Iggy Peck, Architect has stolen my heart. It’s a story about a little guy who’s never been afraid of building his dreams…until he meets his second grade teacher. Every word is memorable, every page frame-able, and Iggy’s parents are drop-dead chic. I don’t want to give away the ending, but I promise your heart will swell on the second-to-last page.
I’m such a fan of this book and author, Andrea Beaty, even more so since she agreed to lend her clever words to Design Mom. There’s just so much goodness in her thoughts. Enjoy!
Q: I love how design-minded Iggy Peck is from such an early age. What were your earliest hopes of who you wanted to become?
A: I was always torn between becoming a spy and a detective. I was a major Nancy Drew fan and had elaborate daydreams about driving the countryside in my convertible with my chums, Bess and George. Well, mostly George. I always thought Bess was an annoying weenie.
Were your parents as supportive — and as stylish! — as Iggy Peck’s?
My parents never told me or my siblings what we could/couldn’t become and they instilled an enormous sense of curiosity and wonder and hard work in us. They were not fancy people. My father was a coal miner and my mother a stay-at-home mom turned historian and librarian. For a time, we ran a small grocery store in a tiny town exactly like the one in Cicada Summer.
My parents were comfortable being themselves and honestly, what could possibly be more stylish than that?
Miss Lila Greer turned out to be a pretty wonderful teacher in the end, but it was touch and go there for a while! What advice would you give to those of us with our own Miss Lila Greers standing in the way of our dreams?
There are some people like Iggy and Ted who have such confidence in their dreams they are oblivious to naysayers. For the rest of us, it’s hard to keep from becoming discouraged by people who don’t get what we’re trying to do. It is especially hard when they are nice or kind or helpful or well-intentioned or in a place of authority. I try to remember that people can be kind and still be clueless. These characteristics are not mutually exclusive. Then, I try my best not to take it personally. I find that if you keep at it long enough, they eventually get a clue or at least acknowledge that your passion is legitimate. Even if they don’t understand it.
Where do you write?
During the summer and fall, I write in my “studio” which is a pop-up camper in the yard. It’s almost like writing outside without the bugs. The rest of the year, I write in my office in the basement of my house. Above my desk is a Doctor Who calendar, a fabulous illustration of a cyberman battle created by my terrific birthday twin, Ryan, and a vintage postcard of Queen Elizabeth II. I think she and my mother looked much alike when they were in their twenties. Though I have come close, I have never ever successfully cleaned my office. Maybe next year. Or not.
When is your favorite time of day to write?
I like to write in the morning before the day’s must-get-dones set in. I don’t always succeed, but I find that is the most fruitful time for me to write.
If you could travel anywhere in the world tomorrow to research a book idea, where would you go?
I have a list as long as my arm, but at the top of the list is Great Britain. I’m a big fan of all things British. I was raised in a very tiny village (300 people) and had only 3 television stations, the strongest of which was the local public broadcasting station. We spent our days tromping barefoot through the fields like wild children, but every Sunday night, we gathered for Masterpiece Theater.
If you could live inside one book you’ve written, which would it be?
When Giants Come to Play. It would be magical to be tossed above a gnarled oak tree by a pair of gentle giants.
First book that broke your heart…
The House at Pooh Corner.
Your daydreams are illustrated by…
Your no-fail cure for writer’s block…
There’s a cure?
So…what dream are you building tomorrow?
At the moment, I’m consumed with getting my kids into/out of college and into their adult lives. It’s a great adventure. Writing-wise, I’m toying with an adult novel and have three or four mid-grade stories elbowing each other for brain space. My next picture book, Artist Ted, is coming out in February. It’s the next adventure in the Ted series. Fans of Iggy might also enjoy Ted. He’s passionate and he is so funny.
Didn’t her words make you happy? Thank you, Andrea! My favorite answer was this one: My parents were comfortable being themselves and honestly, what could possibly be more stylish than that? It’s a lovely reminder, isn’t it?