Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Ten Questions with Ann Love and Jane Drake

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Ten Questions with Ann Love and Jane Drake

Sisters and authors Ann Love and Jane Drake talk to Open Book about co-writing, what's on their bedside table, Canadian books and their latest book, Talking Tails: The Incredible Connection Between People and Their Pets (Tundra Books).

Open Book: Toronto:

Tell us about your book, Talking Tails.

Ann Love and Jane Drake:

Talking Tails: The Incredible Connection Between People and Their Pets looks at the world from the point of view of pets. It’s a social history that explores when/where and why pet animals were domesticated and features story as a way of passing on information to kids.

OBT:

Did you have a specific readership in mind when you wrote your book?

AL & JD:

Our books are usually directed at the age group 8 to12, but they often have a wider readership to include a savvy six-year-old and onwards up to adult.

OBT:

How did you research your book?

AL & JD:

We both have had many pets in our families but were, at the time of starting the project, without dogs. We both acquired a puppy to challenge the supremacy of the family cats. Many of the pets described – Casper, Nibbles, Alex, Nellie and so on – have been our own pets. We also collected information from other pet owners, veterinarians, dog and cat breeders, trainers and so on. It is a very personal book that benefits from hands-on research.

OBT:

What is the greatest difference between dog people and cat people?

AL & JD:

Allergies and experience! Many people claim to prefer one kind of pet over the other. This preference can occur without personal ownership. Jane’s husband grew up with Labs and never had much contact with cats and found them cold and aloof. Now he takes Nellie the family ginger tabby for a nightly walk along with the bouncy Labrador. Maybe dog people enjoy the unconditional love they share with their dogs – and cat people are bemused by the way their pets assume they (cats) are in charge.

OBT:

You're sisters as well as coauthors. When did you start collaborating on projects, and what was your first publication?

AL & JD:

We started collaborating after taking a writing course together in 1987. We signed our first contract for <Take Action, an environmental book for kids, published in 1992.

OBT:

Describe your ideal work environment.

JD:

Nellie on my lap, Angus at my feet, sun streaming in the window.

AL:

Alex and Skookum asleep as I work on the computer – but both ready for a walk outside at any moment.

OBT:

What advice do you have for writers who are trying to get published?

AL & JD:

Know your audience. Volunteer where you can meet your target audience. Be persistent.

OBT:

If you had to choose three books as a “Welcome to Canada” gift, what would those books be?

AL & JD:

For the age group we write for –
Christopher Moore’s books on Canada – The Story of Canada, The Big Book of Canada, 101 Things Canadians Should Know About Canada
Ann Love and Jane Drake – Snow Amazing: Cool Facts and Warm Tales
and for everyone – Ann Blades – Mary of Mile 18

OBT:

What books are on your bedside table?

AL & JD:

The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway; An Imperfect Offering : Humanitarian Action in the Twenty-First Century by James Orbinski; The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat by Oliver Sacks; Cooking With Vegetables and Fruits in Season by Sarah Raven; and Talking Tails: the Incredible Connection Between People and Their Pets.

OBT:

What is your next project?

AL & JD:

In the fall, we are coming out with a handbook for kids in early high school: Yes You Can: Your Guide to Social Change.

And we are negotiating a contract for a book that will be similar to our books Talking Tails and Sweet! A social history or “the world from the point of view from” type of book, complete with timeline and stories. Stay tuned….


Ann Love and Jane Drake, sisters and coauthors, have written many award-winning books for young readers, including Cool Woods: A Trip around the World’s Boreal Forest; Snow Amazing: Cool Facts and Warm Tales; Trash Action: A Fresh Look at Garbage; Sweet! The Delicious Story of Candy; and Alien Invaders: Species that Threaten Our World. They share a lifelong interest in the environment and the wild, travel extensively and, through their books and presentations, inspire children to be more observant of the world around them. Ann Love and Jane Drake live in the Toronto area. For more information, visit their website at janedrake.ca.

For more information about Talking Tails, please visit Tundra’s website at www.tundrabooks.com

Buy this book at your local independent bookstore or online at Chapters/Indigo or Amazon.

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