Here is the second part of: Interview with a Dragon Trainer! I mean, Author of WHEN A DRAGON MOVES IN, Jodi Moore. You can find the first part of the interview here.
Interview with Jodi Moore, Part 1
Here is Part 2 of her interview. The members of the study group submitted the questions before the interview.
FUN TIDBIT: Jodi has a dragon that she takes with her, I think everywhere! 🙂
One question everyone wants to know is:
Who made the dragon?
Jodi Moore My son Steve made the dragon for me. He has a BFA in Musical Theatre and learned some techniques in puppetry and “masking” classes. Isn’t Dragon beautiful? I’m such a lucky mom! 🙂
Did you have any struggles/issues with the “long” beginning of the story – with not starting the conflict until almost halfway through? I loved it, but we have all been told not to do this.
Jodi Moore Joanne, your question was the toughest one for me! I have to admit I never thought about this with respect to DRAGON. I just told the story that needed to be told. While I agree that it’s important to address the conflict before too much time passes within any story, I also feel it’s essential to build the foundation of why it should matter, of why we should care. With DRAGON, I want the readers to see the joyous relationship between the boy and his new friend. That increases the stakes (the tension) so much more when no one believes him.
How many illustration notes were included when you submitted to editors/agents? How many were included when the manuscript was given to the illustrator?
Jodi Moore Because it’s always been grilled into me (at conferences, in books) to never give illustration notes, DRAGON was submitted without any.
So…you can imagine how shocked I was when Shari came back and asked me for specific ideas! Of course, now I realize it was because Shari wasn’t sure whether the concept of illustrating a character that “may or may not be there” was feasible.
What’s exceptional about DRAGON (and the uber-talented Howard McWilliam) is that if you look at each illustration, you’ll find a dual explanation of everything that’s happening, one highlighting the dragon as the “cause”, another offering something else as the reason.
Did you or the illustrator come up with the subtle background details? Did you help choose the illustrator? Did you have input in the illustrations?
Jodi Moore Aren’t they wonderful? In the lottery of illustrators, I won big time.
As I said earlier, I can’t take any credit for the fantastic illustrations. While I may have provided art notes in the beginning (to see if the concept was possible), I didn’t have anything to do with any artwork past that.
So much of the humor in this book depends on the wonderful illustrations. Did you write very detailed illustration notes in your manuscript?
Jodi Moore Thank you, but I can’t take any credit for the brilliance of the illustrations. That all goes to Howard and Shari and their amazing vision. Shari and I did discuss ideas in the beginning, but only to make sure the concept was possible. Then I released it to the sheer brilliance that is Howard McWilliam.
I actually wasn’t permitted to have any contact with Howard while he worked on the pictures. (Even though I would have just gushed about them the whole time…yes, I have a fan-girly crush on him.) 😉 It’s important to allow an illustrator to do what they do best. To give them their space and artistic license. After all, how would we feel if they told us to change our words? 😉
Howard took my vision, expounded upon it and raised it to a level that I couldn’t even have imagined! I’ve always been told a picture book is a 50/50 labor of love between writers and artists. I never quite understood that until DRAGON was born.
How has Flashlight worked with you in securing school visits, PR, developing your online presence, marketing your book, etc.?
Jodi Moore Flashlight is great. DRAGON is on many state lists and has won several awards due to the fact that the Flashlight team submits for everything. I often get calls for visits due to the fact it is on a list. They also designed a bookmark and bookplate for me to use for marketing. I worked for over 6 months on my school visit, where I share that “Building a strong story is just like building a sandcastle”…it’s based on a wish list from different teachers and librarians. We even go on an imaginary roller coaster ride to simulate a story arc!
Do you have any other books coming out……
Jodi Moore WHEN A DRAGON MOVES IN AGAIN is due Fall 2015.
Woohooo!!! We can’t wait! Thank you so much for your time Jodi! We loved having you!