What do children’s writers and illustrators read in their spare time? In this series of interviews with B.C. book folks, we discuss everything from guilty reading pleasures to the best literary villains. If you’d like to share some favourites of your own, please leave a comment!
What books are on your end table right now?
I usually have a whole stack of books that I’m reading and evaluating for my creative writing classes. Right now the stack of books on my studio desk includes Peter Nimble and his Fantastic Eyes by Jonathan Auxier (currently reading), Masterpiece by Elizabeth Broach (just read), and Darth Paper Strikes Back by Tom Angelberger (just read).
Who’s your favourite author/illustrator of all time?
My legal disclaimer is that I reserve the right to change my mind tomorrow. But for today, I’ll say Terry Pratchett is my favourite author. He wrote the Tiffany Aching series. For my favourite illustrator I’ll pick John R. Neill. He illustrated the Oz series in the first twenty years of the 20th century and I love his art-deco style. His work has inspired and informed my own since I was a child.
Where is the best place to curl up with a good book?
When I’m reading a good book, I’m completely transported away to the world the author is creating for me.
Which is best: hardcover, softcover, or e-book?
I love a good hardcover book.
Who’s your favourite literary hero?
Tiffany Aching from the Terry Pratchett books. She comes armed with a giant frying pan and the best of sidekicks — the Wee Free Men. They can escape from anywhere (well, except a pub).
Who’s your favourite literary villain?
I love Cruella de Vil from the original 101 Dalmations book by Dodie Smith. Her descriptions (both in the words and illustrations) are the basis for her wonderful depiction in the film adaptations.
If you could have dinner with three writers or illustrators, whom would you choose?
Well, some of my favourite people in the world are authors and illustrators, so I’m lucky enough to eat dinner all the time with fellow CWILLers James McCann, kc dyer, and Kallie George. But if I had to choose three other authors, I would choose Kate DiCamillo (The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane), Michael Morpurgo (The Butterfly Lion) and Tom Angelberger (The Strange Case of Origami Yoda). I’ve already met Tom and had breakfast with him and he’s one of the nicest people in the world I’ve ever met. Add Ms. DiCamillo and Mr. Morpurgo and I think we’d have a hoot.
What series did you read growing up?
I read the Oz series, Narnia, Encyclopedia Brown, and the Hardy Boys.
If you could do the illustrations for a classic, which book would you choose?
I would choose Watership Down, just because it’s my favourite book of all time, but it’s not one that is normally illustrated.
Do you have a guilty reading pleasure?
As someone who teaches creative writing full time to kids, I tend to only have time to read children’s books. If I ever read a novel written for adults, then I suppose that is my guilty pleasure.
Are you more likely to be caught reading a zombie novel or a sentimental romance?
I’m probably more likely to be bitten by a zombie or a sentimental romantic than to ever read a book in one of those two genres.