Alice Feagan is the author and illustrator of the new picture book The Collectors, which focuses on two kids who love to collect natural wonders. She has illustrated the picture books School Days Around the World and Read Island. She lives in Edwards, Colorado.
Q: Did you work on the text or the illustrations of The Collectors first, or did you create them simultaneously?
A: Actually the image of the cave came first, followed by the collection in the treehouse. Editors or art directors who would see these images would say things like “there's a book here” or “tell me what the story is about.”
These comments and this interest really encouraged me to jump into writing and I spent a long time reading about writing and working through drafts before I sent the dummy book off to Katie Scott at Kids Can Press.
Q: How did you first get interested in creating children's picture books?
A: Looking back I was always surrounded by books and art. My mother was a public school librarian and I spent many teacher work days curled up in the library reading my favorite books.
I also loved making art as a child and could often be found painting, drawing, building, or creating something. That love of art really guided me into the field of illustration, but the love of stories that was instilled at a young age made me want to focus on the world of picture books.
Q: What do you hope kids take away from the story?
A: I think the book will mean different things to different people. Some kids might relate to the characters through their friendship, sense of determination, or interests in the natural world. Others will see a place they do not get to experience on a daily basis or maybe have never experienced.
I certainly hope The Collectors will inspire a curiosity in nature and exploration, and maybe this sense of curiosity and perseverance in Rosie and Winslow will rub off on young readers picking up this book.
Q: What are you working on now?
A: My third book, Read Island (written by debut author Nicole Magistro), just released Oct. 5! A celebration of nature, books, and the importance of stories, Read Island invites kids to experience the diversity and wonder of a hidden and wild place.
We've been busy launching this book and I'm also working on a few new manuscripts.
Q: Anything else we should know?
A: I’ll be hosting a Read Island giveaway on Instagram soon if anyone wants to follow along @acfeagan.
--Interview with Deborah Kalb