Welcome to the site for our MY LIFE AS...books. We're a mother and son team who write and illustrate books for kids - like you! Come on in and explore - and keep reading! - Janet & Jake

FOR JANET:

HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE IDEA FOR ‘MY LIFE AS A BOOK’?

SO MANY KIDS I KNOW LIKE BOOKS BUT HAVE DIFFICULTY READING. I WANTED TO LOOK AT THE FACT THAT READING MIGHT BE HARD BUT STORIES ARE IMPORTANT TO EVERYONE. I ALSO WANTED TO WRITE A STORY ABOUT A BOY AND HIS DOG, SHARING THE SAME KIND OF LOVE THAT CALVIN FEELS FOR HOBBES.

IS THAT WHY THE BOOK IS DEDICATED TO BILL WATTERSON?

YES, I JUST LOVE CALVIN AND HOBBES. BILL WATTERSON’S A GENIUS. EVERY SINGLE BOY I KNOW LEARNED TO READ BY DEVOURING THOSE BOOKS.

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT SUMMER READING LISTS? IN ‘MY LIFE AS A BOOK’, DEREK HATES THEM.

I HAVE MIXED FEELINGS ABOUT THEM. ON THE ONE HAND, ‘THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LARRY’ AND ‘FAULT LINE’ ARE OFTEN ON TEEN SUMMER READING LISTS, EVEN TOWN-WIDE READS. ON THE OTHER HAND, I’VE SEEN FRIENDS LITERALLY CHASE THEIR KIDS AROUND THE BLOCK TO GET THEM TO READ AN ASSIGNED BOOK DURING THE SUMMER. I’M A FIRM BELIEVER IN KEEPING UP READING SKILLS IN JULY AND AUGUST, BUT I ALSO THINK READING IS SUPPOSED TO BE ENJOYABLE, NOT SOMETHING YOU’RE FORCED TO DO. I’M NOT SURE WE’RE INSTILLING A LOVE OF READING BY ASSIGNING BOOKS. I’M A FAN OF KIDS PICKING OUT THEIR OWN BOOKS AND KEEPING UP READING SKILLS – IT’S A REAL CONUNDRUM.

WHY DID YOU HAVE YOUR SON DO THE ILLUSTRATIONS?

I NEVER COULD’VE WRITTEN THESE BOOKS WITHOUT JAKE. HE’S BEEN ILLUSTRATING HIS VOCABULARY WORDS SINCE 4TH GRADE. HE’S A VISUAL LEARNER AND HE LOVES TO DRAW SO IT MADE PERFECT SENSE. PEOPLE WOULD SEE HIS DRAWINGS AT OUR HOUSE AND LOVE THEM. I COULD NEVER ILLUSTRATE WORDS LIKE ‘COLLEAGUE’ OR ‘BETRAYAL’ YET HE DOES, OFTEN WITH GREAT HUMOR THAT MIRRORED THE CHARACTER DEREK’S FRUSTRATION. JAKE WAS AN IDEAL COLLABORATOR.

FOR JAKE:

WHAT WAS IT LIKE WORKING WITH YOUR MOTHER?

IT WAS GOOD – AND I’M NOT JUST SAYING THAT BECAUSE SHE’S STANDING RIGHT HERE WITH HER ARMS CROSSED, TAPPING HER FOOT. SHE LET ME COME UP WITH MY OWN IDEAS FOR THE DRAWINGS, WHICH WAS GOOD.

WAS IT HARD TO ILLUSTRATE 200 VOCABULARY WORDS?

A LITTLE HARD AT FIRST BUT THEN I GOT USED TO IT. I DREW THEM ON COPY PAPER WITH A BLACK SHARPIE. I HAD A WHOLE SYSTEM GOING — IT DIDN’T FEEL LIKE 200 WORDS.

WOULD YOU EVER DO ANOTHER BOOK?

HMMMMM. LET ME THINK ABOUT THIS…A DEFINITE YES. RIGHT NOW I’M WORKING ON MORE VOCABULARY WORDS FOR ‘MY LIFE AS A CARTOONIST.’

WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT SUMMER READING LISTS?

YOU KNOW IN A CARTOON WHEN A CHARACTER PULLS OUT HIS HAIR, FLIES OUT OF HIS CLOTHES, AND HIS EYES POP OUT OF HIS HEAD? THAT’S WHAT I WANT TO DO WHEN I SEE A SUMMER READING LIST. BUT I DO READ IN THE SUMMER – I WAS IN THE MIDDLE OF A STACK OF COMIC BOOKS WHEN MY MOM ASKED ME TO ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS. CAN I GET BACK TO MY READING NOW, MOM? SHEESH.