Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Ten Questions with Mireille Levert

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Ten Questions with Mireille Levert

In this Ten Questions interview, Mireille Levert discusses her latest book, A Wizard in Love (Tundra Books, 2009), and her work as an author and illustrator.

OBT:

Tell us about your book, A Wizard in Love.

ML:

In this story, I simply forgot that I am an illustrator and I discovered the pleasures of telling a story without thinking about images. I am particularly proud of how the lazy man is transformed by the power of love to a good man. I enjoy the way the illustrator Marie Lafrance invented and drew the Wizard, creating a kind of modern “Beauty and the beast.”

OBT:

Where did the idea for A Wizard in Love come from?

ML:

Very often the story comes from the idea of a character. This is what happened for The Princess Who Had Almost Everything and, of course, for A Wizard in Love. I develop a world about the character and then the story arrives.

OBT:

When did you start writing children's books and what inspired you to write?

ML:

When you are an illustrator you often received the same kinds of texts. I realized that if I wanted to explore new things I would have to write my own texts. I started to write ten years ago and I really love it!

OBT:

You're an award-winning illustrator as well as a writer. Does your art influence your writing?

ML:

Of course! These are two different ways to express the same original imagination. I can say that I draw and paint words and I write images. Usually illustrators like stories written by author-illustrators because they are really visual.

OBT:

What was the first book that you illustrated?

ML:

It was a book of short stories written by my first literature teacher. My illustrations were not very good but I was glad I had the chance to experiment.

OBT:

Who are some Canadian authors and illustrators that you admire?

ML:

If I only talk about children’s book, I would say I like a lot of Marie-Louise Gay’s work for the way she tells stories with images and words. And, of course, Pierre Pratt for his very strongly painted, stylish illustrations and his very funny sense of humour.

OBT:

What is the most memorable experience in your career as an author and illustrator of children's books?

ML:

I just can’t talk about just one memorable experience but about all the mysteries and the joys of being a creator. Some days you believe you have nothing to say or draw and five minutes later you have a fantastic story with a super-duper project in your head and suddenly you feel like a better person.

OBT:

Describe a typical work day.

ML:

Usually, I am not working at home; I enjoy walks and have bike rides to go to my studio. A typical day is that I have too many things to do and not enough time to do them. But each day is different. Some days I write, some days I paint and some days I go to visit children at schools or libraries and share the pleasure of doing children’s books.

OBT:

Do you have any advice for writers (and illustrators) who are trying to get published?

ML:

Before sending in a project, please go in a bookshop or a library! Be sure to send your project to a publisher who does the same kind of work. If you illustrate, never send final art, just send some sketches and maybe one or two colour images to show your style. Listen carefully to all the comments publishers give you, there are the specialists, and very often, they are right. Be patient and try again, try again, try again....

OBT:

What is your next project?

ML:

Good question. I have a lot of ideas in my head but I am waiting for THE PROJECT. Maybe in five minutes, I will know!



Read more about A Wizard in Love at the Tundra Book Website.

Read Mireille Levert's 2008 Ten Questions with Open Book here.

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