Hi Math is Everywhere Readers,
I hope you’re ready for tons of sweetness and inspiration because we’re talking to the wonderful author-illustrator Annelouise Mahoney about her imagination-filled debut picture book Julius and Macy: A Very Brave Night that comes out next month!
Book description: for Julius and Macy: A Very Brave Night
An enchanting woodland tale about bravery, friendship, and kindness.
Julius and Macy like to play heroes. Julius pretends he’s the defender of the forest, while Macy has a quieter strength. When their snack disappears one night, they decide to track down the only one who could have taken it―the Night Goblin. They both have to be brave in their own ways, and they ultimately discover that the real thief isn’t anything like they imagined.
With its endearing characters, this gently told tale reminds us that we each have courage within us and that kindness can make all the difference when we need to be brave.
Kaitlyn: Hi, Annelouise, thanks so much for joining us today!
Annelouise: Hi Kaitlyn! It’s an absolute joy to chat with you. Thank you for having me.
Kaitlyn: The pleasure is all mine; I can’t wait to learn from you. Let’s start with something super fun, what inspired you to write this sweet book?
Annelouise: Well, the true inspiration for Julius and Macy: A Very Brave Night came from my daughters, and all the ways they were brave growing up. When they were very young they would slip into pretend play very easily. They craved adventure, and enjoyed little scary moments where they were challenged to be brave. I took a lot of inspiration from them in the character development, as well as my young nephew. When I began writing the story my nephew was having trouble making friends. He lacked some of the social skills needed, and would often feel lonely. He also had a little habit of taking other kids snacks which didn’t help his desire to make friends. Through patience and learning, he grew out of that phase and no longer helps himself to his friends’ food or toys, and I can say, he has a much easier time making friends now.
Kaitlyn: What lovely inspiration to match your lovely characters. Speaking of, how did you dream up these beautiful characters?
Annelouise: Aw. Thank you for calling them beautiful, they feel very real to me. Julius was the first born. He emerged from a sketch I drew while wrestling with an idea for a story in a picture book workshop given by Marla Frazee. At the time, I was tripping all over myself trying to write the story and making a big mess. She gave the golden advice of sticking to the pictures first when writing as an illustrator. When I took her advice and sketched out the narrative without words my badger cub named Julius was born. From that sketch I knew a lot about him. I knew he was just a cub and wanted to be a hero, I knew he loved adventure stories and I knew he liked to share those stories and play with his best friend, Macy. The Night Goblin was definitely inspired by my nephew. The characters developed over time and many many revisions.
Kaitlyn: Aw, I love that you said “Julius was born” because our characters are real, and wow, Marla Frazee gives the best advice! Can you share why you think this book is so important to share with children?
Annelouise: I believe this story is important because it encourages the exploration of bravery. It also demonstrates that it is okay to be afraid, and that It takes a lot of courage to journey outside your comfort zone, especially when you notice someone struggling to belong. There is a unique form of bravery to reach out to someone as well as the bravery and trust to reach back.
Kaitlyn: Yes, yes, yes! I love that you are able to present bravery in such a gentle way–something our children need to see. Do you mind sharing who your editor is for this story, and what you enjoy about working with this editor?
Annelouise: Oh my gosh, absolutely! I had the pleasure of working with Kelsey Skea at Two Lions. She took time to guide me with strengthening the characters and helped me focus on what the story was really about. She has a wonderful way of seeing what you’re trying to do and asking the questions to make sure you get there.
Kaitlyn: Kelsey Skea is so thoughtful, and I love knowing that she sees your visions and helps guide you; she sounds like a phenomenal editor. Can you share who your literary agent is and why you enjoy working with her?
Annelouise: Sure. My agent is Anna Olswanger of Olswanger Literary. Anna worked hard with me through many revisions to get Julius and Macy ready for submission, but the most impressive thing is that despite all her clients, she makes herself easily accessible to all of us. Also, when she believes in a story she will work tirelessly to help you get it in shape and out on submission.
