Welcome, Tamara! First of all, tell me a bit about yourself, and your writing background.
Hi Regan! Thank you so much for this opportunity; I really appreciate it. :)
I wanted to be an author since I was around nine or ten years old. For many years, when my parents asked my brothers and I to write our Christmas wish lists, I would include ‘book deal’ on mine, so being able to call myself an author really is a childhood dream come true.
My first book (Unfrogged) came out in 2017; at that point, I had already been writing professionally as a journalist for about a decade.
Now tell me a little something about your picture books: Pants! and Big Bother Brother.
Pants! is all about the different kinds of pants that a person might wear in a day – fancy pants, cranky pants, etc.
Big Bother Brother is about how big brothers can be such a big bother. But you know, maybe brothers aren’t so bad sometimes …
What inspired each of these picture books?
The inspiration for Pants! came from one my nieces and two of my nephews. For a while when I was babysitting them, the phrase ‘banana pants’ was the funniest thing to them, so I started using the idea of different pants to communicate more effectively with them. The idea for the book came out of that.
As for Big Bother Brother, I have five brothers in total; four older and one younger. I’ve often said that I threw them under the bus to write this book (sorry, guys – love you!).
What are your favourite scenes and illustrations from each book?
I love the concept for the illustrations with Pants!; it was actually publisher Lacey Bakker’s idea that the characters should all be invisible, and it’s just the clothing and accessories that are moving. I think that’s such a cool concept, and illustrator Erin Cutler absolutely knocked it out of the park. I also love how this book has some colouring pages in the back, which allows readers to be creative in their own way.
For Big Bother Brother, one of my own big brothers, Christopher Botting, did the line work on the illustrations. He’s super talented, and I’m so glad he was able to take this project on – he also did a phenomenal job! One of the coolest things about having my own brother do the line work is that he put in a bunch of different little Easter eggs – some that Pandamonium Publishing House fans will spot, and some that are more for close friends and family, including a few little touches from our childhood.
What are the takeaways for both kids and parents for your picture books?
Pants! is a great book to open a dialogue about emotions and actions, time and place. For instance, you might be ‘wearing’ your cranky pants or liar, liar pants on fire at the moment, but that doesn’t mean it’s permanent. Similarly, there’s a time and place for fancy pants or sports shorts.
As for Big Bother Brother, like I said, I’m the second to youngest in my family. I wanted to acknowledge and affirm for kids that it’s pretty normal for siblings to get on each other’s nerves from time to time. But I also wanted to point out that even though it’s not always easy to get along, when we do, it can be really great.
This weekend...join me at Little Ghosts Books this Saturday, August 26th from 1pm - 3pm...then at the CNE Cat Show Sunday, August 27th from 10am - 5pm!
I'm bringing ALL my books to my special pop-up store at Little Ghosts Books in Toronto (930 Dundas Street West, Toronto) THIS SATURDAY.
That's right...ALL of my books will be there, including my "Trilogy of Horrifically Half-baked Ham" (Space Zombies! / They Suck / Horror at Terror Creek) plus copies of Space Zombies: 13 Months of Brain-Spinning Mayhem! on DVD; my middle-grade novel Peter Little Wing; and I'll bring along a few copies of my picture books, too...especially Mixter Twizzle's Breakfast! You can also meet the Mixter Twizzle puppet, who is half adorable, half scary...
Then you can find me with my own table at the CNE Cat Show (Enercare Centre, Mezzanine, Hall D, Exhibition Place, Toronto) on Sunday!
I will have all my picture books there, too, as well as Peter Little Wing, but the special feature that day will be my picture book Beverlee Beaz the Brown Burmese. Partial proceeds from Beverlee Beaz sales will go to the Annex Cat Rescue.
Check out all the books I have to offer, discover a local horror & genre book shop, and enjoy all the diverse kitties (while also helping rescue cats) at my Saturday Pop-Up at Little Ghosts and my Sunday book vending table at the CNE Cat Show!
We had such a great time sharing Mixter Twizzle's Breakfast with the camp kids at Simpson House at the Farm...
I am proud to announce that I have appeared on an episode of
Bestest Day Ever With My Best Friend
produced by Lopii Productions
& CBC Kids!
I appear in the Stella and Snowy the Cats' Bestest Day Ever episode which aired at 9:38am Thursday August 3rd on CBC Kids and is now streaming on CBC Gem as of July 31st, along with all the other episodes!
I'm there as Kuri K9 Massage, and a Feline Massage Therapist for Stella and Snowy's special spa day.
Watch all the fabulous episodes on CBC Gem!