Published 7 months ago
Meet Anne Marie Pace! Her lovely book Pigloo is featured in our picture book box this month. Anne Marie is an author based in Virginia and is well known for her Vampirina Ballerina books, which have even inspired a Disney Junior television series, Vampirina. Anne Marie has always loved reading and writing, which took her down the path of teaching English for a time. She stopped teaching when she had the first of her four children, and that’s when she rediscovered her love of children’s books. She realized her love for writing and her love for children’s books went hand in hand, and she has been writing for children ever since.
Aside from writing, Anne Marie loves to read, cook, sing, travel, take walks in the woods, and spend time with friends and family. Along with her four children, she has two dogs and two cats.
Bookroo: Pigloo is such a clever play on words… how did you come up with it for your character’s name?
Anne Marie: I don’t remember the exact moment, but a lot of my books and manuscripts have portmanteau titles (like Vampirina Ballerina and Groundhug Day, among others) so I expect I was just playing around with words and combined “pig” and “igloo” because of the rhyming syllables. My agent was enamored of it from the moment I mentioned it to her, and she kept after me to write a book to go along with the title. It took a few years before I figured it out.
Bookroo: This story seems to prompt curiosity and exploration. What do you hope young readers enjoy about Pigloo?
Anne Marie: I hope kids enjoy the humor in the squabbles between Paisley and Pigloo, which reflect my own relationship with my sister and what I see in my own children. I also hope kids enjoy Pigloo’s imagination.
Bookroo: What made you decide to have a pig as the main character in your story?
Anne Marie: As I mentioned above, the title came first, so it seemed pretty obvious that the main character would be a pig. Animals as stand-ins for kids are pretty standard in children’s literature, so it really wasn’t much of a leap.
Bookroo: What is the best thing about reading your books aloud to children? Is there a time when you read Pigloo aloud that stands out in your memory?
Anne Marie: When Pigloo was released, I did a series of twelve Skype visits with classrooms all over the United States (and I think there were a couple in Canada). I love being able to connect with kids over great geographical distances. Kids everywhere love being read to, and it’s great to share my books with them even if I can’t be in the same room.
Bookroo: What is it like to partner with illustrators on your books? Is it fun to see your characters come to life? Do they always turn out how you imagine them?
Anne Marie: There’s nothing like the anticipation when you get an email from your editor with something like “First Sketches” in the subject line. My books have been illustrated by fabulously talented people who bring so much more to the story than I can do with just words. And no, they are never like I imagine them--they are better.
Bookroo: How have you felt seeing one of your books converted into a popular television series?
Anne Marie: It has been a whirlwind. Since I don’t have a specific part to play in the creation of the series, and since I knew they’d have to make significant changes to develop a four-book series into twenty-six episodes (and that’s just Season 1 of the three planned seasons), I knew from the beginning that it would be smart to just go along for the ride, to avoid getting proprietary or precious about it, and to simply watch what evolves the same way fans do, one episode at a time. I like the message the show’s creators have included in the series about embracing our differences, and I love Kooman and Diamond’s music.
Bookroo: What does a typical day look like for you? What does your creative process look like?
Anne Marie: I am not a particularly well-scheduled person. I have tasks I need to accomplish in a day and most days I accomplish at least some of them, if not all, but not in any particular order. If I am working intensely on a project and can lose myself in words for a few hours, that feels good to me. As I write this, I am not deep into any one project and I feel a little lost, so I read a lot. We have a terrific library where I live, so I can keep up with a lot of publishing trends just with a visit to the “new books” shelf.
Bookroo: Where do you find inspiration for your stories? How do you come up with your unique characters?
Anne Marie: Well, that’s a question for the ages, isn’t it? I am often amazed by the complex and detailed dreams I have while sleeping, with stories I don’t feel I could ever create in my waking moments. The potential for stories is unending, and I tap into just a bit of it in my work.
Bookroo: If you could explore one place in the world, where would you go? Or do you already have a favorite place to go exploring?
Anne Marie: There are so many places I haven’t been. I have never been west of the Mississippi River, so I’d like to take a trip cross-country in an RV. And I’d love to go back to England. I visited there in 1987 and loved it, so I’d like to see it as an adult.
Bookroo: We are a community of children’s book lovers! Do you have any upcoming books we should keep an eye out for?
Anne Marie: My next book comes out in March 2019, from Abrams Appleseed. It’s a picture book called Sunny’s Tow Truck Saves the Day, with 24 pages of rhyming stanzas about telling time, picnic food, and TRUCKS TRUCKS TRUCKS! The illustrator is Chris Lee. He’s an experienced graphic designer but this is his first book. I’m excited to show people his wonderful work.
We really appreciate the opportunity to learn more about Anne Marie and her work as an author. You can learn more about her and see more of her work on her website.
All images courtesy of Anne Marie Pace
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