Kelly DiPucchio - A Lion & Dragonfly Interview
French Poodles and Bulldogs and Mermaids, Oh My! Gaston, Antoinette and Oona have been fan favorites in our collections this year, and it's about time we introduce you to the prolific author Kelly DiPucchio! We have adored her beloved children's books for years, and are thrilled she took the time to answer a few questions. Thank you Kelly!
What was the inspiration for Gaston?
The inspiration for Gaston was born out of my love for French bulldogs. I don’t have a Frenchie but I’ve always admired the breed because the dogs seem to have such distinct, quirky personalities.
Oona was first created by the book’s amazing illustrator, Raissa Figureoa. Raissa drew the character as part of a month-long social media challenge called MerMay. I was introduced to Oona much later when I was asked by an editor to write a story for the adorable mermaid.
What inspired you to become an author?
I think every book I have ever read since childhood somehow inspired me to want to become an author. But it was a fairytale-like dream I had back in 1995, shortly after my grandfather passed away, that was the first catalyst. The True Story of the Three Little Pigs, by Jon Scieszka, illustrated by Lane Smith, was the second.
What do you think are the ingredients for a great children’s book?
I think there are endless recipes for great children’s books but the ingredients will vary depending on the dish being served. That being said, I believe the most powerful and important ingredient is always love.
What is your favorite place to write? My office is pretty much my sanctuary. I have a beautiful sky mural on the ceiling, a rainbow maker on my window and I’m surrounded by my favorite books. It’s very peaceful.
Do you listen to music while you are working? I’m probably a bit of an oddball in the creative community but I never listen to music when I’m working. I prefer silence and the voices in my head.
What children’s book (other than your own) are you recommending to friends at the moment? My new favorite picture book comes out this month. It’s called Chez Bob. The book is written and illustrated by Bob Shea and it’s pitch perfect. I love everything about it.
It’s back-to-school season in Virginia (where Lion & Dragonfly is based). We have to know: What is your favorite school supply? My favorite school supply has always been a brand-new box of Crayola crayons. New crayons hold so much promise and they smell really good!
Do you have a dog? I have THREE dogs! Pearl, Louis and Finnley.
9. Which superpower would you most like to have? Two years ago someone asked me this same question and my answer back then was the ability to teleport. Today my answer would be the power of prophecy – the ability to see into the future.
10. What’s the last book you couldn’t put down? It’s usually the book I’m currently reading and right now I’m reading Secondhand Dogs by my good friend, Carolyn Crimi. It’s wonderful!
11. What museum would you most like to spend the night in? The Museum of Delphi because I’d love to visit Greece.
12. If you weren’t an author, what would you most like to be? A time traveler.
13. What advice do you have for aspiring writers? Read and study a variety of children’s books. Join a critique group. Attend workshops and conferences. Learn to write in complete sentences. Have a sense of humor!
14. What are you currently working on?
I recently finished working on edits for the third Oona book! Book #2, Oona and the Shark, comes out in January. Forty Winks: A Bedtime Adventure, illustrated by Lita Judge will be out in October. I can’t wait for you to see them both!
Twitter & IG: @kellydipucchio