamp, to remind you of the idea for an illustration you had while reading the book. I then start to draw them a little bigger, about postcard size, and show them to Bloomsbury. We then think about how many illustrations will appear in each chapter, and try to get the balance of the book right by moving pictures around, dropping or adding these rough drawings as we go. With Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone Bloomsbury were great in that they let me try all sorts of things out, different styles, concepts. Some I didn’t think would get into the final book, but everyone was very open to new ideas. There was no definite plan with regards to how the book would look; we just experimented and let it evolve.


(McGonagall is from Telegraph’s photos)

Given the distinct split of younger vs. more mature readers of the series, how do you construct your illustrations so that they can appeal to both audiences at once? (Mugglenet)

The simple answer is I don’t try. I think only about the author and myself. You can’t please everyone, particularly when you know how many people have read the book. I don’t think good books are made by trying to appeal to a wide audience. You just try to do the best work you can in the time given, and respect the author’s work. Most illustrators are never happy with their own work. You always feel you want to try more combinations or alternative compositions. You are forever in search of that golden illustration that just ‘works’, but of course it’s impossible to achieve –there will always be another way of representing the text. Effectively you chase rainbows until you run out of time! You get a gut feeling if an image is working. I remember what I liked as a child (Richard Scarry books!). Detail and humour grabbed me as a nipper, and it’s the same now I’m in my forties.

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Did you base any characters or items in the book on real people or things? (Leaky Cauldron)

Lots of the book is based on real places, people and experiences. It helps to make the book personal to me, and therefore important. The main characters of the books are based on real people, partly for practical reasons, because I need to see how the pupils age over seven years. In Diagon Alley in particular, some of the shop names are personal to me. As a child we had a toad in the garden called Bufo (from the latin Bufo bufo), Noltie’s Botanical Novelties is named after a very clever friend of mine who works at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh. The shop called ‘Tut’s Nuts’ is a little joke from my days working at Kew Gardens; they had in their collections some seeds from the tomb of Tutankhamun, which were affectionately known as ‘Tut’s Nuts’. The imprisoned boy reaching for an apple in Brigg’s Brooms is from a drawing my friend did when we were about 9 years old –that’s thirty two years ago!

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Which character was the most difficult to draw? (Harry Potter’s Page)

Harry, without a doubt. Children are difficult to draw because you can’t use too many lines around the eyes and face, otherwise they look old. One misplaced pencil line can age a child by years, so you have to get it just right. Also Harry’s glasses are supposed to look repaired and bent out of shape, which I’ve found tricky to get right.

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What is your favourite scene you have illustrated? (Alwaysjkrowling.com)

That’s a difficult one. I’m fond of the ghosts. I paint them in reverse (almost like a photographic negative) and layer several paintings to make them translucent. I enjoyed Nearly Headless Nick. I really enjoyed illustrating the trolls too. Your favourite illustrations tend to be the ones that gave you the least amount of difficulties and I think Diagon Alley was nice for this reason. It was more like a brainstorming exercise, slowly working from left to right. My favourite character to illustrate is Hagrid – I love big things!

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Are there any hidden messages/items in your drawings for the Harry Potter series? (Magical Menagerie)

There are, but they are little things that relate to my life, so I’m not sure how much sense they’d make to other people. I like to include my dog in illustrations if I can (he’s in Diagon Alley). I also put a hare in my work, for good luck. There’s a hare in A Monster Calls, and in Harry Potter. My friends appear as models for the characters in book one, and some of their names too can be seen carved on a door, and on Diagon Alley. There are little references to later books too, such as on the wrought-iron sign of the Leaky Cauldron. I do it to keep things interesting for me while I’m drawing.

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How did you approach illustrating the Hogwarts Castle and grounds? (Harry Potter Fan Zone)

I really enjoyed doing this. You have to go through all seven books looking for mentions of the individual rooms, turrets, doors and walls of the castle, and make lots of notes. Then you check for mentions of its position, for example if you can see the sun set from a certain window, to find out which way the castle is facing. I then built a small model out of scrap card and Plasticine and tried lighting it from different directions. It was important to see how it would look in full light, or as a silhouette. Then it was a long process of designing the Great Hall, and individual towers. I have a huge number of drawings just experimenting with different doorways, roofs. Some early compositions were quite radical, then I hit upon the idea of trees growing under, through and over the whole castle, as if the castle had grown out of the landscape. This also gives me the opportunity to show trees growing through the inside of some rooms in future illustrations.

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What illustrations in the book are you most proud of? (Leaky Cauldron)

Usually it’s the ones that took the least amount of effort! It takes me so many attempts to get an illustration to work, that if one works on the second or third attempt, it’s a big relief. There is one illustration in the book that worked first time (a chapter opener of Hogwarts architecture, with birds nesting on the chimney pots). It kind of felt wrong that the illustration was done without agonising over it for days, it didn’t feel real somehow, so I’m proud of that one because it’s so rare that I get an image to work first time! The only other illustration that was relatively straightforward was the Sorting Hat. Illustrations that come a little easier tend to have a freshness about them, and I think those two feel a little bit looser than others in the book.


Which book do you think will be the most challenging one to illustrate? (Harry Potter’s Page)

At the minute it’s book two! I think book one I was full of adrenaline, driven by sheer terror! Book two I want to have a different feel, and that makes it challenging to start again and rethink the process.

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Is there a particular scene in the future Harry Potter books you’re excited to illustrate? (Harry Potter Fan Zone)

I’m really looking forward to painting Aragog in book two. I’m really fond of spiders – there are lots in my studio – so it’s great having reference close to hand! I’m hoping that by the Deathly Hallows we will be fully into a darker and more adult style of illustration, to reflect the perils facing Potter!

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How many illustrations did you initially do for the book, and how many of those appeared in the final edition? (Snitchseeker)

There are stacks of concept drawings that no one will ever see, such as the Hogwarts sketches, which I needed to do in order to get my head around the book. Then there are rough drawings, then rough drawings that are worked up a little more, and then it might take five or six attempts for each illustration to get it right.

