Monday, April 22, 2013

The Next Big Thing!

It’s a global blog tour that started Down Under and has tagged numerous, FABULOUS illustrators and author/illustrators along the way. And now The Next Big Thing is here! Rules: answer the same ten questions about your work, then tag up to five wonderful artists whose work you want to champion. I’ve been tagged by Nancy Doniger, illustrator of the new book by Bob Raczka, Lemonade: and Other Poems Squeezed from a Single Word.  You can see more of her work at her blog .

Here we go…
1. What is the working title of your next book?
I’m always working on book ideas. I keep a journal with key phrases, titles, an opening paragraph to a few pages of a story. The ideas are for picture books through YA. I’m almost finished with a YA novel, and I’m currently revisiting my story Cricket (working title) with some illustration revisions before I send it out. 

2. Where did the idea come from for the book?
I was enjoying an afternoon at the NY Botanical Gardens and the sunlight hit an acorn cap on the path I was walking on. The story came to me literally in that moment. And I chose chipmunks as my characters because they’re so darn cute the way they scamper around. I imagine what they could be doing in their world and the story of an artist chipmunk who makes things with the plants and flowers popped into my head. Alter ego perhaps? Let’s see, cute (√), artistic (√). Hmm, her room is much neater than mine ever was. 
Donna Miskend
3. What genre does your book fall under? It’s a book about dealing with being a bit of an outsider, feeling insecure about being different but coming out stronger in the end. I think 4-8 is a good age range because kids can feel pressure to fit in starting very young.

4. What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
These would be animated characters, but I’d love to see Bette Midler play the mother. She’s always been her own person creatively and she supports the Central Park Conservancy, so the Botanical Gardens is a similar venture.

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Cricket is about celebrating individuality through art. 

6. Who is publishing your book? 
I don't have a publisher yet. 

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
This one flowed pretty quickly and I had a first draft in a day. I wrote it at the garden. I think visually when I write so I made rough doodles for the artwork as I wrote the text idea. The next steps moved right along. I made a thumbnail draft to map out the story. After that I worked separately on the manuscript to get the text in order. Now I’m tweaking the illustrations and doing a couple more color pieces to give a better feel of the overall style of the book.

8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes. The other chipmunks in my story make fun of Cricket's name too. 

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?
The heart of the story is about individuality. My parents encouraged me to be true to who I am and not be swayed by peer pressure. In my story the other animals make fun of Cricket and her creations. Her mother tells her to be herself. Cricket’s creations are unique and although it’s hard for her not to conform, in the end she is rewarded for that. Nature inspired me as well. I love to paint flowers and I knew I wanted to use the things I saw in the Botanical Gardens in my book. 
Donna Miskend
10. What else about the book might pique the reader's interest?
Cricket's creations are assemblages of different parts of flowers, leaves, pinecones, etc. I hope it inspires kids to make things themselves. 

Thank you for joining me on this tour. I also interview people in the arts about their work at my Conversations blog. Click here to visit. 
And for the next stop on the tour of The Next Big Thing I’ve tagged: 
Vicky Rubin    
Vicky Rubin

Click on the name to link to her site. I know you will enjoy seeing her work