So, for starters we are totally amazed at your website and the intelligence and charisma that you have for your age, Bridget! We think your love of books and reading is so wonderful.
1. When you were my age (9), did you like to read?
Not really, and because of I didn’t enjoy reading, I wasn’t doing very good in school. That was until I had a teacher who gave me a Nancy Drew Mystery Series book. After that, I developed a passion for reading, which has continued through this day. Since then, I just can’t read enough – too many books, too little time.
2. Who was your favorite author or what was your favorite story?
When I was young, it was Carolyn Keene of the Nancy Drew Mystery Series, who we now know was not really Carolyn Keene, but several different ghost writers.
Today, I love reading so many different types of books, that I really can’t pick one author. But of course, Dr. Suess will always be one of my favorites, and Shel Silverstein, and I like other books written by comedians (Woody Allen, Steve Martin, Tina Fey) and biographies.
3. How do you get your book ideas?
I always wondered about myths – aliens, Bigfoot, Champ. When I initially had the idea about myths, I started researching them, and that’s’ when I was hooked. If found it so odd and mysterious that so many people actually say they saw alien spacecraft, or that they saw Bigfoot, so I just had to write about it. And, at the time I started our series, our son Mick was ten, and I decided he would be the perfect main character for the book.
4. Is it hard to work together or does it help the process?
That’s a great question, and a lot of people wonder how a married couple work together – but since we have worked together since we did comedy together, it is actually a lot of fun, and yes, for us, it does help the process. We know that at times we might have different ideas for the art, but we can always laugh about it – and that is the key to getting through anything in life.
5. Why did you become an author and illustrator?
Karen: I was originally a copywriter, and wrote for radio, magazines, etc. Also, when we did comedy, although it was improv, we would write sketches, too. Years ago when Darrin was illustrating children’s book covers for other people, we decided to do our own children’s books – especially since we love sharing our creativity and humor with children.
Darrin: I had been drawing since I was very little. I always loved creating art. I was working at a creative agency – which I still do now, I’m the VP of Creative for Helloworld. With Karen being a creative writer, and with my art, and our comedy background, it really seemed like the perfect mix for us to do our fun, scary humorous books for children.
6. What authors and illustrators do you like right now? Any recommendations on lesser known ones for kids?
Karen: I have so many that I love, it would take up your whole blog! I have always been a fan of many of the famous ones…But, there are so many wonderful local authors I enjoy reading, that are just as fantastic as famous writers and illustrators. My suggestion is to go to the Michigan section in the bookstore, or your local library and ask for Michigan authors. It’s amazing how many wonderful books are out by Michigan people.
7. Any advice for kids who want to be an author or illustrator?
Karen: To start with you have to have it in your heart – whether you want to be a writer or an illustrator, you have to have passion for it. You have to practice, a lot. Which means you have to sit down and do it, even when you don’t feel like it. As an author, you should also read as much as you can. And, go different places, see different things – to help your imagination grow (museums, parks, plays, etc.). Keep a journal with you so that you can take notes when you see things that inspire you. Also, have fun, laugh, and don’t take your writing or yourself to seriously, that way when you sit down to write – you can make it something fun. Oh, and practice – did I say practice, well yes I did…PRACTICE, a lot, and don’t judge yourself.
Both Darrin and I read lots of books on writing and artwork. We spend so much time in bookstores and libraries (they are some of our favorite places).
8. Do you like hearing from readers? What do you like about it?
We love hearing from readers! It is our favorite part of our writing and illustrating. Especially when we do school visits, because if we are inspiring children to read, write and draw, and of course laugh – then we have accomplished our job.