Kaitlyn: Yes! I love that we were able to work with such a wonderful agent. She always astounds me with her ability to get to everyone so quickly, thoroughly, and passionately. I can never thank her enough for helping me become the agent I am now, and I hope to continue growing. You have such wonderful things on your website, can you start by trying to pick your favorite author/illustrator link (or two or three) and share why you love this resource so much, then share about the other wonderful things on your website?
Annelouise: Oh…that’s hard to pick. Let’s see. 1) One of my most favorite blogs for inspiration is Julie Danielson’s, Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast. I’ve adored this little corner of the internet for a very long time. 2) I recommend Debbie Ridpath Ohi’s website, inkygirl.com and also Deborah Freedman’s website, deborahfreedman.net. They offer amazing resources. 3) Lastly, I recommend the website SCBWI.org to absolutely everyone interested in children’s books. The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators is a tremendous resource for those interested in children’s books. I’d also like to share that I have Julius and Macy activity pages available for download on my website and I hope your readers will enjoy them.
Kaitlyn: Can you share a bit about what’s coming next for you?
Annelouise: Well, I’m working away on picture book dummies and hoping to be able to submit them soon. All I want to do is make more books! It’s the greatest honor making a book for children.
Kaitlyn: That’s so beautiful. You’re a true story-teller (and illustrator). I can’t wait to see your next picture book! Finally, if you could spend a day with your favorite author or illustrator, would you sit by a fireside and chat or go out on an adventure together?
Annelouise: Oh Kaitlyn, how can I choose?! Is it cheating to say we’d have an adventure then sit beside a crackling fire, because there is excitement in both the adventure and the secrets spilled by the fireside.
Kaitlyn: Haha, there’s definitely no cheating. You can’t help that you’re super creative; sounds brilliant! Thanks so much again for joining us and sharing such wonderful insight today!
Annelouise: Thank you, Kaitlyn. It’s an absolute honor to chat with you.
Kaitlyn: The pleasure was all mine, Annelouise!
Bio for Annelouise
Annelouise was born and raised in Massachusetts, where she spent her childhood playing pretend, making up stories, and drawing pictures. She moved to Los Angeles after college, where she worked in animation and comics. She loves to explore the forest, can’t resist a cave, and has a lot of love for all those named Julius in her life. Annelouise lives in Southern California with her family. Her debut picture book, Julius and Macy:A Very Brave Night, will be released April 1, 2021 with Two Lions. To fnd out more, check out her website: http://www.woodlandabbey.com/.
Kaitlyn’s review of Julius and Macy: A Very Brave Night
Julius and Macy: A Very Brave Night is filled with the dreamiest of art and the most lovely characters. Follow these sweet characters go on a journey to find their missing snacks and end up making an unexpected friend, and please share this book with all the little ones in your life to teach them about how to be brave in a kind and gentle way.
Enter to win a copy of Julius and Macy: A Very Brave Night (World-wide giveaway!)
Here are all the ways to get into the giveaway (each one is an extra entry):
- Comment on this post
- Share in the comments below that you added Julius and Macy: A Very Brave Night to your Goodreads “Want to Read” list and/or your Amazon Wishlist
- Share in the comments that you ordered a copy of Julius and Macy: A Very Brave Night
- Share in the comments that you did a purchase request for Julius and Macy: A Very Brave Night at your library
- If you’ve read the book, share that you’ve left a critique on Amazon or Goodreads
- Quote retweet my tweet about this blog post on Twitter and tag three friends.
Thank you all so much for reading and supporting this amazing creator!
Kaitlyn Leann Sanchez
PS. We will continue the Team Sanchez moves to Red Fox giveaways soon!
PPS. If you haven’t started your piece for Spring Fling Kidlit, you still have time, just make sure you enter by April 3. 2021. Ciara and I can’t wait to read your entires!