I've been thumbnailing BABYMOUSE #14 frantically all week (still am), so I haven't had time to give this unbelievable interview its due:
Seven (Give or Take) Questions Over Breakfast with Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm
Jules' interview with us covers everything from breakfast foods (eggs vs. leftover Chinese food) to our road to publishing to thoughts about the writing process to upcoming titles. Boy, we just prattle on and on, don't we? Some selections:
Jules: Any more historical fiction (novels) ahead in your future, you think?also:
Jenni: Yes, finally, I have a new historical coming out in May 2010. (Sorry, I have been very slowed down by popping out kids.) It’s called Turtle in Paradise and is inspired by my Key West family. It involves diaper changing, scorpions, treasure and, well, just read it already!
...Jules: What’s been some of your best Babymouse fan mail?
Jenni: I just got an email from a man asking me if I would sign books for his girlfriend as a romantic gift. I can’t decide whether to be freaked out or charmed.
Jules: Any other new titles/projects you might be working on now that you can tell me about?
Jenni: Matt and I are putting to bed the first of a new graphic novel series called Squish. It’s about amoebas. Yes, amoebas.
Jules: What is your favorite curse word? (optional)And a few from me:
Jenni: Let me ask my six-year-old son, Will.
Will: “Mommy says a lot of bad words but I can’t say them or I get in time-out is this a trick I don’t want time-out but one is really bad even my teacher says so can I have some ice cream now?”
Jules: What sound or noise do you love?
Jules: What sound or noise do you hate?
Jenni: “Mommy, I feel sick!” followed by barfing.
1. Jules: What exactly is your process when you are illustrating a book? You can start wherever you’d like when answering: getting initial ideas, starting to illustrate, or even what it’s like under deadline, etc. Do you outline a great deal of the book before you illustrate or just let your muse lead you on and see where you end up?
Matt: When I was in college, my fiction teachers told me that the way to write was simply to start writing and see where the characters took you—never outline, never plan more than a paragraph ahead. Having written a large number of things in the years since then, I find that advice to be utter nonsense. I much prefer the advice I got from my painting and figure drawing teachers, which was to never focus on a single part of the page or canvas, but to work everywhere all at once, so that you gradually move from roughed-in composition to finer and finer details, all over the scene. That’s how I treat writing (by outlining and by jotting down key moments/dialogue/etc. that I want to place in each scene) and drawing.
...3. Jules: As a book lover, it interests me: What books or authors and/or illustrators influenced you as an early reader?
Matt: For me, it was Dr. Seuss and Charles Schulz all the way. I divided my time evenly between reading Peanuts cartoon collections and reading Seuss books. We had tons of both and hardly any other kids’ books. I remember maybe one Richard Scarry book, one Berenstain Bears book, a scattering of Sesame Street books (like The Monster at the End of this Book), and Go, Dog. Go! All the rest were Seuss. I never read many of the other “classics.” I never read Goodnight Moon until we had to parody it in Babymouse. I never read Where the Wild Things Are until this year. And, after the picture-book phase ended, I read few middle-grade chapter books. I don’t think I’ve ever read a Judy Blume book. As soon as I could, I moved straight to fantasy and sci-fi novels.
...6. Jules: What’s one thing that most people don’t know about you?
Matt: Apparently, that I listen to Vanessa Carlton and Ashlee Simpson! Also, I was once in an independent film called The Hall Monitor. It was a dark comedy, and I played a football player who gets bumped off by a mysterious serial killer.
Best of all, it wraps up with the Star Wars theme! What more could you want out of an interview?