Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Ten Questions with Jane Barclay and Renné Benoit

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Ten Questions with Jane Barclay and Renné Benoit

Proud as a Peacock, Brave as a Lion (Tundra Books), written by Jane Barclay and illustrated by Renné Benoit introduces the very young to Remembrance Day and what it means.

Open Book: Toronto:

Tell us about your book, Proud as a Peacock, Brave as a Lion.

Jane Barclay:

Proud as a Peacock, Brave as a Lion is the story of a young boy who watches as his poppa gets ready to participate in Remembrance Day ceremonies. I am always moved by the emotional response of the elderly veterans on Remembrance Day, and it occurred to me that most children grow up with a very warped sense of heroes. I was inspired to write Proud as a Peacock as a story that would gently deal with the concepts of bravery, pride and sacrifice.

Renné Benoit:

Proud as a Peacock, Brave as a Lion is a very well-written picture book about Remembrance Day aimed at a younger audience than most others that are available.

OBT:

Did you have a specific readership in mind when you wrote your book?

JB:

Yes, the manuscript was written as a picture book, so the intended readers would be younger children – children old enough to understand the concept of soldiers and war with the assistance of illustrations.

OBT:

Describe the collaboration process between author and illustrator.

JB:

Actually, there isn’t any collaborating between the author and the illustrator, at least not in my experience. After the final text is approved by the editor, it is given to the illustrator who puts his/her own creative stamp on the story. Any collaborating happens between the author/editor and the illustrator/editor.

RB:

There usually isn't collaboration between author and illustrator. Usually the author writes their story, then the illustrator interprets it the way they see it.

OBT:

What was your first publication?

JB:

My first publication was a children’s book called How Cold Was It?

RB:

Black Beauty for Key Porter Books in 2001.

OBT:

What’s the best advice you ever received as a writer?

JB:

Don’t give up.

RB:

Keep trying!

OBT:

If you had to choose three books as a “Welcome to Canada: gift, what would those books be?

JB:

The Shipping News by Annie Proulx (I just finished reading it for the second time). Canada – a book of photographs by Daryl Benson. Any book by Leonard Cohen.

RB:

I'll choose children's books since I'm a children's book illustrator: The Kids Book of Canadian History by Carlotta Hacker and John Mantha, One is Canada by Maxine Trottier and Bill Slavin, M is for Maple by Mike Ulmer and Melanie Rose.

OBT:

Describe your ideal work environment.

JB:

Wow – it would be really quiet, with a desk, a comfy chair and a huge window that looked out over a lake where Johnny Depp would occasionally paddle past in a canoe.

RB:

At home, alone, and it's raining outside so I'm not lured out to the garden!

OBT:

What are you reading right now?

JB:

I have two books on the go; If You Live Like Me, written by my friend Lori Weber, and Come, Thou Tortoise by Jessica Grant, which I just took out of the library.

RB:

I have three books going right now: Fortune's Rocks by Anita Shreve, The Last Crossing by Guy Vanderhaeghe and The No-Cry Discipline Solution by Elizabeth Pantley.

OBT:

What advice do you have for writers who are trying to get published?

JB:

Edit, edit, edit. Then when you think it’s a masterpiece, let it sit for a month or two and edit again.

RB:

Keep trying!

OBT:

What is your next project?

JB:

I am very excited to have another picture book coming out with Tundra in 2011. In the meantime, I hope to concentrate long enough to finish a young adult novel I’ve been working on before I’m an old lady.

RB:

I'm going to be working on another book with Maggie de Vries and Greystone Books, about a bear and a fish, due out next spring.


Award-winning author Jane Barclay is a tea-drinking, dog-walking, house-cleaning, lawn-cutting, short-order cook and writer. Besides writing books for children, she also does freelance work and her articles have appeared in both The Gazette and The National Post. Jane lives with her husband in Pointe Claire, Quebec. Their three sons occasionally drop in to pat the dog and visit the fridge.

Photo of Jane Barclay by Geoffrey Pearce.

Renné Benoit was born and raised in Nepean, Ontario, and she is the illustrator of numerous award-winning picture books, including the Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Award-nominated Goodbye to Griffith Street by Marilynn Reynolds and Tale of a Great White Fish by Maggie De Vries, both recipients of the Christie Harris Illustrated Children’s Literature Prize. Her book Lily and the Paper Man, written by Rebecca Upjohn was a Foreword Magazine Book of the Year Award winner. Benoit lives in Southern Ontario with her husband, their daughter and two dogs

For more information about Renné Benoit, visit her website at www.rennebenoit.ca

Photo of Renné Benoit by Dave Cornies.

For more information about Proud as a Peacock, Brave as a Lion, please visit the Tundra Books website at www.tundrabooks.com

Buy this book at your local independent bookstore or online at Chapters/Indigo or Amazon.

JF Robitaille: Minor Dedications

Dundurn

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