Today I’m most honored to host Matt Tavares in revealing the cover for his September ’19 title, DASHER! First, a few words with Matt….
Matt, tell us about Dasher.
Dasher is the story of a young doe who spends her days with her family under the hot sun in a traveling circus. At night, Mama tells stories about the North Pole, where Mama and Papa had been free to roam under the glow of the North Star. And when her family sleeps, Dasher lies awake, gazing at the star on the horizon, wishing for crisp, cold air and cool blankets of white snow. And one day, when the opportunity arises, she follows her star and embarks on a journey that changes Christmas forever.
Where did you get the idea for this story?
The idea for Dasher began with a question: How did Santa’s team of reindeer become Santa’s team of reindeer? It occurred to me that these animals are world-famous, but I had never heard a story that explained how they were chosen for this important job. I wanted to tell that story.
For a while, I was stumped. But then, one January day in 2017, during a 10-minute drive home from my daughter’s basketball game, the idea for Dasher appeared almost-fully formed (it doesn’t usually happen this way!). When I got home, I wrote it all down as fast as I could, and 3 days later the first draft of Dasher was done. I had never had a story come together so quickly before, and it hasn’t happened since!
What medium did you use to illustrate this story?
I used mostly watercolor and gouache, but also ink, graphite, charcoal pencil, some white pencil, and a bit of pastel here and there. So a little bit of everything, I guess! On Arches 300 lb hot press watercolor paper.
You write a lot of stories about Christmas and the holiday season. Does Christmas have a special significance to you?
There’s just something so magical about that time of year. I love how so many magical elements become a part of our every day life during the holiday season- Santa Claus! Elves! Flying reindeer! I remember so vividly laying awake late at night on Christmas Eve, listening for sleigh bells and reindeer hooves on the rooftop. I guess I keep trying to capture some of that feeling in a book. I also really love painting snow.
When can readers expect this book to hit shelves?
September 10, 2019!
And…. here it is!