Willkommen, bienvenue, welcoooooooooooome to the Global Blog Tour! Big thanks to mighty fine Paul Schmid for tapping me as next in the tour. Paul is a Sendak fellow and a jolly good fellow all around. His latest title comes out in June, until then you'll want to take a gander at the books Paul already has out.
1) What is the working title of your next book?
HOW TO NEGOTIATE EVERYTHING by David Spellman and Lisa Lutz, illustrated by me. It comes out May 21st—that's tomorrow! Holy mackerel!
2) Where did the idea come from for the book?
Lisa is the author of the hilarious SPELLMAN FILES series (now optioned for TV and everything!) which chronicles the lives of a dysfunctional family of private investigators who spend more time investigating each other than they do their cases. In the fifth book, TRAIL OF THE SPELLMANS, it's your standard case of sibling brainwashing gone awry, and it's all because of HOW TO NEGOTIATE EVERYTHING.
3) What genre does your book fall under?
This is a picture book slash self-help slash business slash reference book.
4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Lisa probably has better answers for this as she's done some time in Hollywood, but I would love Don Rickles to play Sammy.
Callista Gingrich was my inspiration while drawing the turtle character, as long as I can't be sued for libel for mentioning this.
5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
From the publisher's website: There’ll be no more hearing “no” after this clever picture book teaches you how to get everything you want.
6) Who is publishing your book?
The totally awesome Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers with the world's most dapper publisher, the always ace Justin Chanda. Justin's casual wear inspired Sammy's outfits in the book, especially the cover. Here's a picture of Justin in his pajamas:
7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
Lisa says it took her a few hours, total, to write the first-draft-to-final manuscript. Whenever she repeats this fact I have to go lie down in the dark, except then I remember that Lisa is a genius and has been writing for years and I turn a lamp on and have some sangria. It took me months and months to illustrate HTNE.
8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
It's a pretty silly book, maybe if Machiavelli had written a book when he was a toddler?
9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?
The first few spreads of the picture book are actually in TRAIL OF THE SPELLMANS, Lisa originally had David Spellman write the picture book for his younger sister and instead of describing the art for it, she thought it would be fun to show illustrated pages within the novel. I was lucky enough to do the art in TRAIL OF THE SPELLMANS for the fake picture book, and because David has no known artistic talents, an illustrator needed to be invented. So then it was necessary for me to become a fictional character and be mentioned as David's ex-girlfriend in college. Why was this necessary that I was an ex and not simply a family friend? I think Lisa was inspired for me to be dumped fictionally? I'm not allowed to use the word "meta," but if I was, I would use it somewhere here.
10) What else about the book might pique the reader's interest?
The names of the editors and art director are hidden in the art. A lot of puns are hidden in the art, or maybe hidden is the wrong word, there are blatant puns. Lisa and I met after I won a contest for Spellmans fans. The prize was to fly down to San Francisco for the weekend and spend time with her and her former employer (real private investigators!) learning how to be a PI. Lisa was teaching me how to follow someone covertly from a few blocks away. But then I walked by a candy store and of course, had to go in. Which ruined the tail but (I think) cemented our friendship. I'm so happy to have worked on a project with one of my favorite authors and people. Thanks to Lisa Lutz for writing this book!
That's it! Thanks, Paul and the Global Tour gang!
AND NOW... I have the great honor of passing this Global Blog Tour onto a person who is NOT made of 98% water but 99% sunshine, author/illustrator BETHANY BARTON!