Interview with Karen A. Wyle
Author of You Can't Kiss A Bubble
As a novelist, I write SF (near future as well as alien planets), fantasy, and historical romance. I also write picture books, collaborating with various illustrators. I'm a quasi-retired appellate attorney, and have written one nonfiction book, attempting to summarize American law and legal practice for the benefit of anyone who wants to better understand the American legal landscape.
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Quick description of the book for a new reader - what should they expect?
- This book starts showing what happens if you try to kiss a bubble ("POP!"), moves on to showing some other fun things you can't do with a bubble, and finally shows ways you can enjoy bubbles. Siski Kalla's illustrations are delightful. From what readers have said, the book conveys the message that temporary things can still be precious, without being heavy-handed about it.
How did you connect with illustrator Siski Kalla, and what did she bring to the book?
- I'm not sure exactly where I found Siski, but I looked at multiple artist portfolios on various sites, and also joined several Facebook groups for authors and illustrators of children's books. Many illustrators posted their Instagram URLs in that group.
As for what Siski brought to the book besides delightful, cheerful, sometimes silly images, she contributed some terrific ideas! Those ideas ranged from settings, to the puppy dog that appears on most pages, to the brilliant inspiration that allowed us to show one particularly abstract idea in tangible form.
Which picture book authors do you admire? How have they influenced your writing style?
- I grew up with Robert McCloskey's books, and especially loved Blueberries for Sal. However, I think Margaret Wise Brown's books had a greater influence on me, particularly the way she could write a wonderful book that didn't have a plot in the traditional sense.
How have readers responded?
- This book has been my most popular book in any genre, and has gotten what I'd have to call rave reviews. So I've been happy with the response! :-)
Have you written other picture books?
- As I'm answering this question, I have two other picture books out:
-- WHEN IT'S WINTER, a celebration of the pleasures of winter both outdoors and indoors, illustrated by Barbara Dessi.
-- WIND, OCEAN, GRASS, a dialogue between the wind and the grass about how a field of grass is both like the ocean. Painter Tomasz Mikutel did the gorgeous nature illustrations. This book carries (again, somewhat subtly) a message about accepting and celebrating differences.
Do you have other picture books coming out?
- I'm currently working on two books, which may be available by the end of 2023:
--A book tentatively titled WHERE FIREFLIES SLEEP, a quiet story of a father and daughter waiting for and then watching the first fireflies of summer. Fundamentally, it's about the bond between the father and daughter, and his loving care of her.
-- A picture book biography of composer Joaquin Rodrigo, who went blind as a young child. It may be called THE BOY WHO HEARD MUSIC.
What can you do with a bubble?
Many children – and adults – find bubbles fascinating, even enchanting. And yet they’re so different from most things we enjoy, lasting only a few moments. This little book, with its lovely and whimsical illustrations, looks at both the charm and the transitory nature of bubbles, and reminds us that we can take joy even in the impermanent.