Recently I did a review on this blog for Roxie Munro’s interactive children’s activity app, Roxie’ Doors and more recently, Roxie’s Amazing Adventure. I am pleased to also have interviewed Roxie and thought everyone would enjoy getting to know a little bit more about this fascinating, talented and award winning, author and illustrator.
1. When did you decide to become an author and what impact has this had on your life?
Roxie Munro: I have always been an artist. Moved to NYC in 1981 when The New Yorker bought my first cover. I started creating books in 1985, when a children’s editor suggested I come up with an idea. My first book, which I also wrote, was The Inside-Outside Book of New York City. Now I have more than 35 books published, and two interactive animated apps out (with more coming out in May): “Roxie’s a-MAZE-ing Vacation Adventure” and “Roxie’s Doors” (a search-n-find animated book app, with narration and word recognition, based upon my lift-the-flap print book, “Doors”).
2. Tell us about your latest work and what motivated you to write it:
Roxie Munro: Slithery Snakes (Two Lions, Amazon Children’s Publishing) comes out in August 2013. It has evolved from a series of nature books I’ve created: Hatch! (about birds); Busy Builders (bugs); EcoMazes: 12 Earth Adventures (ecosystems); and Desert Days, Desert Nights (desert habitats). Has brilliantly painted snake skin patterns, and fun facts – try to guess the snake species; turn the page to see the answer, with the snake in its habitat.
But most exciting is KIWiStoryBooks (Kids Interactive Walk-in StoryBooks) and a series of AR (augmented reality) apps designed to interact to interact with these huge kid-sized backdrop/diorama-style picture books.
3. What are your future aspirations as an author?
Roxie Munro: I am continuing to do nonfiction and/or concept picture books, work with KIWiStoryBooks, and create interactive apps.
4. Where do your ideas come from, (what inspires you)? What experiences or aspects of your life influence your writing?
I remember how i got the idea for my first children’s book. I had moved to New York City from Washington DC. Looking for work, I thought I’d try jacket covers for adult books. An art director suggested a children’s book editor. I went in for an appointment but cautioned, “I don’t do cute, I don’t do bunnies and bears.” But she said, “I think you have something to offer children. If you get an idea, give me a call.”
Each day I spent hours exploring the city, keeping my mind and eyes open for painting ideas. I loved the man-made mountains, the multiple windows creating fascinating patterns, and marveled at the complexity of the city. A week after the meeting, I woke up at 7AM and before I opened my eyes, I saw in red letters against the black of sleep the following words: The Inside-Outside Book of New York City. I called her, and said, “ I have a weird title for a book.” She said, “Come in; let’s talk about it.”
I knew little about making books – didn’t know what the gutter was, knew nothing about the concept of page-turn. The idea of the book: you first see a place from the outside, and then the inside, or maybe looking back outside from a certain perspective. It went on to win a New York Times Best Illustrated Award and was a Time magazine Best Book of the Year for Children.
My creations don’t come out of whole cloth but develop in a sort of logical way out of previous work – none of my books could have come into being without the earlier Inside-Outside books (there are six in the series), the lift-the-flap book Doors, or Mazescapes. Many creative people’s work evolves in this way…. you go through the processes, pay your dues – you graduate into ideas. Creativity doesn’t always come on demand – often ideas happen and problems are solved after you have been thinking about or playing with concepts for some time. Ideas don’t just pop into your mind without being nurtured along the way in other ways, consciously or not.
It is in a way the culmination, a pulling together, of other ideas explored in one’s work… a progression. Each creation builds upon the ones that have gone before.
5. What do you do to improve yourself and a writer and illustrator?
Roxie Munro: I work a lot and I work hard. Rejections don’t bother me…the first of my maze books was immediately rejected by my primary publisher. But another smaller company published it a year or so later; it got a SLJ starred review and other awards, and launched four more maze books and the app into being.
I try to explore new possibilities, like apps and Kiwi Storybooks (giant “walk-in” interactive picture books). And right now I am doing finished art for a new project that does not yet have a home – it could be a book, or an app. But it is fun and challenging and more fanciful than previous work… I continue to be very excited about developing and executing ideas.
Thanks to Roxie for her personal insight into her books and apps. We will look forward with much excitement for her new books and apps.
Roxie’s website: http://www.roxiemunro.com/
OCG Studios: http://www.ocgstudios.com/
“Roxie’s a-MAZE-ing Vacation Adventure” in iTunes Store:
“Roxie’s Doors” in iTunes Store: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/roxies-doors/id450154138?mt=8
Making “Roxie’s a-MAZE-ing Vacation Adventure”: http://www.ocgstudios.com/roxies-a-maze-ing-vacation-adventure/portfolio-1/
Making “Roxie’s Doors” app: http://www.ocgstudios.com/roxies-doors/making-of-roxies-doors/
OCG Studios Develop-Your-Own: http://www.ocgstudios.com/dyo-develop-your-own/
App Fundamentals for authors/illustrators: http://digitalmediadiet.com/?p=2266
60-second Maze trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yj43npwXbRc
60-second Doors trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6BPyztKVCaw