Spring is my favorite time of the year, especially here in New England.
I'm delighted to hear from you. We've been in and out this past month, and it's
great to be home gathering up the mail and just feeling happy that so many
people love books. I hope that you like this month's hedge a gram. This fall's
book THE TURNIP is all finished, and I am happily working on my book for the
fall of 2016, GINGERBREAD CHRISTMAS. I'd love to tell you a bit about it.
To see our backyard go from nine feet of snow to green grass, wildflowers
and returning birds so quickly is very invigorating and inspiring. Energy seems
like it is coming up from the earth, hopefully right to my art desk!
I have had a constructive and collaborative meeting with my editor in New
York where we looked over my book dummy for GINGERBREAD CHRISTMAS. Several
wrinkles were ironed out and the fun begins. I always look at the plot and
writing as necessary obligations for doing the art. Truth be told sometimes the
writing can be very satisfying.
One of our friends, Elof, took his grandson on a nature trip. Waiting for
wildlife to appear the grandfather told his grandson he must be absolutely quiet
and perfectly still. Axel looked back at him in perfect innocence and in total
seriousness and said, "But I can't be still and I can't be quiet." He was only
six. I remember how difficult it was to be still and quiet when I was little.
There was squirming and fidgeting and humming, but there are times when even
those behaviors are not allowed. I guess that is the line when you become an
adult. Instead of being told to be quiet, you are telling others to be quiet!
However, in GINGERBREAD CHRISTMAS the Gingerbread Baby has to do those things to
save himself. The villagers all want a wonderful live Gingerbread Boy for
themselves and the only way he can get away is by pretending to be a Christmas
ornament. I can't wait to paint the giant Christmas tree. Hopefully it will
fold up and be two pages high. My book is set in Switzerland like my other
two gingerbread stories, and I will be in every pastry and bon-bon shop in
Europe this fall doing "research". Luckily I love gingerbread and I'm looking
forward to creating the baby and all the instruments.
I have always loved clocks, and it's not surprising that there is tick-tocking
in yet another one of my books. We have two antique grandfather clocks. A
painted Swedish clock and an elegant French one. In my studio is a Kit-Kat
clock with moving eyes and tail. I'm hoping on our trip to Europe I can find a
beautiful authentic cuckoo clock. When I get it home, I hope to copy it in
Gingerbread, although I don't expect it will actually tell time. As usual, my
book ideas expand into my life until sometimes I don't know where the line is
I got more fantastic news from my editor that day in New York. Margaret
liked my idea for a new Goldilocks story. I have created a traditional
GOLDILOCKS AND THE THREE BEARS and many years later THE THREE SNOW BEARS set in
the Arctic with Polar Bears and an Inuit Goldilocks with raven black hair.
Now I'm ready to go under the sea. Goldilocks will be a mermaid. The Three
Bears will be Walrus, if I can find an undersea landscape that is rich and
beautiful in the far north where they live. If not there are always Dugong, a
relative of our North American Manatee or Sea Lions. I am going to Okinawa
Japan next week where I will snorkel the reefs and see their Dugong at Okinawa's
world famous Aquarium. There are very few places you can see this sea mammal.
I really have my heart set on a Walrus though, because one of my favorite books
is ALICE IN WONDERLAND and I am fascinated by the Walrus. My husband, Joe, has
a walrus mustache too, but no tusks!