Debbie: Tell us a little about yourself.
Cyd: I grew up on a peanut farm in south Georgia 7 miles from the nearest town. The world was simple and laid back. My brothers and I built a lot of forts and tree houses in the woods around our house and we played in the creek during hot summer days. We only had 2 TV stations and my high school graduation class had only 18 students! I went to the University of Georgia, moved all around the south, including Birmingham, AL and then moved to Birmingham, MI. I've been here for 18 years. I've been a graphic designer, a web designer, a writer, a painter, and most of all a children's book illustrator. When I'm not making art, I'm usually doing yoga, reading, walking the dog, gardening or cooking. My 2 boys are grown and now I live in Sylvan Lake, MI with my favorite man, 3 cats and 1 dog.
Cyd: Several new books came out this past year:
- Your Kind of Mommy is for very young kids. It has a dog and puppy, a baby whale and a mommy whale, a baby kangaroo and a mommy kangaroo. It's very sweet, "If I could be an octopus, I'd wrap eight arms around you. But I'm not that kind of mommy, so my hugs will always do."
- Granny's Dragon was really a blast. The little red haired girl visits her Granny. Granny has a wonderful dragon with swirly green eyes and special power to banish all of the scary monsters back to their monster worlds forever. A nice bedtime story for sleep overs at grandma's house!
- Willow was released by a publisher here in Michigan, Sleeping Bear Press. The authors are sisters, Denise Brennan Nelson and Rosemarie Brennan, and they live in Michigan also. I love this book because the main character is a creative little free spirit who loves to paint and draw WAY outside the lines! Willow's generosity, kindness, and joyful creativity warm the heart of her most rigid art teacher. The story encourages kids and adults to live with a little more endless possibility in life! It's a good one.
Debbie: Other books, and and projects on the horizon?
Cyd: I'm working on illustrations for a book about Arbor Day for Peachtree Publishing, to be released in 2010 and 2 Stinky Face early readers, based on the extremely popular series, I Love You Stinky Face published by Scholastic. These will be published in 2010 also. In between, I'm writing new stories and making dummy books, and painting a lot. Soon, I'll have prints and original art available on my website: http://www.cydmoore.com/.
Debbie: Upcoming appearances?
Cyd: I'm headed to Florida for school visits in January. I'll be at the Michigan Reading Association in March, and I'm booked for quite a few school appearances around the midwest in the spring. Making presentations at schools is one of the perks of my job! It's such a kick to meet all of the kids and teachers. We talk about making books, and finding stories in every day life. I tell them wild stories of my own childhood (which almost always involve alligators, goats, & armadillos!) I draw pictures and sign books and we all have a great time. The goal is to inspire kids to walk away from the tv's and video games for a little while each day to have adventures in the real world!
Debbie: Your favorite place in Michigan?
Cyd: I traveled to Marquette last year for an Author Festival and was so happy that I was asked to come. I probably would have never taken the time to explore there. What a beautiful part of the world! Locally? I'm a gardening addict, so I love Goldner Walsh Nursery and Detroit Garden Works. I've also walked thousands of miles around Cranbrook over the years—so beautiful. I also enjoy the Oakland Co. Farmers Market in Waterford, MI. The produce is the freshest and healthiest you can get, it's the best price you can get, and you're helping our local community by buying from local growers instead of those in California or even South America. The apples right now are scrumptious!
Cyd: I love when the lake freezes and everyone comes out to skate, ride snow mobiles, and even ski behind four wheelers. For a while, life seems suspended for nothing but fun. The lake is dotted with smooth patches shoveled off for hockey games with friends. People ice fish and dogs slip and slide across the surface, so happy to be free of leashes. During a rare winter sunset, walking across that quiet wide open snowy space is absolute magic.
Debbie: A few fun Michigan people we should all know about?
Cyd: If anyone is interested in martial arts, t'ai chi, and meditation, I highly recommend the School of Martial Arts in Berkley, MI. People travel from far away to study martial arts with Sifu Robert Brown. He's is one of the best teachers in the country. It's a jewel right here in our neighborhood. They have the most amazing program for getting your body and your head and spirit in shape! They also have an energetic kid's program that develops self discipline and leadership skills. (http://www.zenmartialarts.com/)
Debbie: Something you'd like a non-Michigander to know about our state?
Cyd: I didn't know what to expect about Michigan, since I had never visited before I moved here. Maybe I thought of corn fields and flat plains like some other parts of the midwest. I certainly didn't expect the lush green watery world that it is. An outsider doesn't comprehend exactly how "great" the Great Lakes are. My southern friend came up to Harbor Springs with me, and was overwhelmed. It truly is spectacular. The ocean appeals to me more than anything, but Lake Michigan and Lake Superior feel as vast as the Atlantic sometimes. Summers are glorious. You can find beaches that are practically deserted—way better than Florida in the summer and there are no shark attacks! Going across Lake Michigan on a ferry is really fun. In winter, there's also so much to do. Ski clubs are fun for kids, cross country skiing, snow mobile trails. I even saw a kid ice surfing last year. People sometimes ask if I miss living in the South. I really don't. I like that you can be outside in every season. I like that you only have to water your pots of flowers a couple of times a week, instead of a couple of times a day in the summer. In Georgia, you have to be up for your morning jog at 5 am, just to avoid having a heat stroke!
Cyd: I suppose I could be a Michigander, but I've never used that term for myself. My accent is still pretty strong, so most people never guess I've been here for 18 years. In my heart, I guess I'll always feel like a southern belle.
Debbie: Cyd, thanks for joining us today! And any of you reading who might want to hear an interview with Cyd (southern accent included!), head over to http://www.justonemorebook.com/?s=%22Cyd%20Moore%22