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What house do you think you may have been placed in, aged 11, and would it be the same now? (Mugglenet)

I’d like to think it was Ravenclaw as a child. I was much more confident back then, and creative, plus they have an interesting house ghost in the form of the Grey Lady. These days I work hard and am loyal, so probably Hufflepuff.

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Illustrating aside, what is one thing that you love doing to express your creativity? (The Daily Snitcher)

It’s difficult to say because for the past 5 years I have worked on illustration seven days a week, every hour of the day. A few years back I started to write, and I really enjoyed that, it’s far more intimate than illustrating, and I love going over the same line and trying to hone it down to the core of what you are trying to express. My partner makes hats, and I’m very envious. It looks like wonderful fun. We have lots of designs for hats in sketchbooks. I really want to get some time to make some. I’ve always been slightly torn that I didn’t go into fashion, but my sewing is terrible. I used to play guitar a lot and write little bits of music, but that’s difficult now because my hand gets very stiff from drawing all day! The funny thing is, if I did ever get a day off, I’d just want to draw!

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This morning, J.K. Rowling invited all to check out the book and “see Harry Potter through Jim Kay’s extraordinary eyes,” and Pottermore also released their exclusive interview.

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Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone–Illustrated Edition by J.K. Rowling, illustrated by Jim Kay, is now available from any book retailer near you (or online)! Happy reading and please let us know your impressions of the new version of the Harry Potter books–our favorite books!

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7. Interview with Jaime Lee Moyer, author of AGAINST A BRIGHTENING SKY

Hey guys! Jodi here.

Today, I’m pleased to introduce a long-time writing friend of mine, Jaime Lee Moyer, author of DELIA’S SHADOW, A BARRICADE IN HELL, and the third in the series, releasing tomorrow (October 6, 2015), AGAINST A BRIGHTENING SKY. (Tor.)

Jaime and I met on the same online workshop over eleven years ago and we’ve been reading each other’s work ever since. I’m a huge fan of Jaime’s series. History, ghosts, murder, mystery, seances, and a bit of swoony romance. I can’t recommend these books enough!

cover for Delia's Shadow
Cover for Barricade in Hell
Cover for Against a Brightening Sky

1. What is the biggest, most important thing you want readers to know about AGAINST A BRIGHTENING SKY?

That this is the story I wanted to write, a book about hope for the future, friendships that endure through every test and trial, and the memories of loved ones that live on in all of us. Books about the struggle to push back the shadows, and protecting those you love, are just as important to me as books that focus on shiny ideas.

Don’t get me wrong, there are lots of shiny ideas in AGAINST A BRIGHTENING SKY, but the story is about the people.

2. How much input did the cats have when it came to plotting the trilogy?

My cats, Morgan and Gillian, have been pushing for co-author credit of Delia’s books since day one. They claim that giving Delia a ghost hunting cat in the second book was all their idea. That’s not even remotely true, but I’m not going to fight with them over it.

You know how cats can get.

3. Over the course of the trilogy, what were the three most interesting things you had to research?

The most interesting weren’t always the most pleasant or the most fun. It’s also really difficult to narrow this down to just three.

a. The decomposition rate of a body in salt water, the damage fish and other sea creatures can do, and how quickly rigor mortis vanishes in cold temperatures. You know you’re a writer when you can read about this stuff and not lose your lunch. That bit of research was really gruesome and still really interesting.

b. Shell shock in The Great War. Today we’d call it Post Traumatic Stress, but this syndrome or condition had almost never been seen in solders before WWI. There might have been individual cases scattered over the years, but not the huge numbers of men affected during The Great War.

c. Trance lecturers and their spirit guides. This was really fascinating. Trance lectures became a popular form of entertainment as spiritualism spread, and was tied to many of the mid to late 1800s social reform movements. While in the trance, the person giving the lecture–many if not most of them women– were seen as being under the control of their spirit guide. If a spirit guide voiced opinions on women’s rights, slavery, or marriage that ran counter to societal norms and practices, no one could hold the woman at the podium responsible. The spirit was in control.

I thought that was a neat, if to our modern eyes somewhat sneaky, way to get your message out into the world, and to bypass the restrictions on what a woman could say in public.

4. Do you have any encouraging words or pieces of advice for new writers? What about writers with a book or two already out?

I have the same thing to say to both groups.

Keep writing. Believe in yourself and your work even if no one else does. Don’t give up. The universe will send you a passel of conflicting messages, but no matter how dark and dire the future looks KEEP WRITING.

5. If you could have a drink with any of your characters, which one would you choose, and what would you drink?

I’d love to have a drink with Dora. She could tell me stories of the places she’s been and all the things she’s seen, of the battles between the light and the dark most of us never see. Dora probably wouldn’t approve of me drinking beer, but the whiskey she drinks would likely kill me. Time with her would be well spent.

All my characters carry a part of me inside. Isadora Bobet holds the biggest piece of my heart.

6. Pub brawl! A huge fight has broken out. What’s your weapon of choice?

Tranquilizer darts, fired from behind an overturned table. Once everyone’s had a good nap and calmed down, hopefully they won’t feel the need to fight.

Cover for Against a Brightening SkyA ghost princess and a woman with nothing but a name to her fortune might change the course of history.

By 1919 the Great War has ended, peace talks are under way in Paris, and the world has been forever changed. Delia Martin, apprentice practitioner of magical arts, and her husband, Police Captain Gabriel Ryan, face the greatest challenge of their lives when fragments from the war descend on San Francisco.

As Delia prepares to meet friends at a St. Patrick’s Day parade, the strange ghost of a European princess appears in her mirror. Her pleasant outing becomes a nightmare as the ghost reappears moments after a riot starts, warning her as a rooftop gunman begins shooting into the crowd. Delia rushes to get her friends to safety, and Gabe struggles to stop the killing—and to save himself.

