Recently I had the pleasure of interviewing Bo Zaunders, photographer, author and illustrator. A couple of weeks ago I did a review on this blog about his storybook app, The Artist, Mortimer.
When did you decide to become an author and what impact has this had on your life?
From being an art and creative director in various ad agencies, I began freelancing as a photographer, specializing in travel, food and wine. Then, at one point back in the 90s, after I had completed a photo assignment, my editor wondered if I would interested in writing the article myself. Why not? I did. It was well liked, and led to any number of writing assignments, mostly for Sidestreets of the World, a travel newsletter; World’s Fare, a syndicated service of the L.A. Times/ Chicago Tribune; and Nordic Reach, a magazine focused on the Scandinavian countries.
As for children’s books, my wife’s editor saw my drawings (as a teenager I studied art) and assigned me as the illustrator of “Max, the Bad-Talking Parrot.” It was followed by “One Gift Deserves Another,” a remake of one of the Brothers Grimm tales.
Roxie Munro, my wife, and I began collaborating on a series of children’s books about adventurous travelers, early fliers, and great architects. She illustrated and I wrote.
As for the impact writing has had on my life, it has allowed for lot of fun travel – from the Marquesas Islands in the South Pacific to Svalbard just a short distance from the North Pole; not to mention a visit to Tunisia, two weeks before the revolution.
2. Tell us about your latest work and what motivated you to write it:
My most recent work in the world of children’s literature is an interactive animated app (“The Artist Mortimer”), with narration, sounds, and music, developed out of a book idea I had a few years ago, which was based on a drawing I did of an artist painting a tree. As he walked off with the painting, he left an empty space where the tree had stood. This led to the question, what would be the consequences if everything he painted would be taken away? An interesting challenge.
3. What are your future aspirations as an author?
Actually, getting involved with apps was very exciting.
4. Where do your ideas come from, (what inspires you)? What experiences or aspects of your life influence your writing?
Difficult to say. One thing leads to another. Naturally, my pleasure in travel had something to do with writing a book about adventurous travelers. I always loved to draw, mostly in a rather cartoon-like style, so that when Roxie and I were introduced to a number of cartoonists from The New Yorker, I felt right at home – and more inspired than ever. So my work evolves from my interests.
5. What do you do to improve yourself and a writer and illustrator?
I rewrite. And redraw.
Thanks to Bo Zaunders for his time and an interesting interview. We look forward to more of his creativity.