Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Meet Kim Chatel, author of "A Talent for Quiet" and "Rainbow Sheep"

Say hello to today's guest, multi-talented Kim Chatel. Kim is the author of the delightful picture books, A Talent for Quiet and Rainbow Sheep, this last one an EPPIE Award Winner for Best Picture Ebook. Kim has many hats: she's a professional photographer and craft artist; in addition, she writes for older readers under her other name, Kim McDougall. But there's more! She's also a book trailer designer and the founder of Blazing Trailers. I invite you to visit her amazing website, Chatel Village.

Be sure to visit her blog and leave a message for a chance to win a free copy of her latest book, A Talent for Quiet.

This interview is part of the Bounding for Books Blog Tour. To see the full schedule and list of participating authors, click here.

It's a pleasure having you here today, Kim! Tell us 5 unusual things about yourself.

I fall down more than any grown up I know.
I was a cat in another life (but a very bad cat to have to come back as a human).
I lived in Nice, France for a year when I was young and adventurous.
I know all the words to Dr. Seuss’ ABC by heart.
I wrote my first poem when I was 8 years-old (Cats have fur. They often purr…)

You write because...
It’s like eating. I can go for a while without it, but then I get really cranky.

If you weren't an author, what would you be?

I wish I had become an anthropologist, but when I was fifteen years-old and the guidance counselor made us decide on a career, I said “Huh?” I’m not sure how we are expected to choose a career in high school. How was I supposed to know what would interest me in life? I hadn’t tried anything yet. The only thing that interested me in high school was boys, and apparently that’s not much of a career.

Tell us about your last children's picture book and what inspired you
to write it.

My newest release is “A Talent for Quiet.” I wanted to make a photo essay out of some pictures I took when I lived along the Yamaska River in Quebec. The busy life on the river fascinated me. There is so much more going on there than meets the eye. I spent hours with my feet in the water and my camera to my eye catching glimpses of the wildlife.

I often photographed my young stepsons along the rocky shores. Perhaps that’s why, when I sat down to write a story for it, the one that came out was about the relationship between a step-parent and child. I wanted to write about a good step-parent. Bad step-parents must have the best publicists in the world, because there are so many stories about them.

So “A Talent for Quiet” is about three things: bonding with a new step-parent, photography, and wildlife along a river.

How do you handle your muse when she refuses to help you?

I sit on her until she begs uncle and then put her back to work. We don’t put up with lazy muses in this house. Seriously, part of being an ‘author’ instead of a ‘writer’ is realizing that this is a job like any other. Some days it goes well. Some days it doesn’t. I think my strength lies in revising, so I don’t really worry too much about first drafts. I just want to get the story down on paper. Like a caterpillar it will then go into a chrysalis and emerge as something different and more beautiful.

What would you say to those people who think picture books are easy to write?

Try it. I tend to write story books and then put pictures to them. Picture books are a completely different animal. I am currently working on one now. It’s been a new experience for me. I want to tell the whole story in words, but have to back off and let the images have their share of the fun too.

Leave us with some words of wisdom....

You can pick your nose and you can pick your friends…no wait, that’s not it. Read everyday, even if you don’t like reading. One day you’ll find a book that will make you say “Wow!” and you’ll be hooked on the greatest addiction in the world.


A Talent for Quiet is available from Guardian Angel Publishing, Amazon, B&N, and brick & mortar bookstores.

Watch the trailer!


Margot Finke said...

WOW! I get to make the first comment.

As always, Mayra a stellar interview.
Kim, you are amazing. I need a nap after just reading about how much you accomplish!!

BUY an autographed CD or soft cover kid's book from my website, and get a link to me reading that story. All reluctant reader friendly.

Joy said...

Great interview Mayra. I like getting to know each author better. Kim, I like your comments. Anthropology is what my daughter studied in college. And yes, read, read, read!

Joy Delgado
Illustrator and publisher of bilingual children’s books

Shari Lyle-Soffe said...

This is a wonderful book for the stepchild/stepparent situation. It is a lovely book for anyone.