In each installment of "Three Questions With," we ask a different PJ Library author or illustrator questions about their work, their process, and interests. This month we're chatting with Lisa Rose, author of Shmulik Paints the Town.
In April, some readers ages 5-6, received Shmulik Paints the Town, a lively read about an artist named Shmulik and his dog Ezra. After the mayor asks Shmulik to paint a mural for Yom Ha'atzmaut, Shmulik is thrilled to get to work, but he's not quite sure what to paint. PJ families responded to the vibrant illustrations, and children loved the role that Ezra plays in the story.
We caught up with the author to learn more about the real life inspiration behind the story.
How did you come up with the characters in your story, Shmulik Paints the Town?
Shmulik Paints the Town was inspired by my cousin who paints pictures using dog paw prints. She drips the paw in paint and then stamps it over the canvas. Afterwards, she creates paintings based upon the prints. Owners love to have this very unique work of art. Also, sometimes people bring their old and sick dogs to her so that they can have a lasting memory their beloved pet.
What’s the process like working with an illustrator?
Many people adore Catalina’s illustrations. It is a little known secret in publishing that the publisher matches you with an illustrator. An author has very little say in what an illustrator creates. In fact, I never even spoke to Catalina until after the book was released. The illustrator didn’t know about my cousin’s paintings and the inspiration for the story. However, I’m so pleased with the illustrations! I can’t wait to give Catalina a BIG HUG!
How do your other interests influence you as a writer?
At first, this wasn’t even Jewish themed story and it wasn’t working. So I put it aside for a while. But I was okay with that because I was swimmer before I ever was a writer. It was excellent practice for becoming a writer. Both often require you to go as fast as you can into a cement wall. This story hit many cement walls. So after putting aside for long time, I attended a story structure workshop and figured I figured out how to revise it. Victory! My advice: Never to throw out stories that aren’t working. Simply, put them aside—you never know when you will learn how to revise it. It may take days…or years…but it will come.
Lisa Rose lives in Detroit, Michigan with her husband daughter. She likes to swim, practice yoga, and eat ice cream but not at the same time.
September 16, 2016