Maja Sereda from Johannesburg, South Africa, where I lived as a little kid (and still remember the wonderful music, foods, wildlife, sunsets, etc.) won the SCBWI Crystal Kite Award for Africa — congratulations! You can learn a little about the wonders of Africa by reading her picture book, A KITE’S FLIGHT. And you can get to know a little bit about Maja right here:
Q: Tea or coffee? Flavor? Milk or sugar?
Maja: Tea – I love jasmine, orange green, mint, the list can go on. I’m a tea fanatic! And some sugar please.
Q: Chocolate or some lesser nectar of the gods?
Maja: Chocolate, preferably dark.
Q: Favorite season?
Maja: Spring – I suppose that’s the most obvious, but I love seeing my garden wake up, new seedling sprout and flowers blossom. It’s a beautiful time of the year.
Q: Can you deal better with wind or rain?
Maja: Rain. I love the afternoon showers during the highveld summers in South Africa. The skies open, sometimes with a bit of thunder and afterwards we get the most wonderful sunshine, everything glistens.
Q: Cat or dog?
Maja: Cat. I worked at a cat shelter for four years – I found it very rewarding. At home I have three little ones, they love to sit on my desk and watch me work. Cats have amazing personalities.
Q: Jeans or Fancier?
Maja: Jeans. I work from home and love to feel comfortable so I wear jeans most of the time.
Q: Favorite sport or form of exercise?
Maja: I’ve taken up running but I’m definitely in the beginner phase. I really enjoy it! Maybe one day I’ll be able to run a marathon.
Q: Ideal vacation?
Maja: I love travelling around Europe, seeing different cities and experiencing different cultures. Last year, I visited Germany, Austria, Czech Republic and Poland. I’m hoping to see Italy, Spain and Netherlands next.
Q: Favorite medium as an artist?
Maja: Oils and charcoal – I’m a fine artist at heart. I’m busy painting some new illustrations with oils. Even though it takes a long time, I find it very rewarding.
Q: Thing(s) you need most in order to do your artwork?
Maja: Solitude. It clears my mind and helps me dream up new ideas. I love a little bit of music and the sound of birds chirping outside my studio. Routine is also important – I do my best work in the mornings.