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An Interview with Ruth Amanda


Born and raised in Canada, Ruth’s adventures have taken her to the Arctic, China, and she is currently living in the Caribbean. Everywhere Ruth goes, she takes her trusty notebook, sketchbook and camera phone for when inspiration strikes! She finds inspiration in even the smallest of things and her award-winning picture books are filled with tiny characters from geckos and bugs to frogs and birds. She has named all the birds at the birdfeeder, several stray cats who frequent the food dishes on her patio and is particularly fond of an orange tom named “Oscar (who doesn’t live here)” who is often found sleeping at the foot of her bed. Her favourite gecko is Stumpy who is often missing part of his tail because he is not as fast as he thinks he is!

Who/what made you want to write? Was there a particular person, or particular writers/works/art forms that influenced you?

I have always been a writer and creator from a very early age. I love to create stories and images. When my children were small, I would create murals on the playroom walls for them to colour and we would make up our own stories. Usually we themed them to whatever we were reading together at the time but sometimes we just made things up. It is one of my favourite memories of when the boys were small! Now that grandchildren are beginning to make an appearance, I decided that “Nana” should be much more serious about this… That being said, I am always inspired by the beauty of a Beatrix Potter book, the whimsy of Roald Dahl, and the sharp wit of the late great Sir Terry Pratchett.

What other professions have you worked in? What’s something about you that your readers wouldn’t know?

I spent most of my adult life as a bookkeeper but I have also owned and run a variety of businesses including restaurants, retail sales, and a small farm. The farm alone is the source of many stories yet to be written. Something many of my readers don’t know is that I used to own a “therapy turkey” named Mr. Ridley. He would go on walks with the dogs and I and loved to get hugs. He was a bit of a ladies’ man, and often puffed up his tail and strutted for female visitors of the human variety. He seemed to have no such interest in the other turkeys sadly…

Tell us the story of your book’s title. Was it easy to find, or did it take forever?

The title was easy to find, but there was some discussion on the best way to “word” it as there is a great series of books about a snail named Escargot (created Dashka Slater and Sydney Hanson). The name is the only overlap as their snail character is very french and mine are more “earthy”.

How did it feel when you first saw your book cover? Or when you first held your book in your hands?

I was so proud of how the cover turned out and to get the book in my hands. To feel a solid book at the end of the creative process is very satisfying. Ess-Car-Go is my fourth book and that feeling is not getting old.

If your book had a soundtrack, what are some songs that would be on it?

Well…”I am slowly going crazy” is I think the name of a song we sang at camp when I was a kid and that is certainly what went through my mind when trying to come up with visuals like the starting gun. I mean, what kind of gun would you give a gecko? Is there any other creature in the book that could fire the starting gun? Is hydroplane too hard a word? things like that…

What is one thing you hope readers take away from reading your book? How do you envision your perfect reader?

I hope children who read my book enjoy it as much as I enjoyed creating it! I hope that they take away from it that reading is “fun” and not just “homework” or “educational”…I do, however, include snail facts in my end papers for the curiously inclined.

What was the most rewarding/meaningful part of publishing your book?

Listening to the laughter and questions at my first read aloud. In my mind I was thinking, “Mission accomplished!” as soon as the first giggle escaped a listener.

What new writing projects are you currently working on? Or, other projects that are not writing?

I am currently working on some projects for the older readers aged 8-11…the ones not ready to give up short books but too grown up for the usual silliness I produce. Something with a darker theme. Ravens may be involved. And bears. Big ones.

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