Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Q+A with Nina Laden

 As part of an internet book tour, picture book author and illustrator Nina Laden posted a nice Q+A about her upcoming book, Once Upon a Memory, which happens to be illustrated by me!

I have reposted it below, but you can visit her site HERE to see the read the real thing :

  What is the working title of your next book?
 The title, which is the actual title, not the working title is "Once Upon A Memory." The working title was "Does A Feather Remember?" which shows that working titles do change!

 Where did the idea come from for the book?
 The idea actually came from an eagle feather that I found on our beach. There is a belief in Native American/First Nations culture that eagle feathers should be left to return to the creator. I held the feather and wondered, "does a feather remember it once was a bird?" That question led to many others, which led me to write the poem that became the book. The poem is about memory and transformation, but it's ultimately about childhood. It has many layers and is conceptual and deep.

 What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition? 
 This is funny. I have other books I've written and illustrated that I would love to pick out actors to play... but this book is not character based, even though the illustrations do have incredible characters in them. I would pick a fine animation house to do a beautiful animated short that would win an Oscar- in my dreams! Maybe Morgan Freeman with his soothing, velvety voice could read the text.

 Who is publishing your book?
 Little, Brown Books for Young Readers is the publisher. It will be out in December 2013, so stay tuned!

 How long did it take you write the first draft of the manuscript? 
 Truthfully, this was written over a period of a couple of years. I started the initial poem and wrote a good chunk of it. Then I let it sit for a while. When I started to think that maybe it was a book, I thought it was a board book for toddlers, and I submitted it that way. Then it revealed itself to be a picture book, and my editor Connie Hsu at Little, Brown gave me thoughts and comments. We went back and forth as I shaped it into the final evocative piece it became.

 What else about the book might pique the reader's interest?
 I wrote this book at a particularly difficult period in my life. Up until this point, my previous books (over a dozen titles) have been quite different than "Once Upon A Memory," but I'm quite proud that I had to dig deep to produce this, and I hope that it will show a very enchanting and magical side of my writing that hasn't been seen before. There is a poet that lives in me, and she is in the pages of this book.

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