“What is the Next Big Thing?” you might wonder. I’ll tell ya… It’s an author blog tour that started in Australia I don’t know how far back when. The idea is that it gives authors and illustrators a chance to share work and then tag others to share their work and so on and so forth.
I was tagged by Susan Miller, a wonderful artist I met on a bus ride from NYC to Honesdale, PA where we spent then weekend at the Highlights Magazine for Children Illustrators’ Party held every fall. We’ve both worked for the company in the past, and it’s a great event to meet other artists and writers associate with the magazine and relax in a beautiful, bucolic environment with our families. Susan’s work can be viewed here. Please go check it out! She paints adorable illustrations as well as 3-D ornaments!
As for the questions…..
1) What is the working title of your next book?
2) Where did the idea come from for the book?
I think she got the idea from seeing all the different truck stops in the country. Also, there are no truck stop books! I discovered this while doing research for the book. So I think it will fill a nice niche.
3) What genre does your book fall under?
It’s for young children and is a picture book. Any kid who loves vehicles will love this book!
4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Hmmm. There are a lot of truck drivers in it, and a boy who is the main protagonist, and his mom and dad and uncle who run the truck stop.
I see James Gandolfini as one of the truckers. He needs to break out of his “mob” typecasting rut. Ah, to be a casting director…
5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Trucker friends gather for breakfast at a family owned truck stop, but realize that Green Gus is missing — who will find him?
6) Who is publishing your book?
It will be published mid-May by Viking/Penguin.
7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
Actually I didn’t, but it took a long time for research and sketching when planning the illustrations! About 6 months I think. We were traveling during that period, so I visited various trucks stops in Illinois and California. I also visited a lot of diners and took many pictures and did many, many sketches. I just love homey ‘Mom and Pop’ places. I tried to capture that feeling in my artwork.
8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
As I said before, surprisingly there aren’t really any truck stop books. But there are a lot of truck books, so it would fit with that. I have also done two truck (vehicle) books in the past, Good Night Engines and Wake Up Engines, by Denise Dowling-Mortensen.
9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?
It’s actually written by the legendary Anne Rockwell, and it is beautiful story. I knew I wanted to illustrate when I first read it. I love that idea of the truckers each having a different personality that matches their trucks, and also that matches their breakfasts!
10) What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
This book is PERFECT for young kids interested in trucks for sure! Also any kids who are foodies (e.g. my son) will like it too. I had a lot of fun making each piece of breakfast food out of paper and gluing it together!
I will be doing another post about Truck Stop in May when it is officially released. You can be sure there will be recipes involved! Also a giveaway of a signed copy. 🙂
For next week’s Next Big Thing, I tagged Nancy Doniger, who illustrates children’s books and does editorial illustration for the New York Times. Her book Lemonade: and Other Poems Squeezed From a Single Word is out now. Look for her post next week, April 11th!