Tiny Talk Tuesday with . . . E.B. Lewis!

lewis I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to meet E.B. Lewis at a LA conference. His work in watercolor is wonderfully rich in detail and expressive.

E.B. Lewis has illustrated sixty-five books for children. Yowsah! Lewis displayed artistic promise as early as third grade. He attended Temple University Tyler School of Art where he discovered his love for working with watercolors. In 1992, he began painting illustrations for the book, Fire on the Mountain, and his career as an “Artistrator” was launched.  E.B. Lewis has received numerous awards, including a 2003 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award Winner for Talkin’ About Bessie; a 2009 Coretta Scott King Honor Award for The Bat Boy and Circle-Cover-353x400His Violin; a 2005 Caldecott Honor for Coming on Home Soon; and a 2009 Coretta Scott King Honor Award for The Negro Speaks of Rivers. He won the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award in 2003.

His work is owned by numerous private collectors and sold by art galleries throughout the United States. His most recent book is Jacqueline Woodson’s, Each Kindness. You can find him at http://www.eblewis.com.

I hope you enjoy this special “tiny” talk.

ME: Finish this sentence. A perfect day would involve . . .

E.B. : Walking along the Seine river, with a special friend.

ME: Tell us something that has been in the vault. Something hardly anyone knows about you.

E.B. : Not ready to reveal those secrets, that’s why they’re in the vault.

ME: Describe your illustrating style.

E.B.: Poetic

ME: If you could sit and have a drink with famous artist/illustrator dead or alive who would it be, and why?

E.B. : Picasso. I’ve always loved is approach to art. He used his work to express what he felt about life.

ME: Who influenced your illustrating career/passion?

E.B. : Every artist I’ve come in contact with, both dead and alive in every genre.

It was my pleasure to interview E.B. Lewis. I thank you for taking the time to chat. I look forward to seeing more of your brilliant illustrations in the near future.

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Tiny Talk Tuesday With . . . Dee Leone

dee Dee and I go way back. Way before I started writing. I got to know her on a more personal level. I moved out of the area for a couple of years. Then one day I was at the Houston SCBWI conference and we bumped into each other. I’m like, “You’re a writer?” And she’s like, “You write too?” And sincebizz that day, we’ve been critique partners ever since. What I didn’t know when we first met was she has a knack for writing poetry and has quite a humorous writing style when she wants to.

Last year, Dee delighted us with the news that she was to have her first children’s book published with Penguin. Bizz & Buzz are two adorable bees who are great friends that love buzzing around together. In this book they decide to recreate a favorite recipe, but make simple mistakes. When they need a little flour they decide to find a little flower. A great play with homophones.

Dee is not new to the writing world. She has written several reproducible books for the educational market, covering themes such as science, language arts, and holidays. In addition, many of her stories, poems, plays, and activity puzzles have appeared in children’s magazines. She presently is represented by Jennifer DeChiara.

Now  IMG_1870 for the interview with one of my favorite authors.

ME: Tell us something that has been in the vault. Something hardly anyone knows about you.

DEE: In high school, I was determined to make the gymnastics team. One practice session, the coach told me I should consider trying a handspring vault. Not wanting to mess up in front of her, I later set the apparatus on a low setting and had two students spot me. What they “spotted” was me flying completely over the vault and crash landing.

The coach didn’t see that 2.0 performance but was impressed with my other skills. She took me aside and basically told me I’d make the team if I tried out. I was thrilled… until I learned how much the team apparel was going to cost. There was no way my family could afford it.

The next day, I told my mother I was ill. It wasn’t exactly a lie because I was sick to my stomach. I missed school and tryouts. To this day, my mother and the coach have no idea why. There you have it… what’s been “in the vault” all these years.

ME: Shh . . .I won’t tell.

ME: How do you want to be remembered?

DEE: It’s standard for studios to develop feature-length animated films in-house. I’d like to break that mold by selling my current screenplay project as an individual. After all, I’m writing in my house, so I figure that should count, right?

ME: I can’t wait to see it on the big screen. Love those canine pups.

ME: Describe your writing style.

DEE: My writing style varies with the project I’m working on, but I especially enjoy creating protagonists with a sense of humor and stories that involve puns or some kind of word play. And horror of publishing industry horrors, I love to write in rhyme.

ME: And you are the best rhymer I know.

ME: Are you a Pantser or a Plotter?

DEE: I’m going to call myself a plantser… a pantser with an “l” for loose outline. I tend to dive into a story to find the main character’s voice before developing any real plot. Taking the “pl” out of plotter, I know I otter make it easier on myself and create an outline first.

ME: If you could spend a day with one of your book characters who would it be, and why?

DEE: I’d choose Rosie, my MG protagonist whose story is currently in the submission stage. I have a thing against lying and thought it would be interesting to create a character with that flaw. Besides delving into the reasons Rosie acts the way she does, I’d get to hang out with her at gymnastics. (Spoiler: Her nemesis is beam, not vault.)

ME: I had the pleasure of meeting Rosie. I love her.

ME: I want to thank you Dee for doing my “Tiny Talk.” I can’t wait to see more great things from you. I’m pretty lucky to get a first look at a best seller every week.

DEE: Maria, I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to be a guest on your blog where you’ve interviewed the likes of Jay Asher, E.B. Lewis, and Debbi Ridpath Ohi. Thank you so much for having me.

ME: The pleasure is all mine.

Tiny Talk Tuesday with . . . Mandy McGinnis

I was introduced to Mindy by a critique partner of mine. She knew I liked to hunt and thought, NOT A DROP TO DRINK would be right up my alley. She nailed it. I didn’t think I’d ever get into a dystopian novel (my critique partner favors). But this environmental futuristic story where water is worth more than gold. The teenage character Lynn is a strong female who learned how to defend the family pond and how to survive on instinct. I truly enjoyed the read and the fluidity of Mindy’s characters. I thought it would be a miss if I didn’t get to interview Mindy. Her next book IN A HANDFUL OF DUST sits on my night stand.

Mindy McGinnis is an assistant YA librarian who lives in Ohio and cans her own food. Mindy runs a blog for aspiring writers by featuring interviews with agents, established authors, and debut authors. Check her out at http://www.mindymcginnis.com.

Now for the “tiny talk.”

ME: Tell us something that has been in the vault. Something hardly anyone knows about you.

MANDY: That’s a hard one because I’m an extreme extrovert. Um… I wax my eyebrows a lot.

ME: How do you want to be remembered?

MANDY: As an example that you can be kickass and tough without being mean.

ME: I love hanging with people like that. I’m one of them.

ME: Are you a Pantser or a Plotter?

MANDY: Pantser all the way.

ME: If you could sit and have a drink with famous author dead or alive who would it be, and why?

MANDY: Percy Bysshe Shelley because I think he was a dick to his wife and needs a comeuppance.

ME: Who influenced your writing career/passion?

MANDY: No one really. I’m pretty self-driven.

ME: I definitely saw a lot of that in your lead character, Lynn, in NOT A DROP TO DRINK.

I want to thank Mindy for taking the time to answer a few questions. I look forward to more dystopian (I never thought I’d ever say that). I truly enjoyed it. Good luck in everything you do.