Even though we don't get the white, fluffy stuff in Georgia (USA), it's still how I picture winter in my mind - just like in Emma Dodd's new FOREVER about the love of a mama polar bear for her cub.
      FOREVER is such a sweet statement, it will make a lovely bedtime read. I'm thrilled that Emma is stopping by to tell us about her new book...

Q. Hi Emma, Congratulations on yet another gorgeous book no parent should be without! I adore the frosty color palette. How do your stories come to you, images first or text?
A. Thank you so much! The stories come to me in words first and then I chose an animal family that suits the text.

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Q. Your stories seem to be simple expressions of love. How did you develop your writing style?
A. I have been illustrating for 20 years but only started writing 9 years ago when my daughter was born. I showed my first efforts to my friend and fellow author/illustrator, Caroline Jayne Church. She suggested I took out all the words that were not essential. It was quite a difficult process, but it worked, and I have been using that method ever since. Thanks Caroline!
      The expressions of love, as you put it so beautifully, come very easily to me. I just have to look at my own two children, now 11 and 9 years old, and think how I feel about them, and the words pop into my head.

Q. On the same note, your characters are so round and huggable looking. How did you develop your illustration style?
A. That is an interesting question. I think we all draw ourselves to a certain extent. So, while I'm not sure I'm exactly round and huggable, I do have quite a round face.
      Also I studied graphic design before I specialised in illustration, and I think that informs the simplicity of my style.

Q. Your line quality is quite unique too. Do you work small and blow images up to get that texture? (Basically, HOW do you DO that!?)
A. When I was a student, my favorite drawing tool was a chopstick dipped in ink. It gave a wonderful, fluid, chunky line. I now work on a computer, but the line work is still created with pen and ink and then scanned in. And, yes, how did you guess? I do work very small; most of my original drawings are only about one inch tall. Shhhh... don't give away my trade secrets!

Q. Do you design out your books, choosing color palettes and foil printing before you begin drawing?
A. I have a strong mental image of what I want to create before I begin drawing. I also tend to choose animals that live in environments that lend themselves to the foil treatment, ie.icy, or watery, or sunny.

Q. Speaking of the foil printing - I know that's expensive for a publisher to do. And yet you have enormous swaths of silver foil representing water and snowflakes and the landscape. Does your publisher (Templar/Candlewick) just trust you on decisions like that?
A. They do seem to trust me, luckily. I am given some small restrictions but the publishers are very accommodating. We work very closely together to get the best effect. Thank you Templar/Candlewick! Interestingly, I believe the large areas of foil are no more expensive to do than the tiny subtle ones.

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Q. I also love the scene with the aurora borealis. It's a breathtaking spread. How long did that take?
A. Thank you! I'm really fond of that spread too. It was quite difficult to portray something as enormous and breathtaking as the aurora borealis and it took me a while to work out how best to do it. I found by making the polar bear characters very small, it really emphasized the scale of the northern lights. It was also a great excuse for a splash of colour in the muted snowy landscape.

Q. I'd love some background on how you broke into children's books and what your average work flow is like.
A. My parents were both Textile Designers, so I grew up in a house full of drawing and creativity. I always knew I wanted to be an artist of some kind. I went to Central Saint Martin's College of Art in London and I studied Graphic Design, only changing to Illustration at a fairly late stage when I realised that drawing was my true passion. I think the graphic design course has really helped and informed my work, especially when it comes to children's books. When I left college, I worked freelance for various magazines and newspapers and even did some advertising work. Finally I persuaded a publisher to commission me to illustrate a children's book. After that, I was able to get an agent; my wonderful agent and friend, Eunice McMullen. She has advised and steered me brilliantly, and I owe a huge amount to her. When you first leave college, people in the industry are very generous with their time and advice. I found that listening carefully to advice and not giving up too easily at the beginning was essential.

Q. Will you be doing anything special to celebrate the release of FOREVER? We'd love to hear!
A. I always read my new books to my children, even though they are really quite grown up now, and I put two pristine copies safely away so that they both have a full set of my work in the future. Who knows, maybe one day in the future they will read them to my grandchildren!

Congratulations again and thanks for stopping by!
A. Thank you for having me! It's been a real pleasure.

Templar/Candlewick is kindly giving away a free copy of FOREVER to one of my lucky commenters. (Must live in the US or Canada to win.) Enter below.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
FOREVER. Copyright © 2013 by Emma Dodd. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA on behalf of Templar Publishing, United Kingdom.


apple blossom said...

sounds like a fun book to share with my nieces.

Anonymous said...

Can't sign up after I've already won a wonderful book here - but I will be looking for this, so beautiful!

Elizabeth O Dulemba said...

Julie - Feel free to sign up again. I don't have any rules against that! :) e

Marcy said...

I loooove Emma Dodd, and if all continues to go well I'll have a small someone to share her books with in about six months :) Currently I read her books aloud to one non-posh dog and three non-cool cats.

Debbie said...

I would love to share this amazing book with the children that come to my library!

Geo Librarian said...

I think my kindergartners would love this one, it looks absolutely beautiful.

Rebekah said...

Love the art work. Being here in AZ, we are going through early summer at at the moment. We need some cool thoughts.

I would share this with my children

Anonymous said...

I would love to share this book with my small ones at school!

Unknown said...

I would love to incorporate this is a storytime with my preschoolers at the library! Great illustrations and I can already vision the craft I would make to go along with it!