Delia and Gabe realize all the chaos and bloodshed had one purpose—to flush Alina from hiding, a young woman with no memory of anything but her name.

As Delia works to discover how the princess ghost’s secrets connect to this mysterious young woman, and Gabe tracks a ruthless killer around his city, they find all the answers hinge on two questions: Who is Alina…and why can’t she remember?

Against a Brightening Sky is the thrilling conclusion to Moyer’s glittering historical fantasy series.

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JAIME LEE MOYER lives in a land of cactus, cowboys, and rhinestones, while dreaming of tall trees and the ocean. She writes novels about murder and betrayal, friendship, ghosts and magic, and she feels it’s only fair to warn you that all her books are kissing books. You can learn more about Jaime and read samples of her writing at www.jaimeleemoyer.com

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8. Hiromasa Yonebayashi On ‘When Marnie Was There,’ Being Scolded By Miyazaki, and Studio Ghibli’s Future

Yonebayashi's second feature "When Marnie Was There" arrives on Blu-ray next week.

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9. Interview: Mary Hoffman

MWD Interview - Mary HoffmanMary Hoffman is the best-selling author of picture book Amazing Grace, which is currently celebrating its 25th Anniversary, as well as its six picture-book and chapter-book sequels and other acclaimed picture books such as The Colour of Home, An Angel … Continue reading ...

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10. Jonathan Stroud Talks with Roger

Jonathan Stroud Talks with Roger

Talks with Roger is a sponsored supplement to our free monthly e-newsletter, Notes from the Horn Book. To receive Notes, sign up here.

stroud_jonathan_300x439In The Hollow Boy, the third book in Jonathan Stroud’s Lockwood & Co. series, Lockwood, Lucy, and George are still attacking the Problem: their alternate-world London is being stalked by ghosts that only young people can see — and defeat. I talked with Jonathan about world-building, series-continuing, and negotiating the needs of fans.

Roger Sutton: I’m curious about — in particular with the Lockwood series, but thinking about Bartimaeus as well — two things. You want Question One first or Question Two first?

Jonathan Stroud: Well…we can make it Question Two, right?

RS: Okay, Question Two is: When you have a world, as you do in the Lockwood & Co. books, that is like ours if not quite ours, how do you decide what the rules of that universe are going to be? Or is that something you work out as you go?

JS: It’s an organic process. I kind of work from the middle outward, I suppose. Both in Bartimaeus and in Lockwood, that middle-beginning comes with the key characters. I’ll start with the idea of a djinni as narrator who’s being controlled by dodgy human magicians. The first scene I wrote is the djinni meeting this kid who’s his master. At that point I knew nothing more about the world, really. I gradually pieced it together around that initial sequence. With Lockwood, I began with a boy and a girl walking up to a door in modern London, and they had swords at their belts, and they were going to deal with a ghost. I had them talking to each other, sort of bantering, but I knew nothing about the logic of the world. Why were children doing that? I had no clue.

RS: So you hadn’t even thought of “the Problem” at that time?

JS: Exactly. I wrote maybe three pages of the first chapter, just these two kids talking. And then I put it down, and I had to pause some while I was sitting there scratching my neck and wondering what reason it would be that they’re there without any adults, and what happens when they go inside. It took quite a long time to actually get them in the door, because I had to set some ground rules straightaway. You don’t get those all in one go. But clearly whatever rules I invent for the first book in a series, I have to make sure they remain fast.

RS: Right, and I think you do a good job of parceling them out. It’s not like we have to digest all the rules at the beginning.

JS: I’ve read books, and I’m sure you have too, where you just get hit between the eyes at the beginning with huge amounts of exposition about how everything hangs together. It’s unnecessary. The real world doesn’t work that way. We’re still discovering subtleties about how the world operates. You’re constantly fleshing it out. There’s no reason why an invented world should be any different.

RS: Have you read Margo Lanagan’s Black Juice? It’s a collection of short stories set in these completely unexplained worlds. And she just-sort-of-maybe drops in a rule about how that world works, and maybe she doesn’t. It’s almost as if they’re tales of straightforward realism set in very odd places.

JS: And you buy it, don’t you? If it’s done well.

RS: It’s very disorienting at the same time.

JS: Yes. It’s a fine balance, isn’t it? In fantasy, there’s nothing worse than feeling that the ground is shifting beneath your feet, where the rules suddenly change halfway through. The author has to play fair. But you’re right, part of the fun is throwing in the odd little detail and letting the ripples of it stretch out in the reader’s mind, even if you don’t necessarily ever refer to it again. It’s there, part of the furniture.

RS: I would think, too — and here is Question One — that the use of magic has to be handled very carefully, so that it doesn’t become a substitute for plot development.

JS: With Bartimaeus, one of the things I discovered — it wasn’t intentional — was that as a djinni he had all of these protean abilities, magical powers, but when he came to Earth he was immediately constrained by the binding that the kid had put upon him. So the whole energy and the frisson of the books is that he can’t do what he wants to do, and it becomes a problem for him and an amusement for us. If it were easy for him, it would quickly become very tiresome for readers.

RS: That’s why Superman needed kryptonite.

JS: Yeah. It’s why I think a lot of these superhero movies and comics ultimately get a bit tiresome. (I’m saying that as a big fan.)

RS: Oh, you’re in trouble now.

JS: There has to be an element of danger. Things get rebooted so often, and the characters get in all sorts of peril, but ultimately they always seem to dust themselves off and hitch up their britches and walk away.

RS: How does a writer deal with that? I think about this when I watch cop shows on TV, even — that you want to have your characters in the greatest peril, and you want the viewer, or the reader, to feel the terror along with that person, but you know the hero has to survive for the next episode. There was that one show Spooks [MI-5 in the U.S.], though, do you remember it? On BBC?

JS: Yeah.

RS: Spooks knocked off main characters left and right. But you can’t really do that in a book for kids. Or in a book for anybody, really.

