My Daddy Loves Me, How Do I Know?
Kid Lit Reviews welcomes children’s author James Zachary, whose picture book My Daddy Loves Me, How Do I Know? is available at the usual online retailers, and will be reviewed here tomorrow.
Today you will get to know a little about Mr. Zachary, but I bet some of you who love video games have already benefited from his expertise.
The first thing that came to my mind while reading My Daddy Loves Me, How Do I Know? were the illustrations. You are an excellent illustrator, could you please explain why you choose to use a combination of drawing and photography, rather than traditional illustrations?
I chose a combination of illustration and photography for a couple of reasons. First, I wanted to make creating the book a family event by getting my children involved. Using photography allowed me to stage the scene with the kids and let them express themselves as the models. The image below is an example of that process.
Lily posing for the book.
I replaced Lily with the illustrated character, Luby.
I was also inspired to incorporate photography into my book because of the creative art direction in the Knuffle Bunny book series by Mo Willems. I have read those books over and over again to my girls. His work is fun and visually stunning.
Have you ever illustrated a children’s book, other than this one?
I am smiling as I write this because I have never felt that I am a strong illustrator. There are so many great artists out there and illustrations for children’s books have really developed into a true art form.
Illustrators like Mark Teague and David Shannon could have their work framed and hung with pride over any fireplace. I always felt my illustrations where a better fit on the refrigerator, taped next to the grocery lists and report cards.
What was the inspiration for the story?
I have worked in the video games industry for 14 years, creating animations for Spider-man and Star War titles. My games were always very popular with the guys, but I wanted to create something special for my daughters. I originally wrote My Daddy Loves Me, How Do I Know? as a gift for my girls.
As a family, we had read a million books about the love between mother and her daughter, but I couldn’t find any about a father and his daughter. Once the book started coming together, I knew that a lot of other fathers might like it too.
Wow! Twin girls could be handful. What does your normal day look like?
My days are pretty full. I often think of the saying, “the days are long but the years are short.” Wow, that is so true! At the end of the day, my wife and I are just pooped out and ready for a glass of wine and a pillow. But my daughters are truly so amazing and sweet and smart and funny. They bring such joy to my crazy life!
I am a terribly curious person, so I must ask, which twin daughter is the young girl in your book, and what did you say to the other daughter?
Both of my daughters are in the book because I would be in serious trouble if I only included one of them! Usually my wife and I, along with the kids, would go out to photograph the backgrounds. I did my best to switch which daughter would pose in the image and which would stand back, off camera, and try to get the other one to laugh.
I had to take numerous pictures, so it was not as easy as it sounds. Lily was more willing to stand for long periods of time in frame while Ruby got tired after about 8 shots. I mentioned that Ruby is younger, but only by 11 minutes. Anyway, I had to be on my A-Game when she was the subject.
Although I never printed the name of the little girl in the book, I’ve always referred to her as “Luby” (which is a mix of Lily and Ruby).
I see “Daddy of the Year” in your future. What does your writing space look like?
I wish I could create children’s books for a living while looking at a view of the Golden Gate Bridge. It would mean I was really doing something right. Rent in San Francisco is out of this world :-).
Believe it or not, my creative space is a work space by night and a playroom by day. Luckily, my kids and wife keep it pretty organized so I am able to focus on my work when the creative juices start flowing.
The office/playroom works out okay because I do most of my writing in a journal and only use my work space when I am transferring those thoughts from paper to the computer or editing images in Photoshop.
I highly recommend the journal because you can always have it in your bag and you’re not limited by the computer or other digital distractions.
Is My Daddy Loves Me, How Do I Know? your first book?
This is my first eBook. I have written a lot of stories, scripts and game designs while working in video games, but this is my first publication. I hope it’s the first of many!
You decided to self publish this book. Can you explain your thoughts on self publishing today versus even just 5 years ago?
It is an exciting time to be an author today because the barriers that use to keep the self publisher out of the market are falling down. Five years ago, if you wanted to self publish, you had two options. You could pay to have it printed or you could write a PDF that was only viewable on a computer. Now, people have many more options. You can self-publish through Apple, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Sony or on the Kobo. It really is an amazing time for story creators and story consumers.
I must ask, being a curious person, what color are your eyes?
They are blue, unless I am working hard… then they turn a little red.
What is next for James Zachary?
I would love to bring My Daddy Loves Me, How Do I Know? into the Apple Store as a stand-alone app. Creating eBooks/iBooks is a blast, but I think most people still prefer downloading an app for children compared to a iBook. I would also like to create a version of My Daddy Loves Me for the fathers and sons. I know my brother would love to read it to his son, Ian.
Thank you, James. It has truly been a delight. The last word is yours. Is there anything you would like readers to know?
I’ve decided to write a blog about my journey and the lessons I learned while working on the eBook. The blog is still very young but I am really excited about it. You can check it out at www.writingmyfirst.com.
My Daddy Loves Me, How Do I Know? is available as an eBook or an iBook
Here are the links:
Ibooks : http://itunes.apple.com/us/book/my-daddy-loves-me-how-do-i-know/id532931876?mt=11
(supplied by James Zachary, KLR does not benefit from any sales through these links.)