CRANKEE DOODLE by Tom Angleberger and Cece Bell - GIVEAWAY!
School is starting soon and our summer hiatus is over! But that's good for you as I am getting back to my interviews and GIVEAWAYS!
Today I am thrilled to host Tom Angleberger and Cece Bell for the new picture book CRANKEE DOODLE. If you haven't seen it yet, I recommend you rush out to have a look. It's HILARIOUS!
Y'know the song "Yankee Doodle went to town, riding on a pony. Stuck a feather in his hat and called it macaroni!?" Did you ever wonder why he called it macaroni? Well, mystery solved. Read on...
Tom and Cece: What was the inspiration for CRANKEE DOODLE?
Tom: One of us is a famously cranky person! One of us was able to write Crankee's cranky parts with almost no effort because one of us talks like that way too much. And one of us is real nice, like Pony!
Cece: That, and we really like to out-pun each other. We were probably going, "hmm, Yankee Doodle, Thankee Doodle, Lankee Doodle, Stankee Doodle...HEY! CRANKEE DOODLE!!! YEAH!!!"
Tom and Cece: You're both so well known for your other works...Tom for ORIGAMI YODA (and the subsequent titles) and Cece for BUG PATROL and the SOCK MONKEY books. Is this your first collaboration together? What was that like?
Tom: Like a lot of people, when I found out how good Cece was, I wanted to write a book for her to illustrate. My first attempt was over 20 years ago! The first one wasn't so good, but later I did come up with some stories almost worthy of her. And she drew a lot of amazing illustrations for those stories! But no editor would spring for one.
In the case of Crankee, we came up with the story together, bouncing ideas back and forth. And lo and behold an editor DID like it! Maybe that's the best way for us to work!
Cece: It really was a lot of fun. AND we found out that it generally worked better when Tom stayed out of the illustration process. I mean, I didn't leave him out entirely; he got to see what Crankee and Pony were going to look like. But it was better that the editors be the critics, and not Tom. We're married, after all, and you know how criticism, or even kind-hearted advice, sometimes goes down with your spouse. Not always so good!
Tom: Cece is used to writing picture books, but Tom, this was a first for you. How was the experience different from writing mid-grade?
Tom: Well, like I said. I have written them before, they just haven't worked/sold. In general, I'd say the experience was 32 pages long instead of 180! it worked just about the same. I had a character. I knew what he needed to do. I understood what he would sound like. And then I sat down and let it pour out.
Tom and Cece: You are both so obviously in touch with your inner child - your house must be a lot of fun. Yes?
Tom: Yes! Cece has painted Sock Monkey on the door and the rest of the house sort of follows suit.
Cece: It is a fun place to be. Kinda messy, though.
Cece: I have a thing for patterned endpapers and you nailed it with that macaroni pattern. Did that take as long to figure out as it looks?
Cece: It wasn't too hard, but it did take a while. I think I drew about 1/4 of what you see. I copied that and pasted it three times to fill in the rest of that space (and I probably rotated each section for a bit of variety). And then I filled in any gaps with new little drawings of macaroni. I do love the way the endpapers turned out! I think our art editor, Sharismar Rodriguez, thought that one up, so she deserves a lot of the credit.
Tom and Cece: Do you mind sharing your paths to publication? Did they overlap at all?
Tom: Mine was all about getting a great agent, Caryn Wiseman. Before that, failure, rejection, close calls that turned into disappointments. The Michael Hemphill, my co-author on Stonewall Hinkleman, found Caryn and she made good things happen and still does.
Cece: Mine was about being lucky to find an editor who thought like I did, and on the very first go-round! I made a dummy for Sock Monkey Goes to Hollywood, and then looked on-line for publishers who sounded like they might fit with the book. Candlewick Press sounded just right, so I sent it there. The dummy ended up in the hands of then-editor Jamie Michalak, who is now well-known for her Joe and Sparky series (amazing books!), and the rest, as they say, is history. I didn't have an agent, but I hired a lawyer to help me with the contracts and stuff like that. It wasn't until after the SM books that I signed on with Caryn too, and that has been a real blessing.
Tom and Cece: Any events or news you'd like to share with my readers?
Tom: I'm excited that Cece and I are going to keep on working together! We have an early reader series set to come out from Abrams in a year or two!
Cece: I'm excited about that, too! Tom has a lot of cool things cooking that I'm excited about, including the re-release of a book he did a long time ago, which I love so much. I've got a graphic novel coming out in Fall 2014 with Abrams/Amulet, and I'm working on another picture book with Clarion, that I am VERY excited about. I am thankful for these productive times we're currently living in.
Thanks for interviewing us!
Thanks for stopping by!
Clarion books is kindly giving away a free copy of CRANKEE DOODLE to one of my lucky commenters. (Must live in the continental US to win.) Enter below!
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