Posted by: nancyisanders | September 25, 2009

Author and Illustrator Interview: Andrea Zimmerman

Meet Author and Illustrator Andrea Zimmerman!
Blog: Picture Book Party: Having Fun Making Books
Web site: Andrea Zimmerman/David Clemesha

I was born in Ohio, but spent most of my typical suburban childhood in New York and Los Angeles. I loved comic books and horses. My husband/co-book maker and I have been married for ages and have three sons. I now live a typical suburban life in San Diego.

Featured Book:
Digger Man
by Andrea Zimmerman and David Clemesha
Published by Henry Holt

This delightful book is about a little boy, like many, who wants to be a digger man and drive his own big backhoe. He wants to scoop up rocks and push mud and he wants his baby brother to grow up to be a digger man, too.


Q: Describe a highlight for you personally while you were writing this book.
Digger Man was the first picture book we illustrated together, so that was a highlight. When we created Digger Man we decided that no matter whether a publisher bought it or not, we were going to make the best book we could and be proud of it sitting on our own bookshelf. We enjoyed the positive attitude and it sold the first time we sent it out.

Q: What is your favorite genre to write in at this point of your career?
I’m a picture book person, through and through.

Q: Describe the journey you’ve taken as a writer.
When I was in college, my mother encouraged me to be interested in making picture books since I was an art major. I ended up with a combo degree in fine arts for children. Through my twenties I worked on writing and had a couple of books published. In my thirties, I switched gears and became a dentist and mom. In my forties, I starting writing again and my husband, David, and I started working on books together. For the most part, I write the story first and then we refine it together. We illustrate together–David does the line work and I paint.

Q. Share one tip you would like to give about signing up to take a writing class.
Signing up for a class is a good step towards being open to criticism of your work. Other people can sometimes point out what’s missing (or is excessive) in your own writing. Rethinking and rewriting is so important to improve.

Q: Share one tip you would like to give about marketing your book.
If you see that your book can fit into a niche, market to that. When My Dog Toby was published, we became involved with basset hound folks, so that people who might be especially interested in Toby’s breed, knew about the book. It was a fair amount of effort, but the publisher helped a little, and I was glad we did it. Also, it was fun to go to “slobberfests” and see bassets wearing bunny ears! Marketing is about trying to sell more books, but it can also expand and enrich your writing, and your world, in other ways.

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