Can you share the story of your inspiration for Night Animals?
I originally wrote Night Animals as our yearly assignment for my writer's group. We have been together for 18 years and each year we come up with random words or phrases to inspire an end-of-year story. Long-time member Yuyi Morales was moving back to Mexico that year and leaving our group, so I wrote a story called Six Unlikely Friends. This original story was about 6 animals (each animal representing one member of our group) lost in the woods at night. These very unlikely friends (fawn, fox, wolf, bear, elk and raven) bonded together during one scary night. When the first draft was done, I loved the idea of animals, who might normally eat each other, helping one another instead. I loved the idea that the biggest and scariest of them all might be the biggest chicken. I loved the idea that, really, we are all afraid of the same things! And so began Night Animals.
As Night Animals evolved, I thought more about darkness and fear. I remembered being so afraid of the dark as a child. Afraid of that little black crack in the closet and the darkness under my bed. Fast forward many years to camping in the woods and the question everyone in a tent will ask at some point in their life.... "Did you hear something?" How could I NOT incorporate that into a story of nocturnal animals who are afraid of the dark!!??
Tell a bit about your writing and illustrating process. Do you begin with the text, a general idea, specific scenes...?
Each book is different when I start. Some begin with the text, some an idea and scribbles. In both cases, there is a lot of back and forth between the words and pictures. I love trying to get rid of as many words as possible to let the pictures do the talking. Since Night Animals is mostly told with pictures, I worked on sketches and then changed the text bubbles until they gave the right feeling on each page and helped move the reader through the story.My blog is dedicated to my personal hiding spot, books. Name a notable book that has provided you with a hiding spot.
Home, by Carson Ellis
We all live in such different homes and those houses or shoes or nests or shells make each one of us unique!!
What can your readers look forward to next?
I am working on a few books now. One of them, inspired by a recent trip to Mongolia, is about a narcissistic mouse and his three little friends, called I Am the Mountain Mouse. The little friends love the Mountain Mouse, because he is oh-so-much-fun..... but he is not the best friend!
About the Author
Gianna Marino was born in San Francisco and spent her early years galloping horses through Golden Gate Park. Her explorations expanded after graduating from high school and in order to afford her many journeys, Gianna had several jobs at once: apprenticing a muralist, a jewelry designer, a product designer and driving horse carriages through the park. Gianna explored many corners of the world, from Africa and Asia, to the South Pacific and Europe, to crewing on sailboats in the high seas. At work and school, she became known as “Boomerang”.Gianna finally landed a full-time freelance gig designing toys for children, but after several years in a corporate box with no windows, she left for good and began painting, illustrating and writing books.
Gianna has written and illustrated numerous articles for travel and leisure magazines. Her children's books include Zoopa: An Animal Alphabet (Chronicle Books 2005), One Too Many (Chronicle Books 2010), Meet Me at the Moon (Viking 2012), Too Tall Houses (Viking 2012) and Following Papa's Song (Viking 2014).
Though she still wanders the world, Gianna now lives in Northern California and works full-time writing and illustrating. http://www.giannamarino.com/