My Writing and Reading Life: Audrey Vernick
Audrey Vernick is the author of several picture books, including So You Want to Be a Rock Star, Is Your Buffalo Ready for Kindergarten? and Brothers at Bat, which was a New York Times Notable Book and Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books Blue Ribbon Award winner. A two-time recipient of the New Jersey Arts Council’s fiction fellowship, Audrey lives near the ocean with her husband, two children, and two crazy-happy dogs. www.audreyvernick.com
Latest published book … Bogart and Vinnie: A Completely Made-Up Story of True Friendship, illustrated by Henry Cole.
You wrote it because … of the spate of nonfiction interspecies friendship picture books. I found myself questioning how the authors felt confident to call the relationships between these animals (tortoise and hippo, elephant and dog, etc.) friendships. They had definitely been photographed near each other, but I wasn’t convinced that was the same as friendship. I wanted to explore what would happen when animals’ proximity was misread as a mutual, reciprocal friendship.
Favorite place to write … the beach, because that means I’m already up to the revision stage. I do early drafts on a laptop, almost always at home. But hard-copy editing can happen at the beach, by the pool, once outside Convention Hall in Asbury Park when Bruce Springsteen was rehearsing inside.
Necessary writing/creativity tool … coffee.
Favorite bookshop … Booktowne in Manasquan, NJ. There’s not an independent bookstore in my town, so I adopted Booktowne.
Currently reading … Blasphemy by Sherman Alexie.
All-time favorite children’s book you didn’t write … I simply can’t reduce it to one. But the list would include Lynn Rae Perkins’ All Alone in the Universe, Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich’s 8th Grade Superzero, Edward Gorey’s The Gashlycrumb Tinies and Liz Garton Scanlon’s All The World. (Rereading that list just now made me worry that readers might find me to be a bit unstable.)
An author you idol … Lorrie Moore. I don’t think there’s anyone else who so consistently makes me laugh and hits me in the emotional gut.
A literary character to vacation with … except for the potential awkwardness of being the only human in the mix, I think it would be great fun to kick back with James Marshall’s George and Martha.