How I came to love reading:
I have my parents to thank. Dad was the one who read to us, mostly adventure stories from the latest Reader’s Digest. He acted out the “I survived a bear attack” narratives (which appeared in the magazine with alarming frequency), complete with growling effects and side commentaries.
The voice in my head when I read to myself as a child was often that of my father.
Mom loved books too. She finished the piles my sister, and I brought home in night-long, marathon sessions. However, I don't have many memories of my mother reading out loud to us, nor of her teaching me the alphabet. What I remember is sitting on her lap.
To explain: My folks were not religious initially, but having a family changed that. The denomination they chose suited their tastes with its emphasis on the extensive study of the Bible and Bible-based literature.
As a toddler, I sat on my mother’s lap for hours during meetings, watching her finger move on the page while hearing the lines read out by various speakers. My mom only intended to keep a restless three-year-old occupied through hours of church.
She ended up teaching me to read.
"The rhythm of these sentences is regular; it is the rhythm of the skiers’ movements; the repeated “ess” sounds evoke the swish of the skis on snow...What we hear in Kate’s words is as important as what she makes us hear in between the words — the space, the hush of this winter landscape."
This is a wonderful article, using Over and Under the Snow as a case study in the principles of language & art used in picture books--take a look:
Every artist has a process that is unique to their aesthetic and their chosen media. I'm a "traditional" artist, working with real world materials. In my case, that is mostly cut paper, watercolor pencils, and ink. I thought it might be fun to take you guys on a behind-the-scenes tour of the creation of one a recent portfolio piece.
I chose the German fairytale of the cobbler and the elves. You'll remember that it's about a poor shoemaker, desperate and hungry, down to his last pieces of leather. He had just enough to make one more pair of shoes, the sale of which were all that stood between his family and starvation.
Miraculously, elves come in a series of nights, making shoes so magnificent that the cobbler is pulled up out of poverty. In gratitude, the shoemaker and his wife make clothes for the elves, after which the elves leave and are never seen again.
In deciding on the composition, I took a bit of inspiration from Alfred Hitchcock. I remember watching a documentary about Hitchcock's ingenious ways of getting an audience engaged in his movies. One scene in the film stuck with me, one where there is a woman sitting on a bed, talking on the telephone. The way the scene was shot with the view of her inside the scene partly blocked by a doorway.
The Endpapers blog has been on hiatus for about six months due to a family situation. I'm happy to say that the blog is up and running again. There are a lot of cool things to share with my own work, as well as those of other aspiring author/illustrators. Coming soon will be a post about creating this fun piece, as well as some new interviews. Stay tuned!
I teach an addictions class, as a retired therapist. For fun, I enjoy gardening. I also love to hike the mountains near our cabin in the Tetons.
What sparked your interest in becoming a kid-lit and picture book creator?
I have always wanted to write, but I wasn’t really in touch with my feelings until after I retired. Then I decided I would do a few of the things that were dear to my heart. Writing children’s picture books was one of them.
I come from an extensive entertainment background. My mom started the ﬁrst entertainment agency in Miami, and my brother was a magician. Luckily for me, I was born into a “platform.” (I only wish that the internet was available at this time!)
As young as 16, I was already dreaming up stories to produce. My ﬁrst interactive production was The Disappearance of Dino Dinero. I cast celebrity look-alikes for all of the parts. It was a blast!
Along the way, people took credit for my work, I experienced self-doubt, and my knees knocked when an authority ﬁgure insinuated that they were the only conduit to success. Taking from my knowledge, if I can empower children to own their creative power, then I will feel more accomplished than any big professional title.
What are your earliest memories of books?
My favorite book was about a ﬁsh who swam in the wrong direction. When all the ﬁsh were going this way, he’d go that way. I believe the name of the book was Arthur. My dad would read it to me when I was a starry-eyed six-year-old. Maybe that’s why I have always leaped into the unknown, ﬁnding my north star.
How does your background in musicals crossover into creating picture books?