Welcome to author and illustrator Brian Lies! I am so excited to share this interview with you today. It was such a pleasure getting to know Brian a bit better and finding out his inspiration, aspirations, and hidden talents. 🙂
If you are looking for an awesome picture book for Father’s Day, make sure you check out his new release, Gator Dad. Info and links to purchase are at the bottom of the post.
Download a FREE Activity Kit for Gator Dad!
Welcome to Brian Lies, Author and Illustrator of Gator Dad
What inspired you to write this book?
Around the time my daughter went off to college, I discovered a story idea in a sketchbook, sketched out in 2006. A big alligator has his arm around a little gator, and is obviously comforting it. Having a child leave home for college or an independent life is a big change, and I found myself thinking back on time I’d spent as a stay-at-home dad. I decided to explore those thoughts, and Gator Dad is the result—a mix of time as a dad, and of time with my dad.
If you could visit any time or place, when and where would you go?
There are so many possibilities! I’d like to hang out in Chadds Ford, PA sometime in the 1920s or 30s, and get to know illustrator N.C. Wyeth, or return to the 1960s, and get to know my grandparents as an adult.
When did you know that you wanted to be a writer and illustrator?
I first knew I wanted to write and illustrate books in 5th grade, when author/illustrator Harry Devlin visited my elementary school. But I also knew I’d never be good enough to get published—I made the mistake many kids do of believing you had to be born with obvious talent to be successful at something—and so I didn’t consider it seriously as my goal. But in a roundabout way, I found my post-college self working as an Op-Ed page illustrator for newspapers and magazines, and my mind drifted back to that childhood dream of writing and illustrating children’s books.
Is there anything about writing or illustrating a book that you find particularly difficult?
I think everything about writing and illustrating is difficult. There are so many choices to make, subjective choices that could so easily be wrong. From what angle are you going to show this scene? How close up or far away should the characters be? How much do you leave to readers’ imagination? Every little thing that goes into each picture with its text has to be considered, and then you have to pay attention to the progression of the words and pictures as you go through the book. Pacing and story arc are critical. But I like doing it because it’s hard.
Do you have any hidden talents?
My parents came from the Midwest, and you’re not supposed to draw attention to yourself (especially in Minnesota). You shouldn’t brag. I’m told I bake a pretty mean cranberry scone. . . but that’s just a fluke. I’m sure it’s just a fluke. I probably just got lucky. . . a bunch of times.
If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
I suppose the ultimate superpower would be the ability to fly. Reading people’s minds would be awful—you’d learn too much, and the weight of knowing would be devastating. Shooting fire from your eyes would get you shunned. But being able to fly? Really cool. However, there would be some practicalities you’d have to pay attention to, things that you never see in comics—for instance, you’d need goggles and maybe some kind of Tyvek suit, because your front would be spattered all over by bug guts as you flew, like the grille of a car . . .
I do happen to have one superpower (which I may be jinxing by mentioning it here): my ability to find the very first parking space open when I arrive goes far beyond chance!
Get Brian Lies’s New Book: Gator Dad!
From seemingly mundane tasks such as grocery shopping to more active pursuits like a romp at the park and fort-building, a loving and playful father alligator shows his gator kids that the simplest pleasures done together can make for an incredibly fun day.
Presented by New York Times bestselling author Brian Lies (Bats at the Beach), this heartwarming story demonstrates a series of very special ways children can connect with their fathers and should appeal to parents and little readers everywhere.
Amazon | Goodreads | Barnes & Noble | Kobo
Sign up for my weekly-ish newsletter to stay up to date on new giveaways, author interviews, reviews, and other awesomeness! Sign up now.