Hello, Daniel, thank you for joining me for an interview to talk about what’s new for you in 2016!
Dylan! Thank YOU for having me. I truly appreciate all you do for the young readers. You’re amazing.
Tell us a little bit about Bring Me a Rock!
Ok, So Bring Me a Rock! is a story about a megalomaniac insect king that has a grand plan. He commands all of his loyal buggy subjects to “BRING ME A ROCK!” With them he is going to build a throne fit for a king. When his not-so-grand plan literally begins to fall apart, the smallest and unlikeliest hero steps up to save the day. The real kicker is that once the calamity is sorted out the now appreciative king offers the tiny hero anything his heart desires. He has a huge decision to make.
I’m really excited to share this one. It releases June, 7th from the fantastic team at Simon & Schuster, Books for Young Readers.
Tell us a little bit more about the book you just did with Kwame Alexander, Surf’s Up!
Surf’s Up! has been a wild ride. It’s about two frog friends on their way to the beach. Dude wants to hit the waves, but all Bro wants to do is hit the books. Paradigms are shifted and roles are reversed as Dude learns just how exciting reading can be, especially when you let your imagination do its thing.
Kwame’s fast paced dialogue has so much personality. It’s really difficult not to get caught up in it. I recommend a group read aloud with this one. I believe Matthew Winner called it, “Reader’s Theatre.”
I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to collaborate with Kwame and the North South team.
Do you prefer writing and illustrating your own books, or do you prefer illustrating other people’s books as well?
My goal is to tell the most meaningful stories for children that I can. Creatively I think it’s important for me to keep all ways of working on the table. I have a hard time saying one way of doing it is better than the other. It’s extremely satisfying to dream up an idea for a picture book and walk it out start to finish. There’s a continuity to it that’s hard to replicate. On the other hand when I get to work on someone else’s story I’m consistently surprised by the final product. If I’m honest, starting with an existing text is usually an internal wrestling match for me. Through that process I almost always learn something new about how I tell stories, or why I tell stories. This is critical for me because I want to keep growing and evolving.
What is one thing that readers don’t know about you, that only you could tell us?
My favorite movie of all time is A River Runs Through It. I try not to watch it if I can help it, because by the end I’m a sobbing mess. Maybe its because I grew up with an older brother? I don’t know.
If you weren’t writing and illustrating books, what do you think you’d be doing?
Usually when asked what I’d be doing if I wasn’t a professional artist, I just say I’d be an unprofessional one. Also, I love teaching. That would be a career path I’d definitely like to try.
How did your career as an author/illustrator start?
A good friend introduced me to my artist reps at Studio Goodwin Sturges. They saw potential in what I was doing, but I didn’t have a portfolio that was right for the children’s book market yet. I spent time with them building a new body of work that felt right. In the process of finding my visual voice I found a creative family. My first project was Waking Up is Hard to Do written by the one and only Neil Sedaka. When I saw Neil holding our book up on the Today show with Kathie Lee and Hoda, I thought, dear lord what have I gotten myself into.
What can readers expect from you in the future?
More books! Currently I’m working on a new one with Simon & Schuster based on the #thatneighborkid series I’ve been doing on Instagram (@danielmiyaresdoodles)
Anything else you’d like to share with readers of this blog?
Yeah, thank you for supporting picture books and the people that make them. It’s truly an honor to get to share my stories.
Thank you, Daniel, for joining me here!