Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Picture Book Thursday (a little early): Clink


Since tomorrow is Thanksgiving, I thought I would put tomorrow's post out a little early.  Today is my last November post for Picture Book Month, and I'm featuring one of my favorite authors, Michigander Kelly DiPucchio.  Enjoy!

Manufactured by: Kelly DiPucchio and Matthew Myers
Published April 1st 2011 by Balzer + Bray

CLINK is a heart-warming story about an old robot who needs a home. He was a World's Fair Award winner who could play music and make toast at the same time.  But that doesn't interest the buyers who come into the robot shop. Clink would watch as other robots were sold to new owners and cry rusty tears. Then one day, he gets the surprise of his life when a young boy actually wants HIM!  A great story of acceptance and not trying to change who you are for others.

Now, let me turn things over to Kelly DiPucchio. Kelly has 13 books to her credit, and stated, "My 13th picture book was released in August of this year. I think it’s kind of appropriate that book #13 was ZOMBIE IN LOVE." I have also reviewed her bestselling GRACE FOR PRESIDENT.

1. What was your inspiration for CLINK?
About 3-4 years ago I received an email from an illustrator who wrote to compliment me on a picture book of poetry I wrote called SIPPING SPIDERS THROUGH A STRAW.  In his note, he invited me to check out his website.  To be honest, I had little or no expectations when I clicked on the link.

Boy, was I surprised!  His online portfolio was amazing!  His art was quirky and ironic and I could immediately tell his style was perfect for children’s books. While browsing the site, I noticed a lot of really cool robots.  There was one painting in particular that caught my eye.  It was a picture of an old robot sitting on a bench in a subway station. The robot looked very sad and dejected.  I wondered why.  I knew he had a story to tell.  So, I wrote it. 

If you haven’t guessed by now, the artist who wrote to me that day was Matthew Myers, the illustrator of CLINK.  After I checked out Matt’s portfolio I immediately forwarded his website to my agent, who immediately saw what I saw, and welcomed him into the fold. Several months later, Matt and I both had contracts with Balzer & Bray to publish CLINK.

2. You write in both prose and rhyme.  How do you decide which way to go when writing a picture book?
That’s a good question and one that comes up from time to time.  For me, it’s not really a conscious decision. The format is almost always determined by the first couple of lines in the story.  Sometimes the lines will pop into my head in rhyme, and other times, I will hear them in prose. I have no idea how or why that happens, but those beginning lines invariably set the course for the remainder of the story. I actually prefer to write in prose so when the lines come to me in rhyme, they’re often followed by a strong urge to bang my head repeatedly against a hard surface.  Writing in rhyme is much more difficult for me!

3. Do you have any future projects you could share about? 
I’m really excited about a picture book I have coming out in February called CRAFTY CHLOE. It’s the first book in a new series with Simon & Schuster about a little girl who loves to make stuff.  Heather Ross is the illustrator, and she did an amazing job of capturing the creative spirit of Chloe.

4. What are your thoughts on the future of picture books?
I’m not usually a Chicken Little but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little nervous about the future of picture books. Younger generations of readers don’t have the same love affair with books like older generations do.  I love the smell of new books.  I get excited by pristine book jackets and interesting covers. I swoon over bins of old books and the dog-eared pages of beloved classics.  Teenagers today are completely comfortable getting all of their information and entertainment in electronic form.  In fact, they expect to get it that way.  It won’t be very long before these same kids will be having children of their own. Will they go out of their way to buy traditional books for their children or will they do what they’ve grown accustomed to doing– downloading files from a computer? That being said, I certainly hope there’s room in the future for both traditional books and eBooks.

5. Do you have any helpful insights for aspiring picture book writers?
It would be hard for me to add anything that hasn’t already been said a thousand times.  If aspiring writers are doing their homework, they know what to do.  At the risk of sounding like a fortune cookie, I offer this insight: Writers are more likely to reach their goals if they’re having fun and enjoying the process. I have met some of my very best friends in this industry because we share the same ups and downs of the business. We laugh. We cry. We gossip. And we complain. But then we get back to work. Having a network of support with other kindred spirits is invaluable both personally and professionally.

Thank you so much for sharing with us, Kelly!  For more info, please check out Kelly's website.  Today concludes my posts with Michigan authors.  I hope you enjoyed these past few weeks.  It has been fun to share them with you. Check back for more exciting and entertaining picture books and even more links with more info.

And again, a Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving to you and your families!