Thursday, May 20, 2021

Q&A with Anne Renaud



Photo by Magenta Photo Studio


Anne Renaud is the author of the new children's picture book Gwendolyn's Pet Garden. Her other books include The Boy Who Invented the Popsicle. She lives in Montreal.


Q: What inspired you to write Gwendolyn's Pet Garden?


A: My niece Emma has always desperately wanted a pet, but her parents refuse, for various reasons, including severe allergies. I was trying to see what viable solution I might bring to this scenario, given that research shows that pets help children develop self-esteem, empathy, and a sense of responsibility.   

I hit upon the idea of caring for a potted plant, which then morphed into growing a pet garden.


Q: What do you think Rashin Kheiriyeh's illustrations add to the book?

A: I think they add a certain whimsy with her characters’ rubber-like and elongated limbs, now there’s a mouthful!  I love the color palate, which is bright and vibrant, as well as her use of collage to integrate real elements.   


Q: What do you hope kids take away from the story?


A: That plants are living, breathing entities that require love and nurturing. I also hope it gives young readers incentive to start a garden of their own.


Ultimately, it would be wonderful if readers encouraged their local library to incorporate a seed lending library, if they do not have one already.  


Q: Do you have a garden? If so, what's your favorite thing to plant?


A: Sadly, I have no horticultural talents to speak of. I do not garden and I think potted plants shudder at the sight of me when I turn up at the florist. They sense their days are numbered should I decide to take them home with me.


Don’t get me wrong. I do water them, talk to them, and do my very best to care for them. But it seems that no matter what I do, the outcome is always the same. An abbreviated lifespan.     


Q: What are you working on now?


A: I am editing a French picture book manuscript that is scheduled for publication in 2022. 


I am also working on a sequel to my French picture book entitled Albertine Petit-Brindamour déteste les choux de Bruxelles (Albertine Petit-Brindamour Does NOT Like Brussels Sprouts). My hope is to develop it into a series. 


I am also ruminating an idea for an English picture book, which I prefer keeping under wraps for now. And, as always, I am trolling for new ideas.   


Q: Anything else we should know?


A: I recently changed representation. My new agent is Olga Filina of 5 Otter Literary. I am thrilled to be partnering with her. She has three of my manuscripts out on submission, so I am keeping my fingers crossed.  


--Interview with Deborah Kalb. Here's a previous Q&A with Anne Renaud.

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