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What do you do first in a book? Write or draw?
- I usually begin with the ideas and the text. The illustrations come later.
- Where do the ideas for your stories come from?
- This is hard to answer. I believe each writer has their own way to create. I’m not sure where my ideas come from and sometimes I think they come from a universe bigger than me. Then, I dedicate myself to choose the words and images to tell these stories in the best way I can. During this process of transit from the imagination to the paper, the idea is often transformed and matured.
How do you choose your book titles? And the characters’ names?
- I find it extremely difficult to give a title to books, I’m always in doubt and spend a long time looking for one. Names for characters are easier. I have loads of lists with funny names. I don’t like to give them regular names because a child who’s called the same might get upset, I suppose.
- What are your favorite books?
- There are many. Some of them are Harry Potter, by J. K. Roling; A bolsa amarela (The Yellow Bag), by Lygia Bojunga; Tale of Desperaux, by Kate DiCamillo; Belgium giants, by Burkhard Spinnen; The empty pot, by Demi; and Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman.
- Do you have a favorite illustrator?
- I have two: Einar Turkowski and Lisbeth Zwerger.
- What about the books you wrote? Which do you like best?
- It depends, at times I prefer one rather than others and vice-versa. But there are a few that are always among my favorites: Fuzz McFlops, Os problemas da família Gorgonzola (The Gorgonzola Family’s Problems), Zig zag, Bruxinha Zuzu (Little witch Zuzu) and Problemas boborildos (Borborildos problems).
- When you were a child, did you use to think you’d be a writer?
- No, it never crossed my mind.
- When did you start drawing?
- When I was a little girl. I still remember the day I was drawing a stick man. Then, I put some clothes on him, shirt and pants, and was amazed with the result. I figured I was an excellent drawer. I was about six years old, I guess.
- Where do you live?
- In the city of São Paulo. But sometimes I live on the moon, in the enchanted forest, in the gnomes’ little cave.
- Do you have any brothers or sisters?
- I have two brothers and an older sister. I’m the baby of the Family, and I love all of them.
- Do you have any children?
- Yes, I have two adorable children. Claudia and Paulo.
- Do you have any collection?
- I collect pebbles, which are the stones worn smooth by the action of the water in the sea or a river.
- What annoys you?
- Untidy layouts, tight shoes, freezing cold air conditioning, prickly clothes tags.
Do you prefer cats or dogs?
- I used to prefer cats, but I learned how to love dogs. However, when it comes to drawing, I definitely prefer rabbits.
- Is there any animal you hate?
- Yes, and it’s more than one. I hate hyenas, cockroaches and hens. On the other hand, I like vultures. But, about drawing, I hate to draw monkeys.
- Can you confess a terrible flaw of yours?
- Yes. I don’t answer letters. I have no time to answer them and it makes me feel terribly guilty!
- What occupation would you like to have if you weren’t a writer?
- Oh, I would like to be a teacher or a clown.
- And what occupations would you rather not have?
- Airline pilot, president, astronaut and butcher.