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Fall 2016 Publishers’ Preview: Five Questions for Ed Vere

Publishers' Previews

This interview originally appeared in the September/October 2016 Horn Book Magazine as part of the Fall Publishers’ Preview, a semiannual advertising supplement that allows participating publishers a chance to each highlight a book from its current list. They choose the books; we ask the questions.

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vere_edIn Ed Vere’s Max at Night, kitty Max is almost ready for bed. But his nighttime routine is disrupted when he goes to say good night to the moon — and can’t find it.

1. Max at Night pays homage, both textually and visually, to Margaret Wise Brown and Clement Hurd’s Goodnight Moon. What about that book most inspired you?

EV: What I love about Goodnight Moon is its simplicity, warmth, and feeling of home, and I hope that Max at Night will achieve a similar feeling.

2. Max himself is rendered simply but so expressively. What techniques do you use to communicate what he’s feeling?

EV: Tiny changes in Max’s eyes make huge differences in what he’s expressing. I draw him hundreds of times to get what I’m after. His posture is also very important. I’m always amazed by how many different possible feelings can be communicated by playing with how he’s positioned.

vere_max-at-night3. This isn’t your first book about Max. How has he changed over time?

EV: Max grows so much as a personality with each new story. In this outing he’s following his instincts as a cat to go and explore by himself. I like him more and more as I find additional stories for him.

4. What’s your favorite place to moon-gaze?

EV: I spent five months working in Mexico last winter. There is a stunning peninsula called Punta Cometa. The sunset is spectacular as you look west, and then you turn 180 degrees and watch the moon rise just past San Agustinillo, throwing its silvery light over the sea. It’s quite something.

5. You’ve collaborated on adaptations of your stories for the stage, television, and iPad. How has creating picture books informed your work in these other disciplines?

EV: Making a picture book is a unique discipline. Unlike writing a text-only story where the words can just flow, a picture book requires that you create an anticipatory desire to turn the page. Thinking of this structure in story helps with work for stage and television because they also operate within frameworks. You move from scene to scene, each time making sure that the narrative arc is progressing.

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