Giveaway: “Squire & Daniel. A story about losing your best friend”
Ross Boone, author of “Squire & Daniel,” has generously offered for one copy of the book for our giveaway here. Open to anyone, any location, no restrictions. Book will be mailed to winner via Amazon.
NOTE: This giveaway is now closed. Congrats to Marie M. who was the winner!
Interview with the author, Ross Boone
Our own Tamara Beachum came across a book that intrigued her. She had a chance to meet with the author Ross Boone, a.k.a. Raw Spoon, and do a follow up interview with him. The following is a Q&A between Tamara and Ross. Enjoy!
Q: I have an odd little habit: I collect grief books. My kids are grown and gone but when I picked up your picture book, Squire and Daniel: A Story About Losing Your Best Friend, at the Decatur Book Festival I was drawn to the illustrations. Tell us what the inspiration was for this book. What were your intentions in creating it?
A: A few years ago my uncle had an unexpected heart attack and passed away. Of course it was tragic and sad for me but I hurt especially for my aunt, losing her husband and best friend. I had been writing and illustrating kid’s books for my job, and it was also my passion, so I did what I knew to do best. I wrote and illustrated a kid’s book, for my adult aunt.
The characters of my book are my Aunt and Uncle’s two best-friend donkeys, named after our great, great relatives, Daniel and Squire Boone. I thought this was a good metaphor to portray what it is like to lose a best friend so I imagined, and tried to portray the grief of separating these two innocent, cute animals, who had a strong and child-like purity to their friendship.
Q: What role do you think creativity plays in the grieving process? How did creativity help you?
A: For someone who is creative, like I am, it is nice to feel like I could do something positive and creative with such loaded and helpless emotions. It helped me in two ways. First, it gave me some beautiful clarity as I processed the death of my uncle. It did this by helping me feel like I had honored him with a gift of my own efforts, while showing that he was significant to me. Second, it helped me feel that I could help my aunt, his best friend, who was hurting even more deeply than the rest of us.
Q: Your illustrations are fascinating. They are simple but have a depth to them that draws the reader in. Can you tell us a little about your creative process in designing the illustrations and the book as a whole?
A: The most important part of this art was the expressions of the characters. Every nuance of the way they stood, the look on their faces, and what action they were doing was important in communicating who they were and the emotions they felt. In a kid’s story where the characters are simply drawn, every line counts. But that’s all it takes. The rest of the elements of the art could have almost been arbitrary, drawn with a marker on the back of some cardboard or something, if the expressions would have still been there.
The quality of the art will earn attention long enough to capture readers with the story, so I was intentional about the textures, colors, and fonts. I drew donkeys about twenty times before I begin work on the story. I wanted to get the anatomy and shape close. There are less obvious but important details like how the light in the pictures slowly dims with the sadness Squire feels.
Q: One of the things I appreciated about your book was the activity at the end to write a letter to your loved one. What made you include a creative activity for the reader? Why did you put that in the book?
A: Part of the reason was because the publisher could only print at certain increments of pages but I love the idea of not only interacting with the reader, but also giving them an action they can take to help them process their own grief. It was a good way to I take advantage of the need to fill more pages.
Q: What has the response been to your book?
A: It’s been really touching to hear how people have responded. A couple of parents told me that their kids ask to read it every night or chose to show it for show and tell. One child whose father had died brought the book to one of his classmates who had just recently lost his own father. There was even someone who worked in a PhD program for grief therapy and she found it valuable to work into their resources and curriculum.
My Aunt bought a dozen copies. One of the big ways that the donkey, Squire, learns to deal with his grief is to start giving the friendship he felt towards Daniel to the other forest creatures around him. Well, one of the ways my wonderful aunt dealt with her grief was to begin volunteering with the youth group at her church. I don’t know if my book had anything to do with that, but even if not, I like to think that I got something right. It seemed to help her.
Q: Where can someone buy a copy?
About Raw Spoon
My pen name is Raw Spoon, but my real name is Ross Boone. When I introduce myself, if someone knows me by my writing, they hear nothing different than someone who knows me in real life. I got an Engineering degree before I realized I needed to be more creative, and then got another degree in Industrial Design. I designed garden décor for 8 years – everything from garden Gnomes to patio umbrellas – but now I do freelance illustration and writing. My mission is to draw struggling Christians like myself closer to God. I am from Colorado originally, lived in Kansas for a couple years, and now live in Atlanta.