Thursday, November 15, 2007

Best Interview Ever

If you haven't heard of Mo Williams you need to -here's why:

Interview with Mo Williams from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

For someone who doesn't know you, what would you tell them about yourself and your work?
"Nice to meet you. I make books that I hope you like."

What do you think makes your books special?
Their unique smell? The gravity-defying binding? The high-fiber and low saturated fat content? The fact that they're made entirely by monkeys with blowtorches?
Honestly, I have no idea, but if I had to make a serious attempt at deconstructing my work, I'd go with the monkeys.

If you could hang out with one of your characters, who would it be and why?
I already hang out with them all the time; that's my job. My characters are like my children, people who I'd like to find a baby-sitter for so I can go out on the town. But, I love 'em, too.
What is your favorite part of your job?
The work itself. The writing. The drawing. Playing with the characters. Getting letters and drawings from kids jazzed about my books is a close second.

What is your least favorite part of your job?
Working the night shift with a big rig smuggling live, angry chickens across the New Jersey border with the fuzz on my tail. Oh, wait. I don't have to do that. Never mind.

What question do you hope to be asked during an interview and what is your answer to that question?
I'll give you both the question and the answer:
Q: Behind the simplicity and craftsmanship of your books lies a subtle, yet pervasive melancholy about individual's failures to communicate or achieve their desires; is this a product of your research in child development or an emotional struggle that seeps into your work subconsciously?
A: I'm sorry but I can't answer such a personal question.
My family and I enjoyed the pictures in "Knuffle Bunny," which were made from photographs and drawings. How do you create these wonderful pictures?
Laziness and character. The story dictated that the piece feel like a reminiscence, such as an old photo album, plus I hate drawing backgrounds. But as I worked with the pictures, I discovered that, unlike my forgiving eye, they did not edit out the ugliness of my neighborhood.
Consequently, I had to spend quite a bit of time digitally removing air-conditioners, trash and garbage cans, so that the pictures could have the 'emotional truth' of my personal experience.
It was technically challenging and created huge files but ultimately made the story feel more real and handmade.

I noticed that Pigeon is in every book. Why?
There's a Pigeon in every one of my books?!? Ugh.
That sneak hates it when I don't make books about him; he must wiggle in when I'm not looking.

What are you working on right now?
Currently, I'm working on a picture book illustrated with watercolors and a pop-out book. The next thing you'll see on the shelves, however, is a new Pigeon book, titled ... Well, we're only telling the first four words of the title: "THE PIGEON WANTS A ..."
Hopefully, kids all over the country will create their own versions of what they think the Pigeon wants, so that when the actual title is revealed on April 1, 2008, kids everywhere will be ... disappointed. Their ideas invariably will be better than mine.

Monkeys with blowtorches! Smuggeling live angry chickens across the NJ Boarder! What is NOT to like about this guy?! Oh, and then there is the Pigeon...


Rhoda said...

That's amazing! I only have one of his books (Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus) and I love it! Of course, it was upon your wife's suggestion to get it. You have a good wife. I digress. Good post. Thanks!

Justmatt said...

Glad you liked.
All of his books rock. We have most of them. Ask me at Small Group and I'll let you look at them : )