Dancing and twirling to the music of a choral octet, and then falling down with glee, the children in my illustrations got into the spirit of UC Berkeley’s Free Fall All – musical venues around the campus free to the public. I was waiting in line to see the free concert by The Alexander Quartet. Cal students suddenly showed up and entertained the waiting crowd by singing a cappella. These kids showed up too, and were wildly enthusiastic, getting into the music with abandon. Their “in the moment” shenanigans inspired the illustrations, which started as chunky charcoal drawings in ocher, and evolved with color and collage.
I was asked by artist illustrator Sara Kahn to participate in The Next Big Thing Blog Tour, which highlights authors and/or illustrators and their latest books. You can see Sara’s luminous watercolor illustrations and read her interesting blog tour post from May 16, here. My blog will answer questions asked of all the participants in the blog tour and tell you something about my book, Smelling Sunshine, which will be published in September, 2013. So here we go!
What is the title of your soon to be published book?
Where did the idea come from for the book?
Smelling Sunshine is a picture book for young children. However, I know adults who enjoy reading the book because it recalls a fond experience in their childhood.
What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Smelling Sunshine would have a cast of international actors since it is a multi-cultural story.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Smelling Sunshine is a story that creates a path through various cultures by describing one world doing an ordinary chore of hanging laundry that becomes extraordinary in its personal nighttime comfort.
Who is publishing your book?
How long did it take you to write your book? And how long did it take to complete the illustrations?
The idea was percolating for several years before I wrote the first draft which took a month. Then it went through many edits, all with the encouragement of my illustrator/ writer’s group. As the author and illustrator of Smelling Sunshine, I found it helpful to illustrate and write simultaneously, and as a result I made hundreds of charcoal drawings. The final paintings took about six months.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Because Smelling Sunshine does not have a protagonist, I would compare its narrative style to The Quiet Book by Deborah Underwood.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
We tend to think of ourselves, our lives, as separate from others. I wanted to show a connection among people from diverse backgrounds. Hanging laundry with someone you love is a simple, shared task everywhere. Compassionate understanding can start with something this elemental.
What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
Finding out what the smell of sunshine is and how it is recalled at the end of the day is at the heart of the book. My illustration technique may also be of interest; I use paint and paper in the illustrations that I call collage paintings. I make my own papers and use found materials.
Who is participating next on The Next Big Thing Blog Tour?
A week from today, May 30, the blog tour features Daniel San Souci, illustrator of the beautifully illustrated picture book, Yosemite’s Songster, One Coyote’s Story, and the author, Ginger Wadsworth. Ginger wraps up the factual information about coyotes in a great story. It’s a wonderful book. You can find Daniel at www.danielsansouci.com and Ginger at www.gingerwadsworth.com
Thanks for stopping by The Next Big Thing Blog Tour.