Monday, January 12, 2015

Christa Pierce, author & illustrator of Did You Know That I Love You?



Author Bio:
Christa is an author and illustrator from Portland, Oregon. She is a lover of tea and acrylic paint - but not together. Christa received her BA in Illustration with a creative writing minor from Seattle Pacific University in 2013. She is currently making her debut in children’s publishing, preparing a second book with HarperCollins, and preparing other illustration projects. Her first children’s book, Did You Know That I Love You?, is available in bookstores everywhere. Christa is particularly interested in visual storytelling, speaking to students about the relevancy of the arts, and empowering others to find meaning through the arts.

Title: Did You Know That I Love You?
Author: Christa Pierce
ISBN: 0062297449
Page count: 32
Genre: Picture Book, Feelings and Emotions
Price: 17.99

Tell us about your book:
In my picture book, Did You Know That I Love You?, a small blue bird expresses her love to a rust-colored fox. I wrote the words simple, sweet, and universal so that readers could project many different relationships from their lives into the story. I also kept the imagery clean and balanced, to keep the focus on the relationship between the two characters, keeping in mind the illustrations in The Giving Tree. I wanted the book to be a sweet ode to love.

How long did it take to write the book?
I actually wrote the book all in one go, laying in bed at night. I keep a nightstand full of journals and scratch paper for this reason. Sometimes issues I’ve been struggling with in the back of my mind all day come out when I lay down to go to sleep.

What inspired you to write the book?
My mom inspired me to write the book. We have a complicated relationship, one that we are always working on. We love each other, but at the time, that was getting pretty hard to sense, and even a little hard to believe. Years of tension were coming to a head the summer before I wrote, Did You Know That I Love You?. Things between us have been much warmer since I wrote this book. I think writing the book for her, even before it was published, really helped break the ice between us. I reached out to her in the way I best knew how – through writing and drawing. It was the first gesture of vulnerability between us, and it helped both of us lower our defenses and focus on reconciling.

Talk about the writing process. Did you have a writing routine? Did you do any research, and if so, what did that involve?
I try not to have a writing process. Counterintuitive, I know. I’m a naturally anxious person, and if I sit down specifically to write, I freak myself out and can’t. My best writing happens when I’m relaxed and inspired. I’m usually in bed trying to sleep, or taking a walk on the farm, or looking at art, or listening to a friend’s problem when I need to write. Then, I have to hurry to grab a pen before I forget what I’m thinking. A lot of things inspire me, usually examining emotions and relationships, so I try to always have a pen. Sometimes I can sit on my porch in the evenings, when it’s raining, and write, but usually it catches me off guard.

For this book, I did about a year of research without really knowing it. My ongoing fight and separation from my mom was at the forefront of my mind, always. I couldn’t stop wondering, ‘how can you love someone, but act as if you don’t?’. That year before I wrote the book, I fell in love with my boyfriend, and learned about that. I did my senior art show for college about the brain chemicals involved with love, and falling out of love. I collected love letters from my family and friends, and built tiny paper houses out of them, trying, I think, to build a space where love could make more sense. I frequented a family counselor and talked out my theories with her. The senior art show, especially, provided me with hours and hours of silent oil painting to think about love and what it was, while I tried to explain it visually for the show.

What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?
I hope my readers read my book and feel loved. I want them to know that they are worthy and deserving of love, and that we are all loved more than we know, even when we feel that we are not.

Excerpt from book:
‘I want you to always know, however big you get to be, that all my love is for you, and it will always be’

Where can we go to buy your book?
Bookstores EVERYWHERE! Also on the HarperCollins site and amazon.

Any other links or info you'd like to share?
I’m very proud of my Etsy store – www.etsy.com/misswhimsyjane
This is my illustration website – www.christapierce.com

Book Trailer Link:

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