We're so excited to share with you this interview with author-illustrator Andrea Tripke!
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your writing career.I love my job. I am not a person who can just sit around for very long time doing nothing. I started writing only a few years ago. 2. When did you realize you wanted to be a writer? After being commissioned to illustrate my first picture book, I was hooked. Naturally I was wondering if I could come up with my own stories… 3. Why are you a writer? Illustrating my own ideas and stories is the best thing ever! I have so many ideas. Instead of just painting a single image, I come up with a story for a whole book. 4. What is your writing schedule like? I don’t have a writing schedule. Our critique group asks for submissions during the first week of each month, and I usually start brainstorming and writing a few days before due date. If something comes up, I write it down and submit. Working under pressure does make things happen.
5. What advice would you give yourself if you could go back in time before you were published?
Don’t look for ideas a child might like to read, but ideas a mom would like to read to her child. I find this a lot easier, and chances are I am coming up with something unique. Every idea can be turned into a children friendly story. Join a critique group!
6. What has been the most thrilling part of being published?
Seeing my books in stores is unbelievable. Knowing that children everywhere can read them is more rewarding than anything else.
7. What do you think makes a good book?
I think it needs to be interesting and unique, including the images. Besides, it doesn’t hurt to make it appealing to the adult reading it to a child.
8. How did you come up with the idea for your book Miranda, Queen of Broken Toys?
Most of my stories are written spontaneously. Sometimes I pull my car over to write down an idea before it is gone. The idea for Miranda, Queen of Broken Toys formed, when I was trying to decide what to do with my daughter’s old and damaged toys. Nowadays, a lot of toys end up in the garbage because it’s so easy and inexpensive to replace them. I was wondering if it should be like this.
9. What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Writing the first sentence.
10. How long does it take you to write a book?
The fastest picture book manuscript took me less than an hour to write. I couldn’t sleep and suddenly came up with an idea. I got up around 1am in the morning and was back to bed before 2am. Of course, it needed tweaking afterwards. That’s when my critique group comes in.
11. How many books have you written, and which one is your favorite?
I have only been published (as a writer) with one book, but after joining my critique group in 2019, I have written about one manuscript a month. The group keeps me going. The most recent story is usually my favorite.
12. Do you buy books based on the cover or the blurb?
As an illustrator I tend to buy books by the cover art.
13. What books have influenced your writing?
I like picture books that entertain me as a parent too. Books by Ryan T. Higgins or Philip C. Stead are highly entertaining, just to name a few.
14. Do you prefer ebooks, paperbacks, or hardcover?
I prefer hardcover picture books. They are durable and look good in a bookshelf.
15. What were the last three books you read?
Currently, I am reading Harry Potter with my daughter. The last picture books I purchased (and read) were The Secret Garden and Creepy Carrots. The pandemic slowed me down, and I haven’t been as often to the bookstore as before COVID.
16. What do you do when you're not writing?
Working on book dummies. Each story that has been approved by my lovely agents Marisa Cleveland and Joyce Sweeney will be turned into a book dummy. Besides that, I am a full-time mom.
17. What is your typical day like?
I try to fill every free minute, means the time I don’t spend taking care of my daughter, dog, hamster, fish, parrot and sometimes husband, somehow creatively.
18. What's one thing you can't live without?
I can’t limit it to one thing. I can’t even limit it to 10 things!
Andrea Tripke is a German-born artist who has illustrated books for children, including A Girl named October by Zakieh A. Mohammed and Selfie the Elfie by Savage Steve Holland. She studied at the Columbus College of Art and Design before pursuing her lifelong dream of becoming a children’s book writer and illustrator. Miranda, Queen of Broken Toys is her first authored/ illustrated book.
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