JS: No. In Bartimaeus I did do it, ultimately, and unexpectedly. I think there always has to be a sense that you could do it, that you are prepared to do it, and if you don’t, the character is lucky, and the reader feels that luck. That gives you the sense that the peril is genuine, and the relief is genuine too.

RS: I also think you can, as you have in the Lockwood series, leave your characters with genuine scars, both psychic and physical, from encounters that they have with (in this case) the Problem.

JS: That’s right. In the world in which you and I live, a fatal disaster is not so common — heaven knows that’s not always the case — but for us it is more about the psychic scars, the minor battering that you get as you go through life. So you do want your characters to have bruises from the things they experience. That makes them more lovable and identifiable, I think, from the point of view of the reader.

stroud_hollow boyRS: I’m trying to figure out a way to phrase this question without giving away the ending of your book, because we don’t want to do that — but something very dramatically changes in the last sentence of The Hollow Boy

JS: Yes, true.

RS: —and how do you pick up from that in starting the next volume?

JS: Usually with a series — it was the same with Bartimaeus — I will have a vague idea of where I’m going, but it’s only vague, and it can be altered at any given moment. Funny enough, as you rang, I was just working away on the structure of the next book. I’d actually done a very, very early version of that a year ago, when I was thinking about book three. I already had in my mind a possible way of continuing the story. And yet you have to be ready to throw that away if necessary. Now I’m trying to firm it up. Part of the beauty of it, part of the challenge of a writer, is to try to keep that balance: forward planning with improvisation. The two have to coexist. If you have everything mapped out from the beginning, it becomes arid. Similarly, if you fly by the seat of your pants entirely, it’s a bit high-risk. So I’m constantly trying to think ahead, but at the same time, not paint myself into a corner. I need there to be varied options. That links back to the question about what happens to the characters. With the Lockwood books, I genuinely don’t yet know what’s going to happen to my characters at the end. That means there is a potential threat hanging over them like an ominous cloud. I treat it with respect and my reader with respect, but I do keep it open as I go.

RS: What do you think adding a fourth ghostbuster in this volume does to the dynamic among the characters?

JS: I was quite pleased with it as a way of shaking up the existing dynamic. You have a nice triangular relationship between Lockwood, who’s the dashing central character in a way — he’s the titular character — but in another way, the central character is Lucy, the narrator. It’s her emotions we primarily follow. And George, who’s the third guy. [Ed. note: Poor George.] The three of them have a very nice, close, interconnected dynamic. And bringing in a fourth, and indeed female, character, Holly, really destabilizes things from Lucy’s point of view. That’s really been fun. It allowed me to focus more closely on Lucy’s emotional state, foreground it, and make her that much more affecting.

RS: At what point did you know there was going to be a series of books, not just one?

JS: Fairly early on, it had that potential. I remember with Bartimaeus, all those years ago, I wrote about fifty or sixty pages of the first book before I realized that there was too much going on for it to be one book. This time, because I’m a bit older and grayer and more grizzled, I sat there thinking about the problem of the Problem, what the Problem was, and what the book was going to try and do. I figured out almost straightaway my plan would be to have a series of very traditional ghost-hunting narratives, but then surround that with this wider issue of why the ghosts are coming back, and the social implications of it. That was quite interesting, embedding traditional ghost narratives in a wider social context. That is something I couldn’t do in one book. It was going to have to be a series.

RS: I thought it was pretty brilliant to make one of the rules the fact that only children could really deal with these ghosts.

JS: It was the first rule that I had to figure out. Why were these kids there? Where were the grownups? There had to be some pretty basic reason. It’s not just the old Scooby-Doo type thing where you’re a bunch of kids having an adventure. There are real ghosts. They’re really dangerous. And the adults can’t see them. That immediately has implications for how the society functions. The adults are vulnerable, but also still control things. They try and remain safe, but send kids into the houses to deal with the phantoms and potentially get killed. The adults stay at home at night, and the kids go out after dark. It’s fun to play with that.

RS: Will we see in the fourth volume — I don’t want to say a resolution to the Problem, but will we get a bigger picture of it?

JS: We will. As I’m speaking now, I’m thinking that I may do five books, and the fifth one will be the one that has the ultimate resolution. But, yes, having focused quite closely on the emotional dynamics of my heroes in book three, I think book four will open out again a little bit more and give a few tentative answers.

RS: Do you have any demands from fans as to how certain things happen or don’t happen?

JS: Well, yes, actually. There’s definitely a large number of people who are quite keen, particularly, on there being an emotional resolution to the Lockwood and Lucy relationship. That’s of interest to a fair number of readers.

RS: Are you seeing fanfiction about the two of them?

JS: I know it exists, but I don’t read it. When I do a naughty Google search, I’ll find all sorts of excerpts about Lockwood and Lucy. There’s a lot of fan art kicking around, and quite often that’s fairly…well, Lockwood and Lucy in loving clinches. So I’m under no illusions about what people would like. I guess to a certain extent one has to detach oneself a little bit from that and try and follow the way you want to go.

RS: And it is kind of a nice problem to have. It wouldn’t happen if people weren’t so wrapped up in the story.

JS: No, it’s the best. It suggests that your characters are living, breathing creations outside the little bits of paper in your messy old study. I remember, back with Bartimaeus, that somebody sent me a letter with an alternative ending to the series. There’s quite an apocalyptic finish to the third Bartimaeus book, and a girl wrote me a lovely alternative ending where everything was resolved in a much more upbeat way. It really moved me. It was wrong from an aesthetic point of view—I didn’t think that as a story ending it was correct. But from the point of view of wish-fulfillment and wanting the best for my characters, it actually made me feel very moved.

RS: In the Talks with Roger interview I did with Lisa Graff, we talked about J. K. Rowling’s periodic announcements about this or that character after the books have been published. You know, like when she told us that Dumbledore was gay. How much ownership do you feel over these characters?

