An Interview with Sannel Larson: Melvin...bad, bad kitten!
Interview by Bonnie Diczhazy
What started your interest in writing Children's books?
I loved to read as a child. I remember the joy and excitement I felt each time I opened the cover of a new book, knowing a world of imagination and new friends would take over my mind until the last page was read. At a certain age I realized that stories and illustrations did not just happen but were actually written and illustrated by real people, that's when the dream of being one of those people started. By the time I could write, I used to write stories of my own. However, due to circumstances, called life, my childhood dream came true very late in life.
How did you come up with the title?
The titles to my books always seems to come easily to me. Well at least they have so far.
Having had both playful kittens and puppies in the house, I know what kind of trouble their mischievous acts can lead them to. How many times have I not myself shouted;
“Bad, bad kitten or bad, bad puppy
now look at what you have done!
Such a mess you have made
just to play and to have fun!”
So the title for my book about Melvin, a very naughty and mischievous kitten, came quite naturally.
How do you come up with ideas for your characters?
I never plan my stories or my characters. They kind of take shape on my drawing pad or as soon as I start to write. My imagination has always worked better if nothing is planned. I don't say this is the right way but it works for me.
What books have most influenced your life?
Stories that we read in childhood stay with us forever. Elsa Beskow's and Astrid Lindgren's fairy tales with their wonderful illustrations have in some way shaped my life with their imaginative work. I loved to read their stories as a child and I could sit for hours looking at the whimsical and enchanting drawings. I truly believe those two Swedish authors triggered my big imagination and the love I have myself to illustrate and write for children.
“The Wonderful Adventures of Nils” by Selma LagerlÃ¶f is a wonderful, funny and imaginative story.
I read this classic as a very young girl and fell in love with it. This fairy tale teaches us the important lessons about protecting the earth and living creatures.
Later in life I read “A Piece of Cake” by Cupcake Brown. It may not be the most well written book, but the story of Cupcake Brown is truly fantastic and inspiring. It's an amazing story that teaches us all that we can do better with our lives if we set our mind and heart to it. Truly a motivational read!
Not long ago a dear friend of mine gave me “Tales of a Wounded Healer” by Mariah Fenton Gladys. It's an inspirational read by a remarkable woman, sharing powerful insights into healing and wholeness.
What are your current projects?
Currently, I'm doing the illustrations for my next children's book. The story is about angels and will once again be narrated in silly rhyme and rhythm with lots of whimsical drawings to look at. It will be a fun book to read out loud to the little ones. Reading poetry aloud to a child is such an enriching experience and also a very important way of connecting with them. By simply reading poetry to children we help them to understand phonemic awareness that is crucial for the child to avoid later learning problems and make reading and writing easier for them.
I am also working on my second poetry book. Just like my first poetry book, “Scent of a Haiga” I'll combine my poetry with my love for photography.
What was the hardest part of writing?
Those first few words. Once I get those down, the rest just seems to fall into place.
Distractions are also a big issue. Distractions are always getting in the way of my writing.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Read and write as much as you can, and write about what you love and know well.
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Last updated on September 7, 2014
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