Interview with Annette Simon

Annette Simon is about to welcome her new book, Robot Zombie Frankenstein into the world on April 23,2012. I interviewed her for  the Robert’s Snowflakes several years ago.  So I was thrilled when she contacted me a while about her new book Robot Zombie Frankenstein.  Today she’s stops by for a new interview.

Your Reading Life

MSMAC: What books are on your night stand? 
Annette: BLUE ASYLUM, by Kathy Hepinstall. A GOOD AMERICAN by Alex George, and A.S. Byatt’s THE CHILDREN’S BOOK, which is definitely not one. Also (not pictured on the stand, because it’s on the bed), an ARC of SHOW ME A STORY, WHY PICTURE BOOKS MATTER, foreword by Leonard Marcus.

MSMAC: What was your favorite book as a child?
Annette: Dr. Seuss’ GREEN EGGS AND HAM was the first book I read on my own. Other standouts? Roald Dahl’s CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY, Carolyn Keene’s Nancy Drew, Charles Schultz’s Peanuts. FROM THE MIXED-UP FILES OF MRS. BASIL E. FRANKWEILER by E.L. Konigsburg, and ARE YOU THERE GOD? IT’S ME, MARGARET by Judy Blume.

MSMAC: As a teen?
Annette: Stephen King–though I don’t recommend when you’re babysitting.

MSMAC: As an adult?
Annette: Far too many….Current faves are THE RULES OF CIVILITY by Amor Towles and anything by Anne Lamott. Hillary Jordan’s books , MUDBOUND and WHEN SHE WOKE, are haunting. Also loving middle-grade and picture books galore.

MSMAC: Does any particular genre stand out?
Annette:Anything but horror. (It’s those babysitting years.)

MSMAC: Where’s your favorite reading spot?
The kitchen counter, the dining room table, the left corner of the soft brown couch in our t.v. room. The striped chair with the footstool in our living room. In the shade, poolside. Ditto, seaside. An aisle seat when flying. With lots of pillows, in bed.

MSMAC: There are rapid changes in the world of publishing now that tablets/ereaders and such are in the market in a big way? What are your thoughts about ereaders versus a book? Do you have an ereader?
Annette: I’m a part-time bookseller at a small indie, and this is an almost daily topic of conversation among our customers. Many have received ereaders as gifts; they try them, but they don’t love them. Those with vision problems enjoy enlarging the font, and frequent travelers are happy not to have to lug heavy material. But by and large, in our store at least, the printed book is the hero. I believe that books and ereaders can and will coexist. I have no plans for an ereader, because I need a device on which I can also create. Have you seen Oliver Jeffers’ HEART AND THE BOTTLE ipad picture book app? It’s beautiful–but so are his books!

Your Writing Life

MSMAC: What does a day of work look like for you? What is your favorite time of day to write?
Annette: Morning’s my favorite time, but like any parent, I’ve learned to be flexible. Ideally though, it’s coffee with the local paper (old school: newsprint, from the driveway, comics first, then horoscopes); email; a quick spin around cyber space; then, go.

MSMAC: Writing the first draft or revising? Which is your favorite?
Annette: I like both. A first draft is promising, exciting. Revising is a challenge, a dare to make things better.
MSMAC: What does your writing space look like?
Annette: Welcome!

Our hodgepodge ‘gallery’ entrance includes a flea market oil painting of 30 pansies, a gift from my husband for my 30th birthday; a print of a Picasso rooster that had hung in the office of famed ad man, Mr. Chick McKinney; a silkscreen of jockeys from Lexington, Kentucky; a photo of milk bottles labeled ‘Simon Dairy;’ a page from a Dick and Jane book; and an acrylic Spiderman my dad painted for my sons years ago.

 Do you know my friend, Mac?

 The view with BIC.

Looking left. Seen through the windows: palm trees! (I grew up in Ohio. This never gets old.)

Seen through the far right window: a bald eagle! MSMAC: Lucky you!!

On the opposite wall, more mishmash.

Continuing left, closet shelves.

Treasures on the shelves include the Japanese translation of my oldest son’s, THIS BOOK IS FOR ALL KIDS.

 More treasures include THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR, a gift from our youngest son when he returned from Japan as an exchange student.
MSMAC: Wow! that was like getting a personal tour o your writing space!! Thanks. What are your current projects?
Annette: More picture books! Three more Robot and Robot stories in various stages, a non-robotic adventure at sea, and the inklings of something that may be somewhat spooky….
MSMAC: What advice do you have for poets of any age?

Annette: It’s that page from Dick and Jane.

MSMAC: That’s perfect advice for any type of writer. Thanks.  What might readers find you doing when you’re not writing?
Annette: Drawing, reading, walking. Matchmaking books and guests of the store. And after 23 years, trying to embrace our next chapter: an empty nest!

About Your Book
MSMAC: Would you elaborate on your “trickiness of your little sister and the deliciousness of your Grandmother’s pies” for Robot Zombie Frankenstein?
Annette: My Grandma Carroll of Fowler, Indiana, was a first-class cook, and made the world’s best…everything, but especially, pies. My sister and I are a year apart, with all the games that go on between siblings and being each other’s best and worst friends. I still love to make her laugh.
MSMAC: Do you use the computer for all illustrations? What other mediums do you like to use?
Annette: On the computer, I draw in Quark, which is a program designed for layout, not illustrating. I also love using vine charcoal, photography, and collage. I’d like to get back into oil painting, and maybe experiment with watercolor.
MSMAC: I see the potential for a book app for this book.  Anything in the works?
Annette: Wouldn’t that be fun?!

Annette, thanks for a great interview.


Do you want a copy of the book? There’s a great opportunity: Robot Zombie Frankenstein Giveaway Prize Packages, and the Support-An-Indie-Bookstore Pre-order Special–the last day for both is April 23. Details, HERE.

Happy Reading.


Thoughtful Thursday

The second annual comment challenge is happening throughout the kidlit blogosphere.  It’s hosted by none other than Mother Reader and Lee Wind. Besides encouraging the practice of leaving comments, it leads a reader to discover new things in our wonderful community.

Yesterday, at Miz B’s Reading Challenges, I discovered the “TBR” (to be read)Challenge for 2010. Of course, I am late to enter but I have my challenge list ready:

Adult List:

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks
Run by Ann Pachett

Kid List
Peak by Roland Smith
Love, Aubrey by Suzanne M. LaFleur
Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy
The Candy Shop War by Brandon Mull
Anything but Typical by Nora Raleigh Baskin
Lucky Breaks by Susan Patron
Where Mountain Meets Moon by Grace Lin
Glass by Ellen Hopkins
Chasing Brooklyn by Lisa Schroeder

Extras( in case something doesn’t grab me):

Mare’s War by Tanita S Davis
Umbrella Summer by Lisa Graf

BTW, did you notice that if you click on the titles, you will go to World Cat? It’s a world-wide library catalog. What’s so neat is that your can see if the book is at your local library. I tend to use my local library a lot. Especially for audio books for my drive to school.

Recap of the challenge week: I am on target.  I left 37 comments for the week. It’s fun to discover new blogs.

Happy Reading.