JS: The only character of mine who could almost exist independently of me is Bartimaeus. A djinni that’s been around for thousands of years — it almost feels natural that I can assert him as being present in a couple of different epochs. People ask me if I’m going to write another Bartimaeus book, and I think yeah, sure, I could. He’s out there somewhere having adventures, and I no doubt could tap into it. He does have that sort of life for me. Beyond that, you give it your best shot in the book. You have a certain number of pages; you put down what you can, and then you leave it to other people to extend it. I think it would be wrong to keep adding footnotes and explanations to something that should be a finished text.

RS: That people can take and do with what they will.

JS: Fanfiction, which is great and lovely. That’s what we all do. Every time you read a book, you see things in your own unique way. The way you read Harry Potter will be subtly different from the way that I read it, and we’ll get different things from it. There’s no right and wrong answer, and if we want to go off and have fantasies about Dumbledore or anyone else, that’s certainly correct.

RS: What about George and Lockwood, nudge-nudge-wink-wink?

JS: Well, yes. Old George, you see, he’s a bit unnoticed. Lockwood’s sort of swishing around with his long coat, and Lucy’s looking after him with her big eyes, and old George is there on the sidelines. Absolutely. What’s his take on it? I think a lot of people would probably identify with George. I think, in a way, I identify with George.

RS: Me too.

JS: Most people probably have a little bit of a soft spot for him.

RS: All right, I’ve got tons of material here, Jonathan, and I can let you go.

JS: Okay, that sounds brilliant. I look forward to the headline on top saying “Stroud Denigrates Superheroes.” Oh, dear.

More on Jonathan Stroud from The Horn Book

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11. Ron Wimberly Talks Communities, Creative Play, and the American Myth at SPX

As the Sunday of SPX got started, I had the opportunity to sit down with Ron Wimberly over "breakfast" in the mostly vacant hotel restaurant to discuss his work past, present, and future, what it means to foster community, and how we can adjust the Dream. Wimberly is known for Prince of Cats, She-Hulk, as well as Lighten Up on The Nib. As a note, this is more of a conversation, so expect depth and breadth, not release dates.

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12. Momo & OHora (& Frank Zappa) Before Breakfast

Author-illustrator Zachariah OHora visits 7-Imp today to talk about his newest picture book, My Cousin Momo (Dial, June 2015). Momo is a flying squirrel, and he throws his cousins for a loop when he visits and does things his own way. You know, we all have a cousin like that (thank goodness, because normal people worry me). It’s a story about family and acceptance and embracing your inherent weirdness, and it’s very funny. OHora has a style all his own, and you can see that for yourself below in the art he shares. He also shares some preliminary images, which are always fun to see.

Let’s get right to it. …

Zachariah: In looking back in my folders, I have over 17 fully sketched-out dummies of Momo. I was working with Nancy Conescu at the time, and we just went down a writing rabbit hole — in part, because it was hard to parse what the book was all about. In the beginning, it was about Momo being such a weirdo but saving the day by becoming a human (?) kite in a contest after he ruins the cousins’ chances of winning. Ultimately, and with a lot of help from Nami Tripathi, the story became more about acceptance and lowering one’s expectations. Or maybe adjusting one’s expectation of other people and realizing they are great, even if it’s different than who you are or what you are projecting onto them.

These are a few of my favorite spreads:


“We’d been counting down the days until his arrival.”
(Click to enlarge spread)


The treehouse was a lot of fun to paint. It gave me a good excuse to troll for treehouse pictures on the internet, a wonderful way for me to waste an amazing amount of time. I even saved a few pictures just to stare at them once in a while and pretend I live in one. How fun would it be to live here?


(Click to enlarge)


I loved making this spread [below], because Momo is so dejected about having to fly on command, despite the fact that he has the whole neighbor-wood cheering him on. And since this is a semi-modern tale, there’s always that chipmunk with a video camera waiting to load it up to YouTube or sell it to TMZ.


“We might have told a friend or two about Momo’s special ability.
But Momo seemed kind of shy.”

(Click to enlarge spread)


Acorn-Pong. This game also had varying degrees of importance depending on the dummy/draft version. This one still makes me smile, especially the little sister’s frustration, which is straight out of Schulz’s Peanuts, except they’re acorns.


“We started a game of Acorn-Pong instead. Every squirrel, flying or not,
knows how to play Acorn-Pong! Every squirrel except Momo.”

(Click to enlarge spread)


In all my books, I put in lots of personal jokes. And I usually do one or two that are also sly references to Frank Zappa. There’s a great Zappa/Captain Beefheart song called “Muffin Man” that I always loved. As it happens, Zappa was riffing off an old nursery rhyme from England, so it kind of comes full-circle here. The muffin theme is from a different version of the book, where Momo makes the best muffins ever. Somehow that turned into the Muffin Man. Here’s a link to the Zappa song if you are so inclined:



“So we decided we should play superheroes.
But Momo’s idea of ‘superhero’ was a little strange.”

(Click to enlarge spread)


Here are a couple old thumbnails and sketches. This is a version pretty close to the final art.


(Click to enlarge)


Early on, Momo was going to win a kite contest for the cousins by flying as the kite. This is the moment when they see him win the contest and fly for the first time:


(Click to enlarge)


Early on, the cousins tried everything they could to trick or coerce Momo into flying.


(Click to enlarge)


Some early thumbs on mini Post-its:


(Click to enlarge)


Here are the first two drawings of Momo. On the left is a mini book cover, and on the right is the very first drawing of Momo, a Valentine for my wife Lydia.


(Click to enlarge)


Here is an early cover concept:


(Click to enlarge)


The final cover:



* * * * * * *

MY COUSIN MOMO. Copyright © 2015 by Zachariah OHora. Published by Dial Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Penguin, New York. Illustrations used by permission of Zacharian OHora.

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13. Ken Duncan Talks About Creating New Scenes for ‘The Iron Giant: Signature Edition’

"The Iron Giant: Signature Edition," director Brad Bird's remastered masterpiece of war, peace, and paranoia, returns to theaters this Wednesday and Sunday, with new scenes courtesy of Duncan Studio.

