Archive for the 'Interviews' Category

My Chat with Ronald L. Smith, If You Didn’t Know …

h1 Thursday, October 1st, 2015

I … don’t think we as writers should censor ourselves too much when it comes to scary stuff for kids. Everyone likes a good, scary story! These books also help kids learn about life and consequences and bravery.

But don’t make the mistake of talking down to kids or trying to moralize. They can sniff it out miles away.”

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Supernatural Southern Gothic, anyone? Over at Kirkus today, I talk to debut author Ronald L. Smith, pictured here, about his new novel Hoodoo, released last month by Houghton Mifflin.

That conversation is here.

Until tomorrow …

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Photo by Erik Kvalsvik and used by permission of Ronald L. Smith.

Momo & OHora (& Frank Zappa) Before Breakfast

h1 Wednesday, September 30th, 2015

Author-illustrator Zachariah OHora visits 7-Imp today to talk about his newest picture book, My Cousin Momo (Dial, June 2015). Momo is a flying squirrel, and he throws his cousins for a loop when he visits and does things his own way. You know, we all have a cousin like that (thank goodness, because normal people worry me). It’s a story about family and acceptance and embracing your inherent weirdness, and it’s very funny. OHora has a style all his own, and you can see that for yourself below in the art he shares. He also shares some preliminary images, which are always fun to see.

Let’s get right to it. …

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And to Think He Was Almost a Drama Critic . . .

h1 Monday, September 28th, 2015

Right on the heels of his Eric Carle Honor, I have a long chat with editor Neal Porter over at Phil & Erin Stead’s Number Five Bus blog about publishing picture books today and all kinds of other stuff. The Barry Manilow moment is courtesy of the Steads.

That interview is here. It’s got some sneak-peeks at upcoming picture book art (from the likes of Jerry Pinkney, Christian Robinson, Hadley Hooper, Eric Rohmann, Laura Vaccaro Seeger, Phil Stead, Antoinette Portis, and probably more), which makes me especially happy.


One Picture-Book Roundtable Discussion Before Breakfast #4: Featuring the Women of Finding Winnie

h1 Tuesday, September 22nd, 2015

Sophie: “This was the last painting to be finished.
I felt a little bereft when it was all done.”

(Click to enlarge)

Back in the day, I used to do what I called picture-book roundtable discussions here at 7-Imp — in which the author, illustrator, editor, and art director/book designer would join me to give readers varying perspectives on one picture book title. I’ve only done three of these, though I really do enjoy them, and the last one was back in 2011. Wow. It’s been a while.

But I’m happy to be doing it again today with such an impressive book in the spotlight. That book is Lindsay Mattick’s Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear, illustrated by Sophie Blackall. It’ll be on shelves next month from Little, Brown.

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Some Gregarious Art Before Breakfast

h1 Thursday, September 17th, 2015

Three years … of blood, sweat, and tears, which aren’t always my own. There’s too much to write in terms of what I’ve learned, but at the end of the day I know that I feel free,
and we’re doing something that helps people.”


This morning over at Kirkus, I talk to author-illustrator R. Gregory Christie about his new picture book, as well as GAS-ART GIFTS (“Gregarious Art Statements”), what he’s referencing in the quote above — the bookstore and art studio he opened in Decatur, Georgia, about three years back.

That link is here.

Until tomorrow …

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Photo of R. Gregory Christie used by his permission.

Milk & Cookies & Two Mice with Sergio Ruzzier

h1 Tuesday, September 15th, 2015

That’s right. Instead of breakfast, I’m having some cookies and milk today. The above image is the back cover illustration for the new picture book from Sergio Ruzzier, Two Mice (Clarion, September 2015).

I’ve found myself saying lately about a small handful of books, “this is one of my favorite picture books of 2015.” This surprises me, but I guess it shouldn’t, since it’s nearly Fall. Two Mice is on that list. A big story of adventure corralled into a small trim size, just right for tiny hands, it’s this perfectly-contained little universe from Ruzzier, who I think has one of the most distinctive styles of any illustrator working in children’s literature today. The very spare text itself consists of a highly-pleasing number pattern (1-2-3, 3-2-1) all throughout, making it an engaging math puzzler for preschoolers, especially those first beginning to read, and the story is thrilling and cozy all at once.

Sergio visits 7-Imp today to talk about that text and to share some of his watercolors from the book (including some preliminary images). I thank him for visiting.

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As You Wish: A Visit with Greg Pizzoli

h1 Tuesday, September 8th, 2015

Author-illustrator Greg Pizzoli visits 7-Imp today to tell us a bit about his newest picture book, Templeton Gets His Wish (Disney-Hyperion, May 2015). I like this story and the way it swings from desperation to elation à la Sylvester and the Magic Pebble. Templeton’s feelings are intense, as the feelings of young children tend to be, and in the end he sees the great error of his ways. It’s a book that unabashedly embraces its morality, and I look forward to sharing it with groups of children.

I don’t need to tell you the storyline, because Greg does so below. And I don’t need to describe the art, because Greg also shares some below. I thank him for visiting.

Let’s get right to it. … (p.s. This is the second time Greg’s visited 7-Imp this year. You have read Tricky Vic, right?)

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Written and Drawn by Liniers

h1 Thursday, September 3rd, 2015

I never want to pander [to] or patronize kids. They aren’t idiots.
They’re just below eye level.”


This morning over at Kirkus, I talk to Argentine cartoonist Ricardo Siri, otherwise known as Liniers. We talk about a few things, including his newest book, Written and Drawn by Henrietta.

That link is here.

Until tomorrow …

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Photo of Liniers taken by Nora Lezano and used by his permission.

My Rambling Thoughts Well After Breakfast

h1 Thursday, August 27th, 2015

Big thanks to Nick Patton for having me as a guest over at his place, The Picturebooking Podcast, this week.

He and I chat about blogging and why precisely those of us who do it do it, and we talk about 7-Imp and picture books.

AND lots of other stuff.

The link is here.

It was a pleasure to chat with him, and I appreciate the invitation to do so.

Until tomorrow …


Seven Questions Over Breakfast with Daniel Miyares

h1 Tuesday, August 25th, 2015

Author and illustrator Daniel Miyares—whose most recent picture book is Float, published by Simon & Schuster in June (and the subject of my Kirkus column here)—visits for breakfast this morning. Normally, he tells me, he has merely a hot cup of Earl Grey tea with a splash of milk in the fabulous mug his wife gave him, pictured below. (“She gets me,” he adds.) If he’s taking the time to sit down and eat in the mornings, he says, he goes with biscuits. “I grew up in South Carolina,” he tells me. “It’s kind of a requirement.”

Hey, I’m in Tennessee and get this, so biscuits and tea it is.

Daniel is relatively new to picture books, at least in the grand scheme of things, and I thank him for visiting today to tell me and my readers more about his career, his books thus far, and what’s next on his plate.

Let’s get right to it.

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