How do you and your brother, Jack, divide the words and illustrating between you? Since Jack is the writing professor, he gets the first crack at abridging each classic down to 12 words. We both do the needle felting, but I do the set-making and photography.
Do you have favourite images in this book? My favourite image is the shot of Mr. Darcy refusing to dance with Lizzy opposite the word MEAN. It’s simple and gestural, but perfectly captures the tension in their relationship.
Which was the first illustration you completed for this book? The very first shot was actually an outtake: an image of Mr. Darcy walking with Lizzy through a park that didn’t make the cut. The first illustration to actually make it into the final book was FRIENDS, the image of Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley standing together.
Which was the hardest illustration to do for this book? The hardest illustration to do was probably MARRY, because I needed to simulate stained-glass windows in a church. This was achieved with transparent film and black cardstock with window apertures cut out of it.
Do you have a favourite classic? My favourite classic is probably A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. The characters are simply unforgettable.
What’s the best part of your job? Being a children’s author and illustrator affords me a lot of autonomy and gives me a huge sense of purpose. I don’t think you can ask for much more from a job.
What was the most interesting thing you discovered when writing this book? While researching dance in the Regency period, we learned that English country dancing was in fact much more lively and exuberant than the way it is typically portrayed in Jane Austen movies. So we decided to depict Jane and Mr. Bingley dancing with some zest.
What was one of the best things that happened because of this book? Our Cozy Classics series lead to an out-of-the-blue email from Google inviting us to do a Google Doodle in honour of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s 148th birthday. That was a huge surprise—and a huge honour.
What are your favourite tools? I love my hot glue gun. Most of what my kids break I can fix with a hot glue gun! It’s also critical to set-making for our books.
What is something that most people might be surprised to know about you? I used to be a corporate lawyer, and Cozy Classics: Pride and Prejudice was illustrated during evenings and weekends while I managed a busy full-time legal practice. It was only after Cozy Classics hit bookstores that I left law to work on children’s book full time.
Read my review of ‘Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice’ here.