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14. Interview: Cracking Secret Coders, Balancing Education and Entertainment, and What’s Next for Eisner Winner Gene Luen Yang

Gene Luen Yang, multiple Eisner winner and National Book Award finalist, has released his latest work for younger readers, a collaboration with Adventure Time artist Mike Holmes entitled Secret Coders. This exciting new volume from First Second, the home of Yang’s award-winning American Born Chinese, Boxers & Saints, and The Shadow Hero, centers on a young […]

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15. And to Think He Was Almost a Drama Critic . . .

Right on the heels of his Eric Carle Honor, I have a long chat with editor Neal Porter over at Phil & Erin Stead’s Number Five Bus blog about publishing picture books today and all kinds of other stuff. The Barry Manilow moment is courtesy of the Steads.

That interview is here. It’s got some sneak-peeks at upcoming picture book art (from the likes of Jerry Pinkney, Christian Robinson, Hadley Hooper, Eric Rohmann, Laura Vaccaro Seeger, Phil Stead, Antoinette Portis, and probably more), which makes me especially happy.


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16. Brenden Fletcher talks with The Beat about Gotham Academy, Batgirl, and Black Canary at Dragon Con

Brenden Fletcher is one of most unique voices in superhero comics and easily one of my favorite writers at the Big Two. Along with fellow writers like Steve Orlando, Ming Doyle, Tom King and David Walker; Fletcher is leading a charge that is creatively rejuvenating DC and giving the publisher its best line-up of titles […]

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17. INTERVIEW: Artist Drew Johnson on Reinventing Patriotic Superhero “The Shield” for Contemporary America

Yesterday, The Beat brought you an exclusive interview with Adam Christopher and Chuck Wendig, co-writers of the new Dark Circle Comics series The Shield.  In this new take on a classic character originally introduced in 1940, The Shield is a spirit that defends truth, justice, and the American way by inhabiting the body of an everyday […]

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18. A Conversation With Genndy Tartakovsky About ‘Hotel Transylvania 2,’ ‘Popeye,’ ‘Can You Imagine?’ and ‘Samurai Jack’

In a wide-ranging conversation, Genndy Tartakovsky talks to Cartoon Brew about the challenges of making "Hotel Transylvania 2" and what he's trying to do next.

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19. A Boy, a New Baby, and a Dragon?!

Today, Kid Lit Reviews is pleased to welcome a young man with either a wildly creative imagination or one of the most interesting best friends a boy can have by his side. We’ll call him “Big Brother” since his newest story centers around the addition of a new family member in the form of a …

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20. Torill Kove On Winning A Norwegian Honor, Her Next Film, and Personal Identity

The Montreal-based animator is accruing recognition for animated films that make audiences think and feel across geographical boundaries.

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21. One Picture-Book Roundtable Discussion Before Breakfast #4: Featuring the Women of Finding Winnie

Sophie: “This was the last painting to be finished.
I felt a little bereft when it was all done.”

(Click to enlarge)


Back in the day, I used to do what I called picture-book roundtable discussions here at 7-Imp — in which the author, illustrator, editor, and art director/book designer would join me to give readers varying perspectives on one picture book title. I’ve only done three of these, though I really do enjoy them, and the last one was back in 2011. Wow. It’s been a while.

But I’m happy to be doing it again today with such an impressive book in the spotlight. That book is Lindsay Mattick’s Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear, illustrated by Sophie Blackall. It’ll be on shelves next month from Little, Brown.

Mattick is the great-granddaughter of Harry Colebourn, the World War I veterinarian who rescued a baby bear cub in 1914 — and named that bear Winnipeg (“Winnie” for short). It’s this cub that caught the eye of Christopher Robin Milne at the London Zoo and inspired the character of Winnie-the-Pooh.

Mattick’s story is framed with her, as a mother, telling her son Cole (named after Harry Colebourn) this family story. Her writing is superb. As the Publishers Weekly review notes, it strikes a “lovely, understated tone of wonder ….” Sophie Blackall’s illustrations are detailed and well-researched (as you’ll read below) — and they sing with a reverence for the subject matter. Oh, and lots of warmth.

Both author and illustrator, as well as Little, Brown editor Susan Rich and art director Saho Fujii, join me today to talk about the book, and Sophie shares some images and art too. I thank all these ladies for stopping by to give me and 7-Imp readers another glimpse into the picture-book process, and I turn the table over to them now.

* * * * * * *

7-Imp: What was your first impression or reaction to the Finding Winnie manuscript? (Lindsay, you can simply address the writing of it, getting the initial idea for it, etc.)

Lindsay (pictured left):

I first had the idea to tell my family story as a children’s book about a decade ago but then got distracted with other projects. When I found out I was pregnant with my son, I felt an immediate sense of urgency. (Dare I say panic?)

I remember sitting down with my laptop to write in a café in Costa Rica, and what came out first was the book’s now dedication to my son. While I didn’t know it at the time, that dedication would shape the narrative of what became Finding Winnie.

I was also very inspired by a book called Polar the Titanic Bear about a stuffed bear that traveled on the Titanic. I loved the way the story was intertwined with old photographs and material. I knew that I wanted to share our family’s amazing photographs of Harry and Winnie in the book to remind children just how real and beautiful this story truly is.


Harry Colebourn & Winnie


Sophie (pictured right): Susan Rich sent me a very winning email with the manuscript attached, and in spite of having made myself a stern promise not to take on any new manuscripts, no matter how tempting, I read it and it gave me goosebumps. As I wrote back to Susan, I lived Winnie-the-Pooh when I was young—I spent most of my childhood up a tree with my bear—and it was E.H. Shepard who made me want to be an illustrator in the first place. Winnie-the-Pooh was the first book I bought with my own money (a battered old edition), and I had just picked up Christopher Robin’s memoir the very weekend I received Lindsay’s manuscript, so everything felt meant-to-be.

That, and as Susan said in her email, the story was full of wonderful things to draw: a sea of white tents at the army barracks, a parade of ships crossing the ocean in 1914, The London Zoo. …



Susan (pictured below): I thought, “It’s meant to be!”

