An Interview with The Glow Show Author-Illustrator Susi Schaefer
AIXA PÉREZ-PRADO INTERVIEWS
ABOUT HER NEW PICTURE BOOK
THE GLOW SHOW
(SOURCEBOOKS EXPLORE; $14.99, AGES 4-8)
Glow is a bioluminescent squid who loves to dance and twirl. And the faster he twirls, the brighter he GLOWS! He loves to show off his skills … and becomes quite a show-off with a bad attitude. He doesn’t like sharing the spotlight. And when he ditches his friends in search of fans, he loses his glow! Can Glow find his way home—and if he does, will his friends take him back?
As readers follow Glow’s journey, they’ll learn all about bioluminescence and fascinating ocean creatures along the way.
Aixa Pérez-Prado: Congrats on your picture book, THE GLOW SHOW! How did you get into creating books for young readers?
Susi Schaefer: Thank you so much for the interview. I was born and raised in Austria, where I completed an apprenticeship as a glass painter. That style still influences my illustrations today.
Once I reached my early twenties, I got a case of Wanderlust and came to the U.S. to work as a nanny. While reading tons of picture books to the kids, I fell in love with the format. Eventually, I studied graphic design and worked in that field for many years.
And once I had my own kiddos, I decided to try my hand at illustrating and writing. With the help of the SCBWI and my critique groups, I steadily improved my craft until I landed an agent in 2016. THE GLOW SHOW will be my third book.
APP: Tell us what inspired this book.
SS: I am a huge nature lover and have always been fascinated by the ocean, partially because I grew up in a landlocked country. Soon after arriving here, I got my scuba diving certification to explore the underwater world for myself.
Then, a few years ago, we had a lot of bioluminescent plankton in the surf here in Southern California. I really became interested in glowing marine life.
Also, I wanted to tell a story about friendship versus followers or fans. And that’s how that idea for THE GLOW SHOW was born.
APP: Can you share your process?
SS: For this book, I started by illustrating a finished underwater scene, including a purple, bioluminescent squid. I loved the character so much that I began to write a messy first draft of the manuscript. After a couple of revisions, I created the dummy. The feedback from my critique group was very positive, and I decided to share the idea with my agent. She loved it and helped me refine the dummy. And then, we sent it out on submission and found a wonderful home.
My illustration process is digital collage combined with traditional watercolor washes. First, I create manual sketches on paper, then bring them into Procreate on my Apple iPad Pro and finalize each file in Photoshop on my Mac.
APP: Are you working on any projects you can tell us about?
SS: Yes, I am thrilled to share that I have recently signed two more contracts, one as an illustrator for a book scheduled for publication later in 2023 and the second as an author/illustrator for a book coming in 2025.
APP: Where can people find you out there?
SS: swww.susischaefer.com and on Twitter @susischaeferart and on Instagram @susischaeferart
BUY THE BOOK:
Click here to buy the book from Bookshop.org
Born and raised in the Austrian Alps, Susi Schaefer trained as a glass painter in the medieval town of Rattenberg. After moving to Southern California for sun and adventure, Susi studied graphic design. She’s the illustrator of ZOO ZEN by Kristen Fischer, author-Illustrator of CAT LADIES and THE GLOW SHOW. Susi lives in North Tustin, California, with her family. www.susischaefer.com
Twitter @susischaeferart and on Instagram @susischaeferart
Aixa Pérez-Prado is a native of Argentina who immigrated to the US as a small child. She is a writer, illustrator, translator, sensitivity reader and professor with a PhD in Social Science and Education. Aixa has lived in several different countries, and draws inspiration for her stories and illustrations from diverse locations. Her passion is writing and illustrating picture books aimed at giving diverse children a chance to see their multilayered identities represented through stories that resonate with heart and humor. Aixa writes in Spanish and English and enjoys mixing languages in her prose. Similarly, she loves illustrating by employing different techniques in a whimsical style that includes watercolor, acrylic, ink, and digital. She especially enjoys combining all of these elements through collage. Her 2023 books are CITY FEET (Reycraft), and OUR WORLD: ARGENTINA (Barefoot Books), and coming in 2024, MERCEDES SOSA: THE VOICE OF THE PEOPLE (Lee & Low). Aixa is represented by Joyce Sweeney from the Seymour Agency.