Q: This is your second book about Bunny--did you always know you'd write a follow-up to Bunny's Staycation?
A: Yes! When my agent sold Bunny’s Staycation, it was done as a two-book deal. So I knew from the start that Bunny would have a follow-up. I didn't know at the time what the follow-up story would be. It was unwritten! I had some ideas, but didn't know what direction we would go in.
Q: Do you usually focus on the text first or the illustrations first--or work on them simultaneously?
A: I like to focus on the text. Drawing comes much more naturally to me, so unless I have some sense of the writing and story arc, I can feel a bit of stress while I am working on the project. To begin drawing first almost feels like I am avoiding the hard part, if that makes sense!
When I have a story outline, at the very least, I feel like I have clearer direction and can work more confidently. That said, as I work on the art, I edit the text. So the process absolutely does become simultaneous at that point.
Q: What do you hope kids take away from the story?
A: There is often mystery surrounding what parents do at work. I hope kids and parents can have more conversations about what they do at work, and that the book helps foster curiosity and questions.
I also want kids to think creatively about problem solving. Sometimes we are in difficult situations, but we all possess the superpower to think out of the box and come up with solutions.
Q: What first got you interested in creating children's picture books?
A: I've always been in awe of picture books -- the marriage of text and images as an art form is just so special. And I love how books are often a child's first introduction to different kinds of art! I had an entire career before I started making books -- I was an art director at a media company. So this was a career change for me!
Q: What are you working on now?
A: Since the pandemic began, I have been working on a lot of client projects. Being at home in close quarters with my family has made doing creative work quite a challenge. I just got a new workstation for home, so I hope this ignites my creative fires!
Q: Anything else we should know?
A: I have a book coming out this December called Porcupine Cupid, written by Jason June. It is a really fun Valentine's Day story about mischief and love!
--Interview with Deborah Kalb