Hello, Aidan Cassie! Thank you for dropping by to share your trailer of Sterling, Best Dog Ever. What should we know about Sterling before watching his ADORABLE book trailer?
Aidan: Thanks for having me! You should probably know that Sterling is a silly and confused dachshund, so there will indeed be shenanigans, but mostly he’s just searching for love and a feeling of connection.
What planted the seed for Sterling, Best Dog Ever?
Aidan: My childhood dog, Lady, an itty-bitty miniature dachshund, was really the inspiration. She didn’t know she was a dog. She sat expectantly on our table, hid in the pillows, and if you clipped a leash to her collar she’d roll onto her back. I imagine most dogs probably question their identity (am I a person? a wolf? a pet? a king?) so combining that quality with Sterling’s canine desire to be a people-pleaser was great fun.
What would we see if we visited your studio?
Aidan: Oh yes, come visit! My studio is my favorite place, tucked into the tall trees of a west coast island. Steps away is a creek with a bridge to a fairy-door filled rainforest where I take my big red dog for hikes (and, importantly, story percolation).
In my studio you’d find two desks: a cluttered one for art-making, and a somewhat cleaner one with my Cintiq tablet for digital art. You’d see three bulletin boards: one for laying out book dummies, a second plastered with wee notes (like the words of Ms. Frizzle, “Take chances, make mistakes, get messy!”), and a third for pinning up doodled ideas. Of course there are also piles of picture books and bizarre reference objects, like beaver-chewed wood chips and clay models of my book characters.
Please finish these sentences:
Picture books are visual adventures in alternate worlds and other lives. Cracked open they beg to be read aloud and pored over. Unlike reliably timed film, the reader’s voice determines the pace. In the space between the artwork and the word our imaginations are called to fill in the connections and ideas, the sounds and movements, and, of course, is best done by those well versed in make-believe.
Story is that imagined journey shared between teller and listener.
Mr. Schu, you should have asked me where I made the art for Sterling, Best Dog Ever, because it wasn’t in my home studio. My husband and I took our daughter to southern France, for a year. We traded houses, and cars, and even our dogs. Our weekends were filled with gothic cathedrals, fields of lavender, bike-baskets stuffed with baguettes, quaint villages and slouching medieval buildings, while the weekdays soon became routine working retreats. Sometimes, when the familiar felt very far away, I'd look at the book I was writing and be reminded that when you’re surrounded by those who love you, you really have home wherever you are.