Saturday, January 17, 2009

Author Snapshot: Marie-Louise Gay

Most recent book: On the Road Again! (with David Homel)
Born: Québec City
Reside: Montréal
Birthday: June

What’s your favorite city?
Montréal, of course.

You only have six hours to spend there. What do you do?
I live in Montréal. In the summer I might cycle to the top of the mountain, le Mont-Royal, which is in the center of Montréal, have an ice-cream cone and enjoy the view of my city floating on the St. Lawrence River. In the winter I might cross-country ski or skate on the Mont-Royal.

What food do you love?
Wild salmon. Pesto. Fresh raspberries.

What food have you vowed never to touch again?

What’s on your nightstand?
Piles and piles of books.

What inspires you?
Traveling. Reading. Music. Colours and light.

What are you working on now?
A lot of different things: a puppet play for children; a poster for a Festival of theater, art and music for children; a new book project...

Tell us about your process.
I work every day from eight in the morning to the middle of the afternoon. I let my thoughts wander as I sketch little storyboards or characters that I am developing. As a story starts to take form, my drawings get more and more precise, and they, in turn influence the story. And after months of this creative doodling, many ideas and sketches thrown away or redone, a book is born.

Lift your head and look around. What do you see?
Out the window, all the trees in my yard are encased in ice and shining in the sun. In my studio I am surrounded by hundreds of books, plants, sketches and interesting pictures pinned to the walls; seashells, sandollars, starfish on my windowsill, paintbrushes, pens, coloured pencils in jars, paints, pastels and so on...

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
In my late 20s, after illustrating for a decade, I thought I could try my hand at writing also. I fell in love with the process.

If you couldn’t write books, what would you be doing?

I would either be an actress (actually, I was a child actress) or an architect.

To date, what moment in your career has made you happiest?

I am most happy at the very beginning of writing and illustrating a story, when absolutely everything is possible.

For you, what is the easiest thing about being writer?
There is nothing easy about being a writer or an illustrator.

What’s the most difficult?
When you are lost in your story and cannot find your way out.

What question do you get asked about your writing most often?
“Which is your most favorite book that you have written ?”
“Where do you get your ideas?”

Please tell us about your most recent book.
On the Road Again! is the second novel I have written with my husband David Homel. A family of four, two parents who are writers and artists and their two boys, Charlie and Max, have fantastic adventures while traveling off the beaten track. This time the family lives in a small village in France for a year. The eldest boy tells the story and comments with great humour upon their new life, their adventures and how his parents totally embarrass him.

Tell us something about yourself that no one knows.
I can’t, because then everyone would know.

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