Friend of the CCBC, Roxana Henriquez, conducted some great interviews with some great Canadian children’s authors and illustrators for us to share on our website!
I thought we’d start with Richard Scrimger!
1. My personal website address is: www.scrimger.ca
2. Place of birth: Montreal, Quebec
3. Now I live in: Cobourg, Ontario
4. School attended: I began in junior kindergarten at Edgewood Public School in Scarborough. Ah, that was a great year. Fell in love with a girl named Nancy. It was all downhill from there.
5. In my career I have worked as: ice cream scooper, back-up singer, waiter, and at-home caregiver to four young children, which means truck mechanic, doll-surgeon, Halloween costume maker, and playground slave.
6. When I was younger, I read: a lot. Everything from the Flaubert to Fanny Hill. I retain fond memories of my hours with Winne the Pooh, Freddy the Pig, and Tom the Sawyer.
7. Now I like to read: even more. Mostly mystery stories.
8. My process consists of: what are you talking about? Process? Oh, writing process. I thought you meant digestion. Well, I sit and think for a bit, and then something comes to me. Then I think some more. Then I flush, and try again.
9. My ideas come from: the top shelf of my brain. Only sometimes they get stuck way at the back and I can’t reach them, and I spend all my time looking for a ladder.
10. Tips for young creators: read a lot. Try and write a book like the ones you like to read, only with yourself as the hero and the guy who picks on you as the villain. Throw that book out, and try again. Practice practice practice.
11. My cure for writer’s block: Laundry. Maybe a bath or a trip to the YMCA. In short, distraction. Fortunately, I have a short attention span, which means that my writers’ block doesn’t last long.
12. I am influenced by: everything.
13. The best and worst thing about being an author is: working in your pyjamas. And being available when someone says, Dad, can you take me to ….
14. On my desk/where I write, you will find: Several half-finished coffee cups. And one full one.
15. My favourite word is: alas, unsuitable for a children’s website. I do use it a lot however.
16. What inspired Nose from Jupiter? Truth. I actually believed I had a strange alter ego living in my nose. Maybe truth is the wrong word. Perhaps delusion would be better.
17. Has there ever been a “Norbert” in your life? Yup. He’s still there. (Delusion, remember?)
18. Do you think it is important to have aspects of Canadian culture in your work and why? I write about what I know. I use Canada because I live here. I don’t know about Canadian culture. What the heck is it, anyway? Mounties? Lumberjacks? Sidney Crosby? Margaret Atwood? I don’t use them in my work.
19. Do the habits of your own children inspire the habits of the characters you write? Sure. And everyone else’s children. But most of my kid characters’ behaviour comes from my sense of myself as a child.
20. Why would young boys who struggle with reading take interest in your books? Because they’re funny. The books, I mean. The kids too, probably. My writing is easy to engage. Any depth of feeling or insight I come up with is completely coincidental, and the kids won’t even know it’s there. With any luck they’ll be too busy enjoying themselves.