You may know Cece Bell’s sweet and funny books already. Luckily, she has a new one, RABBIT AND ROBOT: THE SLEEPOVER — with a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly! You can see a little sample of it here. In case you don’t know, Cece Bell herself is very sweet and funny — “delightful,” as Publisher’s Weekly said — as you will see in her own words. Read on!
Why do you write?
I write and illustrate because those are fun things to do. And because they are the only things I feel like I am any good at doing. And because I get to work at home, with no real “boss” telling me what to do and when to do it. And because I really, really like to make people laugh. Now that I think of it, making people laugh might actually be the only goal in my life.
Tell us a little about RABBIT AND ROBOT:
Rabbit and Robot is kind of autobiographical. I am a lot like Rabbit, who writes lists and wants to follow them to the letter and then gets frustrated when things do not go the way the list says they should go. I passed this bit of genetic code onto my son… so now I have to be more like Robot, who is a little more laid back, a little more flexible, so that I can help my son go with the flow a little bit more, too. That all sounds so preachy. Hopefully folks will find that the book is hi-larious, and nutty, too.
Tea or coffee? Flavor? Milk or sugar?
Both. But not very much, and not very often. I like Irish Breakfast Tea with milk and sugar. And anything mocha. Put enough sugar in anything, and most likely I will drink it. Except for Mountain Dew. I draw the line at Mountain Dew.
I like Fall. Good clothes, bittersweet feelings.
Can you deal better with wind or rain?
Deciduous or evergreen?
Deciduous. However, evergreen has that great song by Tom Maxwell, when he was with the Squirrel Nut Zippers:
The one I love is constant
Though seasons come and seasons go
She will abide with me
My darling evergreen
Does deciduous, delicious as it is to say and look at, have such an equal in song? I think not!
What’s always in your fridge?
This very old tube of Wasabi, because I am afraid of it. [Comment: See? She keeps making me snort. Stop that, Cece!]
Favorite comfort food?
Chocolate or some lesser nectar of the gods?
Food you’d rather starve than eat.
Pimento loaf. [Comment: No one has said this before but now I’m wondering why not!]
Cat or dog?
Dog, but only because I am allergic to cats. Cats are awesome, and fun to draw, too.
Flats or heels?
Natural fibers or synthetics?
Both. Goodwill shopping = you get what you get. And sometimes synthetics have the groovier patterns. [ :o) ]
Jeans or fancier?
Short hair or long?
Somewhere in the middle.
Favorite board, card, or computer game?
Favorite sport or form of exercise?
Walking the dogs.
Language in which you’d most like to be fluent.
L’amour, baby. [Snort!]
Country you’d most like to visit.
I’m not really that much of a traveler. But I always wanted to go where the James Herriott “All Creatures Great and Small” series was filmed. Yorkshire? Is that right? I need to get more educated in geography, that’s for sure.
Skill you’d most like to acquire.
Favorite musical instrument.
You’re going on a book tour: Plane, train or automobile?
Train, if it didn’t take so long. Most likely automobile, because that’s what’s handy. If I ever hit it big, I will be getting on a plane with an IV drip full of anti-anxiety medication.
Topic you’d most like to write about.
Topic you think most needs writing about.
Author you’d like to meet.
Question you’d ask that author.
I’d ask for advice as to how to present non-fiction topics in such an interesting way, as she does. And then, while she was talking (hopefully with her eyes closed), I’d try to steal all her paintings. [Ha!]
What / who gives you spiritual guidance and inspiration?
My husband, Tom, is a great sounding board for ideas. And taking walks will do a lot for your creativity.
What most surprises you about our current culture?
How mean-spirited and dramatically divided it seems. But then somebody will do something just, well,nice, and it all melts away. For a moment, at least.
Some favorite books?
Alice and Martin Provensen’s Our Animal Friends at Maple Hill Farm. Margaret Wise Brown and Garth Williams’ Little Fur Family. Ezra Jack Keats’ The Snowy Day. Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen’s Extra Yarn. Peter McCarty’s Hondo and Fabian. And his Henry in Love. Robertson Davies’ The Salterton Trilogy. Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell (greatest villain ever!). Lionel Shriver’s The Post-Birthday World. And, most importantly, all of Ed Emberley’s drawing books.
Some favorite movies?
The Sound of Music gets me every time. And I really like the more episodic movies, like Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure and The Christmas Story and – don’t tell Tom, ’cause he hates it – Nashville. But British tee-vee may be where it’s at these days. Doctor Who, League of Gentlemen, The Mighty Boosh, Alan Partridge, The Office, Spaced… so much to choose from! So little time to watch!
And, oh yeah… I am FINALLY watching The Andy Griffith Show for the first time in my life. Imagine! Being a Southerner and not watching Andy Griffith! Well, the show has been in syndication since I was a kid. But it wasn’t captioned, and I need those captions because I am hearing-impaired and have been, well, since Andy’s been in syndication. It’s streaming on Netflix, and captioned, and I am now in luv with Andy. Watching them in order! Yahoo!
But kids, choose books first. TV will rot your brain. Except for Andy. Andy makes your brain a happier place. With a Southern accent, to boot!
Thank you, Cece! And to find more great books, visit Cece’s website for those she’s already published and for upcoming books, including CRANKEE DOODLE, a joint project with her husband, Tom Angleberger.