"Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born." - Anais Nin
Hayley and I are many things to each other, friends, daughter/mother-in-law, co-conspirators, collaborators, confidants, therapists, creative geniuses, enablers, etc. But we are, first and foremost, family. After that, we try to have fun and create stories that bring inclusion, ethics, equality, and adventure to children. There are hundreds of illustrators, but I wanted Hayley; I wanted "us," our "team," because we both understand what the other is trying to convey, show, and create to change the world. I believe that makes a difference in the art that you stand behind when you stand behind and with your team.
Question: Are you two related?
Answer: Yes. Hayley is married to my heart-son (stepson) Jeff.
Question: Why is your site called Velvet Pumpkin Books instead of just your author name?
Answer: I wouldn't be a published author without Hayley as the illustrator. I believe that we both created all of the books together and so it didn't feel right to have just an "author" page displaying MY work when truly, it is OUR work.
Question: How long have you two been working together?
Answer: When Hayley and Jeff married in 2014, we discussed how she wanted to pad her art portfolio for job prospects. I had already written nearly 75 stories, so we started with the board books, moved on to Tallulah Froom, then Jun Anzu, and then we became addicted to the partnership and creative genius we were together.
Question: What do you have planned for future books?
Answer: We have one more picture book coming soon, "The Kind Kindergarten Class." After that, we are pursuing other creative avenues for a while, and then we may come back to collaborate on more stories/projects.