Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Interview With Author/ Illustrator Adalucía Quan
Congratulations Adalucía on your beautiful books. Tell us a little bit about them.
I have published three educational books for children and young adults. The titles are The Magic of Clay, La chica de Mendiburo and The Song of the Coconut. The Magic of Clay, written in English, is a book that could be very useful to anyone that wants to start working with clay. It explains complex concepts and definitions in a fun and simple way. The colorful illustrations are done in collage. This book is sold in museums, art galleries, bookstores and ceramic wholesale suppliers where clay artists and instructors buy their supplies. This book is only 32 pages long but it is very thorough. It took the knowledge and experience of 15 years of working with clay to write this book. For more information about this book, please visit www.themagicofclay.com.
La chica de Mendiburo is a novel for young adults and readers of all ages. This 272 page book was written in Spanish. The book interior has more than 80 black and white illustrations. This book is also an introduction to Spanish and Latin American literature, disguised as a fiction novel. Through the eyes of Marifer (the main character) you will get to know Mendiburo, an imaginary place that can exist in any Latin country. "La chica" is a different love story. The little girl loves her family, her servants, her ocean, her garden, her grandparents and her friends. The reader laughs and cries as he enters inside Marifer's sincere and simple world. It's like an open window to life in a Latin American country. La chica de Mendiburo won 4 awards at the 2007 International Latino Book Awards. First place as Best Fiction Book in Spanish for Young Adults. For more information about this book you can visit www.lachicademendiburo.com.
The Song of the Coconut is a 32-page book for children. It has many big, bright illustrations done in collage. It's written in English, sprinkled with some Spanish. It tells the story of a young coconut who gets into trouble. But thanks to his dad's teachings and his grandpa's memories, the story ends in a happy way. Also, children will be able to learn some important facts about palm trees and coconuts. This book has just won three awards at the 2009 International Latino Book Awards. First place: Best Educational Book in English for Children. Second place: Best Cover Illustration. Second place: Best Interior Book Design. We are working on the web page for this book.
Where do you get your inspiration to write your books?
I believe my inspiration comes from everything that has happened in my life. In my books you will find what I experienced as a child, as a young adult. Also, inspiration comes from what my own children have experienced. My family has always been of utmost importance to me. This is why you will always find family values in all of my books. I have four grown children and I have raised my grandson who is now twelve-years old. I have always been surrounded by children and this is why it is easy for me to write for them. I also love to teach. For example, I came up with the idea to write the ceramics book because I wanted to teach my grandson all about working with clay. I couldn't find an appropriate and easy book for his age. So I wrote the book for him, to explain difficult terminology and concepts in a more comprehensive way. A child, as well as a beginner, of any age, can now benefit from this book.
Being a writer as well as an illustrator, what is the process you go through with your children's stories? What comes first the image or the story?
The process is very long and a bit complex. Almost always the words come first, but many times the whole process happens at once. All of a sudden, I get an idea for an image and then the words come about as I am working on the illustration. Other times, I think of several images at once and I jot down my ideas. Then I start working on the text. But it doesn't really matter how the process takes place. Still all the details have to be thoroughly planned, truly to perfection, to be able to come up with a good product.
I know that you publish your own books. How is the publishing process?
My husband is the one in charge of all the administrative work and the publishing process. We have been working with a company in New York City, justbookz.com. This company helps small publishers, like ourselves, go through the publishing process. We have found this company very helpful and have enjoyed working with them.
Your effort has been recognized with several awards. How do you feel knowing that your work has had this type of recognition?
This is something that I still cannot believe could ever happen with my books. It is when you receive these awards when you feel that it was really worth the effort. All those long nights, and waking up at 5 in the morning to try to find some time to write and illustrate seem worth while, now. To top it all, because of these awards, Santillana, S. A. got interested in La chica de Mendiburo. This educational giant bought the rights for La chica in four languages. They are going to publish and distribute the book in Latin America and also Spain and Portugal. The Latin American edition is ready and will soon be available to the public.
What advice will you give to aspiring authors?
To follow their dreams. To keep on drawing, painting, writing and not to let anybody tell them that they cannot follow a dream. Even if that dream seems impossible, at times. I always wanted to be a writer but, for many years, this dream was forgotten. I have been writing little poems and songs since I was twelve. In my ceramic pieces I would inscribe words, lines. Now that I am a writer, all of this is very useful to me. Because, in my books, I can even include some poems that I wrote as an adolescent child.
Adalucía Quan was born in beautiful Miraflores, a neighborhood in Lima, Peru. She is the author and illustrator of The Magic of Clay (2003), an educational book about ceramics for readers of all ages. Her new educational picture book, The Song of the Coconut (2008), is written in English sprinkled with Spanish. Adalucía studied Art, Spanish Literature and Modern Languages at Barry University and Florida International University, Miami, Florida. Her latest accomplishment is her Master's Degree in Art Education from The University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico. She lives with her family in Santa Fe, New Mexico and she is a Spanish instructor at Santa Fe Community College. Adalucía is a true artist: she paints, draws and enjoys creating sculptures and utilitarian clay pieces where she inscribes her poems.