The wonderful Deborah Underwood is visiting The Hiding Spot today to celebrate the release of the hilarious new Cat book, Here Comes Valentine Cat. And don't forget to pick up a copy of Here Comes Santa Cat for the holiday; it's one of my favorite holiday picture books! Check out the interview to find about more about Deborah's process, her inspiration, and the next Cat book!
Tell us a bit about your writing process. Do you begin with the text, a general idea, specific scenes...?
My process varies from book to book. Sometimes I start with a title, and sometimes with a character. The process for the Cat books is unique for me: I actually do rough sketches as I write, because Cat’s actions and expressions are critical to the stories. In general, an author would never submit illustrations along with a story, but this seemed to be the easiest way to get the idea across when I was writing the first book in the series (Here Comes Easter Cat). Since this approach seemed to work for all of us, we just continued in the same manner for the next books.One of the reasons I so love your Cat books is because my cat, Isabella, and Cat have a lot in common – including their distrust of dogs. Do you have a feline friend who inspires your Cat series?
After my sketches are done and the book is edited, it goes to the wonderful illustrator, Claudia Rueda, and she takes it from there. Claudia and I don’t communicate directly at all during the illustration process. Picture book authors and illustrators typically don’t; it would be hard for an illustrator to work if an author was hanging over her shoulder trying to direct!
As a matter of fact, the series was inspired by my own dear kitty, Bella! If you look at the book flap, in fact, you’ll see that she claims credit for writing the entire series. Cats! (You can see Bella in the photo at the top of this post, too!)My blog is dedicated to my personal hiding spot, books. Name a notable book that provided you with a hiding spot.
You’ve probably heard this before, but the Harry Potter series was a big favorite! J.K. Rowling created such a complete, vivid, and enchanting world, and it was delightful to slip into it again every time a new book came out.What can readers look forward to next?
After Here Comes Valentine Cat, next up is Good Night, Baddies, a picture book about what all the “bad” fairy tale characters do after they clock out and go home. (Hint: they’re probably nicer than you expect!) The book has gorgeous illustrations by Juli Kangas, and publishes in May of 2016. After that, more Cat! We’re working on Here Comes Teacher Cat right now.
About the Book
About the AuthorThe New York Times bestselling Cat is back just in time for Valentine’s Day—but he’s not interested in giving a valentine to any old dog. This homage to classic comic strips is perfect for fans of Pete the Cat, Bad Kitty, Mo Willems’s Pigeon books, and of course, Cat’s two previous capers, Here Comes the Easter Cat and Here Comes Santa Cat.
Cat does NOT like Valentine's Day. It's much too mushy, and no way is he making anyone a valentine—especially not his new neighbor, Dog. Dog refuses to respect the fence: He keeps tossing over old bones and hitting Cat in the head! But just as Cat’s about to send Dog an angry "valentine" telling him exactly what he can do with his bones, Dog throws a ball over the fence. What is Dog playing at? Cat is in for a hilarious—and heartwarming—surprise in this story about being perhaps too quick to judge.
Deborah Underwood is the author of numerous fiction books for children, including A Balloon for Isabel, Pirate Mom, Part-Time Princess, and the New York Times bestsellers Here Comes the Easter Cat, The Quiet Book, and The Loud Book. She has written more than 25 nonfiction books for kids, and her work has appeared in National Geographic Kids, Ladybug, Spider, and Highlights for Children. She lives in northern California with her cat, Bella.
Here's a picture of my kitty, Bells! :)