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The Picture Book Buzz

The Picture Book Buzz - Interview with Elizabeth Stanton

Wow 2020 snuck up on me! I blinked and suddenly I'm posting interviews and prepping #PPBF reviews for the new year. Wasn't it just Christmas?

Well, I have the perfect interview and absolutely darling book to ease you all into 2020. My good friend Elizabeth Stanton is starting the year off with a bang.

Elizabeth Rose Stanton began her picture book writing and illustrating adventure a few years ago, after a brief career as an architect, and long career as a parent and fine artist.

Her debut book, Henny, starred by Booklist (American Library Association), was named as one of the best books of 2014 for children by The New York Public Library. The School Library Journal called her second book, Peddles, “. . . quietly wonderful” and Kirkus Reviews called her next book, Bub (2018), “Downright charming. . .” and “Visually engaging. . ..”

Elizabeth grew up in western New York and now lives in Seattle with her husband and a pair of Scottish Fold cats.

For some basic information on Elizabeth, see our earlier interview (here).

Elizabeth, thank you so much for coming back to talk about your newest picture book,Cowie, which releases January 7th.

ME: Did the process of creating and publishing Cowie differ from that of Bub, Pebbles, or Henny?

ELIZABETH: Generally, no. There was the usual back-and-forthing with my editor, but once the complete manuscript was nailed down, it was all about producing the art. I had a wonderful art director at Simon & Schuster, Alicia Mikles, who helped make the process hum.

Where did the inspiration for Cowie come from?

I honestly don’t remember. But I do remember that Cowie was originally a little cow. My editor at Simon & Schuster suggested it be a different animal . . . maybe a lamb or a horse. I came up with a donkey, and off we went!

I like Cowie being a donkey, trying to be a cow. What’s something you want your readers to know about Cowie?

One of the things I hope Cowie readers notice (or recognize) is that Cowie, throughout the book, faces left, and that has to do with Cowie’s efforts to “talk” like a cow. There is a lot of nuance in it and has to be read carefully. Hmmm . . . that doesn’t happen too often I don’t think, at least for the grownups. But I have faith in my littlest readers!

It is very subtle and interesting from a craft perspective, since characters usually face to the right to guide the page turn. The book's inventive in many ways. So, million-dollar question, which was easiest in creating Cowie the illustrating or the writing?

When I’m writing, I always think it’s the illustrating that’s easy. Then, the opposite happens when I begin the illustrations!

Oh that "grass is greener" complex! *Smile* What is your favorite spread in Cowie?

© Elizabeth Rose Stanton, 2020.

My favorite is the double spread where Cowie is looking wistfully out over the cow pasture, admiring the green, green grass on the other side (the cow-side) of the fence. We also get a little introduction to Cowie’s friends, Duckie and Mousie.

Yeah, I suppose I should have guessed that one. The image is so sweet, yet poignant. If you could share one thing with your younger self and/or kids today what would that be?

Use your time wisely . . . as in . . . don’t waste it.

Having done a number of book releases and associated readings and school visits, do you have any advice for those just learning their book is to be published? (Anything you plan to do or try differently this time?)

Only that one should anticipate a lot of marketing-type work . . . which means talking and performing in front of people, using social media whether you like it or not, and generally putting yourself out there.

I’m thinking of taking a different approach to launching Cowie. Other than that, it will be business as usual.

Ooh, I can't wait to see what you do for the launch. Any upcoming projects you are working on that you can share a tidbit with us?

Nothing set in stone, yet, but I am working on some writing projects for slightly older children. We’ll see!

Interesting. We'll definitely have to keep our eyes open.

Thank you, Elizabeth. It was wonderful to chat with you.

Thank you for having me, Maria. It’s always a pleasure.

Be sure to stop by Friday for the Perfect Picture Book #PPBF "sneak-peek"post on Cowie.

To find out more about Elizabeth Rose Stanton, or get in touch with her:

Links to Simon & Schuster:

Maria Marshall

 Photograph © A. Marshall

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