GALÁPAGOS GIRL Blog Tour: Interview with Marsha Diane Arnold and Angela Dominguez

Today I’m honored to have both Marsha Diane Arnold (author) and Angela Dominguez (illustrator) of GALÁPAGOS GIRL (Sept. 18, Lee & Low) here for some interview questions!

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First, let’s hear from Marsha…

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Marsha, what inspired you to write this book?

The enchanting Galápagos Islands! Who wouldn’t want to write about this beautiful volcanic archipelago filled with unique flora and fauna? When I visited in 2007, I met Valentina Cruz, our naturalist guide, who was born and raised on the islands. That’s when the idea came to me of writing about Galápagos wildlife through the eyes of a young girl who grew up there.

Tell us about the book from your perspective.

 Galápagos Girl/Galapagueña is a celebration of a way of life that revolves around nature. That was the life lived by Valentina Cruz, her parents, and her eleven brothers and sisters. The book is also a salute to the amazing creatures that inhabit the islands. Many are threatened. Many are found nowhere else on earth. I wanted to say a prayer for them before the world – “We will not forget you. And we will help to keep you safe.”

Here are a few of the Galápagos animals I met on my visit:

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Sea lion and Nazca booby look you straight in the eyes in the Galápagos.

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I love hanging out with marine iguanas and sea lions.

What were your thoughts when you first saw Angela’s illustrations?

Angela’s illustrations are so bright and cheerful. They portray the delight Valentina felt growing up in the Galápagos. I felt Angela’s images would draw young readers into our book. She was the perfect choice to illustrate Galápagos Girl/Galapagueña.

Anything else you’d like to tell readers?

Have fun exploring nature each day, whether it’s examing a seedling popping through a sidewalk crack, studying a bird building a nest, listening to a coyote’s howl, or watching the moon at night. You can also have fun reading about nature. Learn about a rare or unusual animal, like the babirusa or the pink fairy armadillo. They are fascinating!

What’s coming next for you?

Next spring is an exciting time for me. Badger’s Perfect Garden, illustrated by Ramona Kaulitzki, comes out from Sleeping Bear Press in March. Mine. Yours., illustrated by Qin Leng, follows in April from Kids Can Press.

I just discovered who the illustrator for my 2020 book will be and got permission to share it here! Lights Out!, to be illustrated by Susan Reagan, is about another subject I’m passionate about – light pollution.

Thanks so much, Dylan, for having Angela and me to your site to celebrate our book!

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And now, a word from Angela!

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Tell us a little bit about your new book, Galápagos Girl!  

Thank you for having me, Dylan! I’m very excited about this new book. Galapagos Girl is about a young girl named Valentina who grows up on the island of Florena in the Galapagos. Valentina’s exploration of the island inspire her to become a biologist and share her love of the Galapagos with others. This book, at its heart, is about conservation and showcasing the rich diversity of life on the Galápagos. These concepts are what attracted me to this project along with Marsha Diane Arnold’s beautifully written text.

 Tell us a little bit about your illustration process.

For every book, I do some research, but for this book it was important to get everything just right. Especially since there is a glossary for the kids in the back of the book, and it’s also based on a real person. I spent a good part of this project just researching and watching documentaries before even starting sketches. When it came to the final art, I did tight pencil sketches, tighter than usual, and colored it digitally.

Have you always been into writing/illustrating?

I’ve always loved both. I used to make my own books at home or at my mom’s work on the weekends. I would work on an old typewriter that no one used anymore at her office while she caught up on work. When it came to college, I choose illustration as a major. I’ve been lucky to being doing this professionally for 11 years.

What’s the most exciting part of your job?

I love telling stories in any form. So conceiving a story as either a picture book or now as a middle grade novel is the always the most exciting part. The conferences and school visits though are almost just as fun. Illustration is a mostly solitary job so whenever you get the opportunity to hang out with your book people, it’s the best.

What inspires your creativity?

Can I say everything??  Truly it’s experiences, art, music, and film which to me, is almost everything!  I do find that being outdoors in nature especially inspiring. It gives my mind the space to relax and to conjure ideas.

What is one thing that readers don’t know about you, that only you could tell us?

Oooooh, that’s a fun one. I’m a little afraid of riding bikes. I can ride, but only with hesitation. I think that is one probably one of my biggest goals. It’s also why I included the bike riding scene in Stella Diaz Has Something To Say. Stella is such an extension of me and what I aspire to be.

If you weren’t writing/illustrating books, what do you think you’d be doing?

That’s hard to say. I think I’d have to be doing something creative either working as an art director in publishing company or creating concept art for film. I’d want to be working on stories some way. Although I wouldn’t mind working in a bakery either.

What can readers expect from you in the future?

I’m happy to announce I’m working on a follow up for Stella Diaz Has Something To Say! It’s still very early, but it will be coming out January 2020. I’m also working on the final art for a picture book with Candlewick entitled Kaia and The Bees.

Anything else you’d like to share with readers of this blog?

If you’d like to find out more about me please visit: www.angeladominguezbooks.com or follow me on @andominguez on twitter.

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