Like Lindsay, I am from Winnipeg, and the story of my hometown’s connection with Winnie-the-Pooh is in the air there. I went on to study Children’s Literature at McGill University and then at Simmons College, which often brought me back to the beautiful work of A. A. Milne and E.H. Shepard. Finding Winnie celebrates the incredible legacy of Captain Colebourn following his heart; the making of this book feels like the literary culmination of following my own.

Saho (pictured below): Winnie-the-Pooh was a bear!

I never knew Winnie was inspired by a real girl bear and how she came to inspire Alan Alexander Milne’s books. You don’t need to be a fan of Winnie-the-Pooh to read this book. I actually never read his books as a chid. (I grew up in Japan, and Winnie-the-Pooh was not as popular/known, as he was here in the U.S.). However, I immediately fell in love with Winnipeg, just as Harry and Christopher did.

I love true stories and learning about things I didn’t know through stories. This is one remarkable true story of friendship, love, and history that kids (and adults!) will definitely appreciate.

7-Imp: Describe a part of the Finding Winnie process that was challenging or surprising (or both).

Lindsay: Finding Winnie is my first children’s book, so the entire process has been new, surprising, and completely fascinating to me. It’s hard to explain, but this book has an element of destiny to it. Meeting Susan, who is also from Winnipeg, and finding Sophie, whose first book was Winnie-the-Pooh, are just two examples of the synchronicity that has surrounded this entire project. Right from the beginning, it has felt as though Finding Winnie is an adventure I was meant to have, a journey I was meant to take, a hundred years after my great-grandfather took his.

All in all, it has created magic in my life.

Sophie: Finding Winnie was, by far, the most challenging book I have ever illustrated. It took me over a year — a year in which I visited the archives of the London Zoo to see photographs and news clippings and the ledger in which Winnie’s arrival was recorded by the zookeeper in exquisite copperplate. I went to the War Museum and read soldiers’ diaries, and I traveled the road Harry and Winnie took to the city, past Stonehenge.


Sophie: “The original 1913 map of the London Zoo, which I used as a footprint,
before researching all the buildings. …”

(Click to enlarge)


Sophie: “There are lots of little jokes tucked in here.”
(Click to enlarge)



Final spread: “‘Is that the end?’ ‘That’s the end of Harry and Winnie’s story,’ I said.
‘But I don’t it to be over,’ said Cole. …”

(Click to enlarge)


Back at my desk, several things had me tied up in knots: the bird’s-eye view of the zoo, which involved researching period photographs of every building and cross-referencing those with a footprint map I had from 1913 (I would be looking at, say, the triumphal arch, which led to the giraffe’s exercise yard, trying to determine if there were two or three arches, as in the photographs I found it was always somewhat obscured by trees. Finally deciding on three, I was poised to draw it in, when I found in a tiny note elsewhere that the arch was demolished in 1911. Grr.); getting the train right (luckily, I share a studio with Brian Floca, who offered encouragement—I think I can, I think I can—and access to his library of train books); figuring out the parade of ships with the only existing color reference being a painting called Canada’s Answer [pictured below], an impressionistic interpretation of the crossing made some years after the event; and learning signal flags. (I snuck in a secret message.)



The other two big challenges were the jacket and how to transition from the book-ending of the bedtime story, to Harry and Winnie’s story, to Christopher Robin — and Cole’s interjections throughout. We knew all along that we all wanted the drawings with Cole to evoke E. H. Shepard’s pen and ink illustrations, but how to design the whole so that they could be interwoven seamlessly? It was trial and error and a true collaboration until we got it right.

As for the book jacket, I’ll let Saho talk about that, but I think I sent her a hundred cover drawings (or at least ten). We were down to the wire, through the wire, way beyond the wire, to the point where we sent out the F&Gs with a placeholder jacket. And at the last second, Saho pulled out this glorious surprise, which I love to bits. It makes me happy every time I see it.


Sophie: “A few of the many cover attempts …”


Susan: Finding the right cover kept me up at night, but such things often do. It took the whole team’s dedication to keep at it and find a way to make it truly sing, and I am so pleased with the result. It even looks smashing as a teeny tiny thumbnail online. A feat!

Also, not so surprisingly, I discovered that Sophie Blackall is a mad genius. Her process as an artist is akin to method acting. I fear she nearly bought a bear.


Pictured above: The book’s final cover and what Susan describes as
“the handsome pattern” on a 1950 edition of


Saho: Keeping this book on the Fall ’15 list (along with other Fall titles) was the most challenging part of the process for me. We were moving offices, and I just stepped into the role of Art Director when I inherited this project from the former Art Director, Patti Ann Harris. Fortunately for us, the award-winning designer, Gail Doobinin, was designing the book at the time, and the project was well underway. This book is truly the team’s collective effort. Though we encountered some unexpected obstacles during the project, we managed to stay the course — and the result is a book that is beautiful and distinctive.


Sophie: “One of the joys of working with Little, Brown was the incredibly beautiful production on this book. It’s such a nice thing to hold in your hands. This is the case cover surprise under the jacket. The case cover was inspired
by E. H. Shepard’s endpapers.”

(Click to enlarge second image)


7-Imp: How did the finished book vary or evolve from your initial vision of the book?

Lindsay: Sophie! I remember camping out at bookstores and online for hours, looking at different illustrators. Finally, I came across Sophie’s book Missed Connections with its remarkable images. I went to the bookstore the next day to buy it, and when I read the introduction I knew Sophie would understand the heart of this story. I knew that she understood how a moment in time could change everything. And I knew she had the imagination to bring a single moment to life through an illustration. Sophie’s treatment has brought my story to life in a way I could never have imagined. Her work has captured the emotional moments in the book without sacrificing any of the historical accuracies, which she took great care to get right. I am still in awe and incredibly grateful she said yes!


