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Sunday, May 29, 2016

Interview with Joseph Cognard and Gabriella Cognard!

Today, I'm super excited to have a wonderful author and his illustrating daughter here on Kibits! And best of all, they've actually agreed to let me ask them a few questions...



Okay, maybe I'm not that evil.

Anyway, I'm also reviewing their book, THREE TWIGS FOR THE CAMPFIRE, over on Bookworm for Kids today. So feel free to head on over there for even more fantastic information.

Give a big welcome to Joseph Cognard and Gabriella Cognard!!!

Billy is more than a little nervous. Even with all the excitement of his first "kids only" camp out, there is something truly bothering him. Listen to the fire crackle as the Miller children, in their campfire tradition, each tell a story. Will the fire last till Billy can fall asleep? Worse yet, what will happen when it is his turn to tell a story? Lastly, why won’t the fly and mosquito buzzing around the campfire leave him alone?
As in traditional Twilight Zone episodes, that the author grew up with, Mr. Cognard creates three unique and unpredictable stories, that both children and adults will all enjoy.
The book is packed with illustrations by Gabriella Cognard, a tween with artistic flair well beyond her years.

Head on over to Bookworm for Kids to see my review.

Welcome! And thanks so much that you both took the time to stop by here. 
Not only do I enjoy your books, but one thing which impresses me is that you are a father and daughter writer/illustrating pair. 

So I'm just going to start off with the questions if that's all right with you!

How was it to work with your daughters?

Joseph:  I love my family so much. My wife helped edit and my youngest colored as well as made all the color decisions for both books. She also edited Reigning my latest book. She was in 7th grade at the time. Still, most importantly in these two works is the oldest, Gabby's, illustrations. I can just look at the things she draws for hours. And it's funny, I am not sure if it’s cause I am her dad or she is that good. It’s such a blurred line, but I will say this. A long time ago, I was going to write these stories to do with 3 friends who were all artists. Never got around to it, but then when I talked about doing it with my daughter. All I can say is that my faith in her art gave me the strength to write. It could carry my foolish attempts to be a story teller, I convinced myself.

And telling by what stories you've done all together, it has. How nice to have so much support!

Now, I'm going to turn tables and ask Gabriella the same thing. How is it working with your father?

Gabriella: Me and my dad have always been very close and we love spending time together. Once we realized this was a way for us to do something together while utilizing both our talents we were sold. We both got to be creative in our own ways with this project while also bonding. 

Who decides when and what type of illustrations are needed?

Gabriella: In Cemetery Girl I just drew he would give me a little direction but then how each person looks he left up to me. Same with Three Twigs for the Campfire, except for the dragon. He was very particular with how the dragon was to look. My original dragons looked nothing like him.

I'd love to see your original dragons! I enjoy flipping through the book just to look at your artwork.

What is your favorite part of writing?

Joseph:  My favorite part of writing is dialog. I love when characters interact and I can just take notes of what they are saying to each other. I do always try to keep the angles of the conversation on track. I really feel you need to make sure you are keeping both sides of the conversation there in your mind. It isn’t one sided and I feel that it helps me add depth to discussions. My love for dialog is probably a big reason my third book is written as a play. Well that and I’m lazy.

How lazy are you?

Do You Always just start asking yourself questions?

Not Always, but often, though I am usually crying. Anyway, it’s still better than when I start yelling at myself.

Sorry… back to your questions.

Lol! Well, us writers are known to have active imaginations and hear voices in our heads! While you continue the conversation with yourself, I'll just edge on over back to your daughter.
Do you have a favorite medium or type of art you prefer to work with?

GabriellaMy absolute favorite medium to work with is pencil. Quick sketches are my favorite ways to get out my ideas and whenever I see inspiration I can always find a pencil.

It's true; pencils are quick at hand! Are you hoping to stay in the field of art when you get older, or do you have other dreams?

GabriellaI don’t know 100% if I’m going to major in the arts in college. I am fairly set on majoring in nursing, being that I want to be able to help people and also have a good amount of human interaction. However, art will always remain a big part of my life and it will always be my relaxation and outlet. 

Do you have a favorite art 'genre'?

Gabriella: My favorite genre of art is modern

Now, I have a question for the both of you. Ready?
What were/are your favorite books?

JosephI always loved Vonnegut, and the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy Series. I love to laugh and these books never failed. 

I read a whole bunch of genres now. More in attempt to improve my writing though I have enjoyed a few. Our whole family loves Harry Potter, though youngest (editor) is by far the most versed. I loved loved Confederacy of Dunces. Almost as dear as some of those books I read when I was a kid, Really like Ready Player One, but that is cause I am youth of the 80;s. I mean he basically mentioned everything I touched in that century. Also love a book called Outlaws of the Marsh. It is a translation of one of earliest Chinese masterworks. Not sure how I came to read it, but I do recommend it. (Barcheter Towers and Mysterious Case Story Dr. Jeckyly and Mr Hyde) Really like those, both which I read recently.

That's quite the list! And Hitchhikers is a must.

Gabriella: My favorite books growing up were always the Harry Potter books because they really did make me feel like I was in another world. I felt like I was a part of them. My favorite book as I got older was The Catcher in the Rye. 

And Gabriella, I'm betting you have some favorite artists too. 

Gabriella:  One of my absolute favorite artists is Georgia O’Keefe. While I do appreciate the fine arts, some of my favorite artists are not in the fine arts but in fashion design. Karl Lagerfeld and Alexander McQueen are two of my absolute favorites.

Joseph, I'm guessing you don't only work on stories with your family but have other activities as well. What do you like to do with kids?

Joseph: We love to go to the beach or travel. My wife does not like to fly. So we do a lot of road trips.

Road trips are great! I prefer them actually, although a flight every now and then is nice too.
And now, my last question. . .What would you rather eat worms than do?

Joseph: I hate doing my taxes, and was so late doing one time, that I had to do myself. Now I always do myself, but I still really hate them.

You remind me of someone in my household, who shoved taxes at me years ago for the same reason.

Thanks to both of you for stopping by and putting up with my questions!

Here's a list of their other works:

Sketching was always a special gift and talent for Janie. It was her release from the pressures of growing up and her escape from feeling like she didn't fit in. One day while sitting and creating illustrations in a cemetery, "special" took on a whole new meaning for Janie. Her drawing appears to reveal a hidden message from beyond the grave where she was drawing. Journey with Janie as she comes to realize that sometimes images can say more than words. With the help of her friends, she searches for the meaning behind the messages being revealed to her. As she tries to unravel the mystery, she also tries to make sense of her growing feelings for two special guys: her best friend Bobby, and a new student at school Keith, who just arrived from California with his dad, a deep tan, and his own car.

Eddie had no idea the adventure he was about to go on when he went to investigate a meteorite that zipped past his car. He only knew it was going to make him late and with his dad waiting at home that would be an adventure in itself. Things go from adventure to epic journey when Eddie finds Modean a stray dog at the metorite site.

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