AB: Please tell me about your two books that were published last year.
JW:The Secret Circus (Roaring Brook Press, 2009), which I wrote and illustrated, is my first published children's book ever and came out last spring. It's about a circus in Paris, under a carousel near the Eiffel Tower, that is so secret, only the mice know how to find it. I painted it using acrylics in 16 spreads. The second book, Clover Twig and the Magical Cottage (Roaring Brook Press, 2009) was written by Kaye Umansky and is a middle grade fiction book. It's about a sensible, reliable and always tidy girl named Clover Twig who goes to work for a messy witch and discovers that the witch's cottage has quite a few secrets hiding inside of it!
AB: While in New York, you sold art in front of MoMA and also worked painting backgrounds for Oliphant Studio. How did you come to that job?
JW: You know, most of the reading I do these days is with my ears. That’s another trick I learned from working at Oliphant Studio. I listen a lot to books on tape while I’m working. Everything and anything. It distracts my mind from the critical part of my brain. It helps me work and zone out at the same time. I listen to a lot of kids books- I just got the Hunger Games. And pulpy novels, too, especially when I’m working on something hard and need some brain candy. I just got a Steven King book. I think it’ll get me through ‘Bandits’! I also listen to This American Life a lot. And Jim Dale’s audio of the Harry Potter series is the best.