Sophie’s very first Winnie sketches
(Click to enlarge)


Sophie: When I was pregnant, I spent hours imagining what my babies would be like, but once they were born I couldn’t remember my vision of them. They were just their dear, lumpy little selves. Similarly, I can’t remember my initial vision of Finding Winnie. I did, however, just read over my long email correspondence with Susan Rich. I have never worked this closely with an editor before, and it was an extraordinary experience. This book began with Lindsay’s family story (and what a story!), enriched by its framing as a conversation between parent and child. Susan edited it, which meant living with it, thinking about every nuanced word of it, seeing it before it existed. (I have said this before, but if ever an editor’s name ought to grace the cover of a book …)

And then, scene by scene and page by page, we talked it into being. Oh, and I did some drawing. And then Patti Ann and Gail and Saho leant expertise and ideas, and together we turned a pile of scribbled notes and sketches into a book.

I have culled a bunch of phrases from my emails to and from Susan. It more or less describes the arc of making Finding Winnie:

More sensible correspondence to come.

I’ve been looking deep into Winnie’s eyes. …

What a book we’re building! I am doing a jig.

I always have to remember that it’s not necessary to show everything.

Horses are more romantic and heroic and dashing than cows. …

Wait. … Did you already suggest this to me and I’m just feeding it back to you, pretending it’s my idea?

I write to you, cap in hand. …

… to ask for an extension.

It’s mostly working, I think, with the glaring exception of p. 14. …

I did so wish to be on time. Sorry.

The joy of painting, once the anxious sketching part is over, is a great incentive and reward.

We can go to final!

Crossing fingers, holding breath, muttering apologies. …

This is a beautiful jacket. Lethally appealing. Irresistible.

I think I’m almost pretty sure I like it quite a lot!

And there you go.


The photo of Harry and Winnie
that inspired the statues in Winnipeg and London


Susan: After being submerged in the project’s details, the finished book feels almost unreal to me now — like stepping back from a tiled wall and discovering that it’s a beautiful mosaic.

The most delightful transformation was seeing Sophie’s art printed on paper. It was glorious to see sketches, glorious to see them turn into paintings, and then come together as a book in design, but something truly magical took place in the printing. It is a delicious book.


Sophie: “Playing with type –
before handing it over to an expert”


Saho: Because I wasn’t involved in this project from the very beginning and also the layouts had already been created by the time I got involved, I didn’t have a specific vision for the finished book. However, the jacket still needed a lot of work, and it evolved quite a bit towards the end of the project. As the interior of this book came together, we thought the interior was so extraordinary that we wanted the cover to do the same.

While we all loved the image of Winnie hugging Harry’s boot, we were not sure if the background was as strong as it could be. The original background was very plain with just a suggestion of the ground. Then, we discussed adding grass, sky, branches, a butterfly, hills, soldiers’ tents. … I believe Sophie repainted the cover art at least three times! I echo Susan’s praise. Sophie is GENIUS!

After all those revisions, we revisited the cover yet one more time. This time, we decided to take a new approach and experimented with a bold graphic pattern and finally decided on the current diamond patterned background. We thought the diamond pattern was simple, yet eye-catching, and really helped Winnie and the boot pop.

I definitely speak for the group when I say that we are all very excited about how great this book turned out, and we have Sophie to thank for the stunning art and Lindsay for the incredible text — as well as Susan for her amazing edits. Team Winnie has a lot to be proud of!


(Click to enlarge)


Sophie: “The book had gone off to the printer when an eagle eye at Little, Brown spotted what none of us had noticed: I’d put the wrong Canadian flag! This scene takes place in 1914, but the maple leaf flag was only adopted in 1965. We were able to change it in the nick of time.”
(Click to enlarge)


The final version of the sea crossing, corrected
(Click to enlarge)


7-Imp: What’s next for you?

Lindsay: Last Fall, I worked with Ryerson University in Toronto to curate an incredible exhibition about my family history, called Remembering the Real Winnie: The World’s Most Famous Bear Turns 100. That exhibition will now travel to Winnipeg next Spring and, hopefully, soon to other cities around the world.

Besides Winnie, sharing family stories has always been something that’s particularly important to me. Having a son of my own has definitely cemented my desire to ensure the best of those stories and the characters behind them are passed on. Right now I am working on a new story to share another chapter in our family’s journey.


One of the final spreads: “Harry drove all the way to the Big City.”
Sophie: “A few people have asked me what that tall building is doing sticking up from London’s famously low skyline. It’s a church steeple in a village
on the southwest outskirts of the city.”

(Click to enlarge)


Sophie: I’m putting finishing touches to a picture book called A Voyage in the Clouds, The (Mostly) True Story of the First International Flight by Balloon in 1785, written by Matthew Olshan (The Mighty Lalouche), which comes out next Fall from FSG. And I have a new series of chapter books with John Bemelmans Marciano, called The Witches of Benevento, coming from Viking next Spring!

Susan: It’s an exciting Fall! Besides Finding Winnie, I’m publishing One Today, Richard Blanco’s inaugural poem written for President Obama, magnificently illustrated by Dav Pilkey, who marks his return to picture books with this text. I am also just digging into a new Lemony Snicket picture book that will be great fun.

Saho: We are in the midst of the Fall ’16 list. We have many exiting books on this list, and I can’t wait to share copies of those amazing books with readers next Fall!

* * * * * * *

Pictured immediately above: A photo of Winnie and Christopher Robin in 1925 at the zoo. A. A. Milne watches them from above.

FINDING WINNIE: THE TRUE STORY OF THE WORLD’S MOST FAMOUS BEAR. Copyright 2015 by Lindsay Mattick. Illustrations © 2015 by Sophie Blackall. Published by Little, Brown and Company, New York. All illustrations used by permission.

Photos of Ms. Mattick, Ms. Blackall, Ms. Rich, and Ms. Fujii used by their permissions.

3 Comments on One Picture-Book Roundtable Discussion Before Breakfast #4: Featuring the Women of Finding Winnie, last added: 9/22/2015
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