Cover Reveal: THE GREAT INDOORS by Julie Falatko and Ruth Chan

Hello, Julie Falatko! I hope all is well in Maine. Do you remember when I came over to your house for dessert? I always think of you when I spot a blueberry hand pie.

Julie Falatko: SAME! In fact, I just had a blueberry hand pie this past weekend, and was thinking about you the whole time. (It was even better than the one we had -- you’ll have to come back.)

Yes, I would love to come back to Maine.

Hello, Ruth Chan! I always think of you when I’m walk by Books of Wonder. It was such a lovely surprise to look over and see you in the front display window.

Ruth Chan: I love how it took us both a second and a double take to recognize each other! It was like our brains had to run through the social media directory first. And then it was the most joyful moment of “Ah! It’s really you!”

It was a joyful moment on W. 18th Street, indeed!

Julie and Ruth, now that I’ve shared how I met both of you. Have you two met in person yet?

Julie: We have! Ruth came to the book launch for Snappsy the Alligator (Did Not Ask to Be in This Book) at Books of Wonder. I’m sorry we didn’t have blueberry hand pies, or that could have really brought all of us full circle.

Ruth: I would have really liked a blueberry hand pie (I’m always liking the idea of a blueberry hand pie, let’s be honest), but Julie was busy being amazing and entertaining the throngs of fans. It was so fun to see her and Tim Miller tag-teaming, and now I get to be Julie’s tag-teamer!

Julie: I would have brought one for you if I’d known! And there’s no pie in our book. But there is a lot of ice cream. And cheese.

Ruth: And casserole. And butter. Mm, butter.

Julie, now that I am hungry and so is everyone reading this interview, what planted the seed for The Great Indoors?

Julie: My family and I go camping every summer. And every summer we start the trip by inhaling meaningfully and looking joyfully at trees and rocks and pinecones. By the end of the trip we’re covered in sap and want nothing more than hot water flowing out of a faucet. I started to think about what would happen if the indoors and outdoors were switched, and the wild animals went into a house for vacation.

Ruth, tell us about the scene you illustrated for The Great Indoors’ cover.

Ruth: I knew from the get-go that I wanted to include all ten characters on the cover because they each have such a distinct personality and all together make for a ridiculously hilarious bunch. I also knew that the cover had to capture a moment that would hint at what the book is all about. We played around with a few compositions-- peeking in through the door window, watching TV (which ended up as one of the spreads), peeking into a fridge, -- but decided the current cover’s design worked best in showcasing the characters, and building anticipation. I like to think the angle of the title lettering evokes a little of a ‘darkening of your doorstep means drama is looming not too far away’ effect, too. Because, man, these guys sure are dramatic.

On the back of the jacket, I included a few snippets of things I put throughout the book. The story takes place in an Asian-American household, similar to what I grew up in, with a mix of Western and Eastern habits, food and decor. We took off our shoes at the door. My parents have a chair exactly like the one on the back cover, and the photo of the boy and girl is from a real photo of my brother and me at Ottawa’s Parliament Hill on Canada Day.

Sentence starters for Julie Falatko:

I hope The Great Indoors convinces more people to go camping and fewer skunks to make smoothies.

Ruth: Honestly, I am inspired to go camping more. But also maybe putting an extra lock on my door. And hiding the toaster.

Definitely hide the toaster! And lock up the butter.

Story is everything! Our lives are made of stories. I feel very lucky that my job is to find the stories in the air and bang on little buttons until the stories magically appear in book form.

Sentence starters for Ruth Chan: 

Julie Falatko’s manuscript
has really made my abs super six-packy from all the months of laughing as I worked on the art for it (albeit covered up by lots of nacho cheese eating). She has such a gift in building a story arc, and creating distinct voices for characters. It was very exciting to see how much we were on the same page about how we saw these characters and this story unfolding.

Julie: I feel the same way about Ruth’s illustrations! Every single time I look at the pictures in this book, they make me laugh so hard. Ruth is so brilliant at hilarious animal faces!

School libraries are the best! They’re like candy stores for the brain. Run by people who know whether you like chocolate or gummies best, but also encourage you to try funny-colored jelly beans or licorice. What better place to embolden a kid’s sense of imagination, agency, and community.

Thank you, Julie and Ruth! 

Look for The Great Indoors on April 2, 2019.


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