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Frequently Asked Questions...

Do you like being an author illustrator?
I LOVE being an author/illustrator. Not only do I get to write stories, but I can create the pictures I see in my head to go with the words. Then I get to go into schools and meet with children who love stories too.

What do you like better, writing or illustrating?
That is a difficult choice. The writing is like working on a puzzle. First you get the spark of an idea. Then you begin to craft it into something. You keep at it until all of the pieces fit, the story, the charm, the twist, and all told in as few words as possible. The art is satisfying when it is done but it takes a long time and bending over the desk is not so good for my neck, but I get ideas in my head and I want to see them on paper, so I keep on making more books!

 
 

How long does it take to make a book?
Roughly a year. Six months for me, and six months on the production/printing side.

Where do your ideas come from?
They come from all over the place! The key is to be curious, pay attention to random thoughts, then to take time to write things down.

How did you think up Elliot Moose?
Elliot grew out of my days as a toymaker. I sold the toy company when my children were young and he was the little moose that I never got to make. In the toy company we had made Canadiana moose, they were on all fours, had big antlers, and looked more like real moose than Elliot. I had always thought that one day I would design a teddy-moose, one on two legs. It turned out that I wrote stories about him first, before designing the Elliot toy.

How did you think up Pierre le Poof?
I came home late one day, really tired. I flopped down on the couch and began to channel hop – something that I rarely do. Images flashed in front of me, quickly flying by, but then I saw something odd and slowly went back through the channels until I found it again. It was a little black poodle covered in pompoms. He was running beside a lady, all dressed up in her finery and they were circling a big arena. The dog had so many pompoms that I wondered what he thought of his ridiculous hairdo. I figured he’d rather be out running wild and getting dirty, like a regular dog.

What were your influences?
I used to enjoy British stories, like “The Steadfast Tin Soldier” and “The Velveteen Rabbit”, stories where inanimate toys come to life.

 
 

What comes first, the words or the pictures?
That’s a great question. Usually I write the story first. But sometimes, a story will start with an image in my head, as in Elliot’s Bath, when I imagined how cute Elliot would look if he were wet and saw the image that is now on the front cover.

What is your favourite Elliot Moose book?
That’s like asking a mother to choose between her children!!

Do you still have your dog Toby?
No. Toby passed away. He occupied a huge space in my heart and my children and I still miss him. We have a new girl beagle now, her name is Tillie and she has a completely different personality from Toby, but she is a master thief with food, just like Toby was.

Was it fun to work on a TV show?
It was very exciting to work on the television show. My role was that of the underlying creator, so I consulted on things like costumes, set design, voice acting, and stories. I was one voice in many that worked on the show.

     
 
 
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