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Interviews | September 2, 2014

Jill Owens: IMG David Mitchell: The Powells.com Interview



David MitchellDavid Mitchell's newest mind-bending, time-skipping novel may be his most accomplished work yet. Written in six sections, one per decade, The Bone... Continue »
  1. $21.00 Sale Hardcover add to wish list

    The Bone Clocks

    David Mitchell 9781400065677

Interviews | September 2, 2014

Jill Owens: IMG David Mitchell: The Powells.com Interview



David MitchellDavid Mitchell's newest mind-bending, time-skipping novel may be his most accomplished work yet. Written in six sections, one per decade, The Bone... Continue »
  1. $21.00 Sale Hardcover add to wish list

    The Bone Clocks

    David Mitchell 9781400065677

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Kids' Q&A

Laurie Rosenwald

Describe your latest project.
My New Yorker illustration,
Someone's admiration,
A weird Swedish vacation,
Experimentation,
Made my cool creation.
Using paper (but no glue)
Crayons and a camera too
"And to name but just a few...
Red Yellow Green Blue"

  1. And to Name but Just a Few: Red, Yellow, Green, Blue More than just an introduction to basic colors, this book shows how colors interact and enrich our everyday lives. Clever rhyming text and bold, graphic illustrations are sure to make this book a favorite read-aloud.
What is your favorite family story?
Wearing no shoes, my great uncle Bill used to be driven by his chauffeur to the corner of central park. The chauffeur would then carry uncle Bill into the park, where he would walk around on the grass in his socks, never touching concrete. A doctor had told him that it was good to walk on grass, and this was the closest grass available. Another doctor suggested he wear something like a bear trap in his pants. It kept the waistband of the pants about a foot away from his body. He slept in it. Every time I went to any doctor on the Upper East Side, dollar signs would light up in their eyes when they heard my last name. Uncle Bill was the richest hypochondriac in New York, and I adored him. He had a fabulous wine cellar, and learned to play the piano after he went blind (for real) at the age of 85.

What fictional character would you like to be your friend, and why?
Tintin, but just so he could introduce me to Captain Haddock. I find him very attractive. But do you think there's something fishy about their relationship? Or Monsieur Hulot. Or Lou Grant. Or Spencer Tracy. Wait, he was real.

If you could choose any story to live in, which story would it be? Why?
The Creation.

Why?

I just need a fresh start.

Introduce one other author you think people should read, and suggest a good book by him/her.
For children? The Moomin Books by Tove Jansson.

For adults: Up in the Old Hotel by Joseph Mitchell.

Describe your most memorable teacher.
Pat Atkins. She streaked her hair with white and loved my "NONCONFORMITY" poster. (It was PRO-NONCONFORMITY, not ANTI-NONCONFORMITY.)

Offer a favorite sentence or passage from another writer.
"During the days on our way back to Monte Carlo we were rarely out of sight of land for long. I do not think I shall ever forget the sight of Etna at sunset; the mountain almost invisible in a blur of pastel grey, glowing on the top and then repeating its shape, as though reflected, in a wisp of grey smoke, with the whole horizon behind radiant with pink light, fading gently into a grey pastel sky. Nothing I have ever seen in Art or Nature was quite so revolting." —Evelyn Waugh

What is your favorite literary first line?
Well, it's a paragraph:

"There is a photograph in existence of Aunt Sadie and her six children sitting round the tea-table at Alconleigh. The table is situated, as it was, is now, and ever shall be, in the hall, in front of a huge open fire of logs. Over the chimney-piece plainly visible in the photograph, hangs an entrenching tool, with which, in 1915, Uncle Matthew had whacked to death eight Germans one by one as they crawled out of a dug-out. It is still covered with blood and hairs, an object of fascination to us as children." —Nancy Mitford, Love in a Cold Climate

How did the last good book you read end up in your hands?
Desperation, at the Gothenburg, Sweden Public Library. Why else would I be reading Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain?

Do you read the Sunday funnies, and which are your favorites?
No, but I dig Milt Gross. Nize Baby!

What is your favorite breakfast cereal?
Havregrynsgrot.

What was your favorite story as a child?
The Snow Queen and Pippi. And I want to make a film of Suzuki Beane by Sandra Scoppettone.

What do you do for relaxation?
Big game hunting. In the nude.

What is your idea of bliss?
Un-unrequited love. Or not even being in love! That's good, too.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A sibling.

Why do you write books for kids?
Don't let that get around. I'm really not the type. Most children's books embarrass me. You hear the exact same message: Be yourself! Be an individual! Triumph over adversity! Oy vey.

Tell us about your pets.
They're black, they're brothers, and I found them in a bucket in Queens. They've been with me round trip to Sweden seven times, and I'm not even a cat person. That's just silly.

Name the best Simpsons episode of all time, and explain why it's the best.
No, but I met Maggie Simpson in person. She's now a very charming woman of about 35.

What's your favorite holiday and why?
Walborgs Massoafton (Walpurgis night) in Sweden. Bonfires. Pagan! Also, my birthday, the most feminine day of the year, June 16.

Who are your favorite characters in history?
Georges de Mestral, the inventor of Velcro.

If you could be someone else, who would that be, and why?
I think the greatest thing would be to look sort of like Catherine Zeta Jones when she was 20, and no Michael Douglas. But really be ME. Boy, would I have fun!

If you could pick anyone to illustrate one of your books, who would it be and why?
This will never happen.

Conversely, if you're an illustrator, for what author would you like to illustrate?
What makes you think I'm not both? Anyway, George Ade or Will Cuppy. Look 'em up.

Make a question of your own, then answer it.
"And to name but just a few..." would make a fantastic series. "And to name but just a few: Ghana, France, Japan, Peru," for example. Why don't you write them?

Funny you should ask. I think I will!

÷ ÷ ÷

Laurie Rosenwald was born in Manhattan and feels sorry for people who visit New York and don't know anybody who can show them the backstreets. An accomplished illustrator and designer, she has worked with such clients as IKEA, Coca-Cola, and Nickelodeon. Her illustrations have appeared in The New Yorker and the New York Times.

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