Monday, August 10, 2015

Interview with the Authors of Edmund Pickle Chin

Edmund Pickle Chin
Written by: Clara Bowman-Jahn and Susan April Elwood
Illustrated by Lynne Bendoly
Edmund Pickle Chin, A Donkey Rescue Story is based on a true story. Edmund, the main character, is an abused donkey who is the first of many animals to call Evermay Farm, a small rescue in central Georgia, home. Susan, Edmund’s care giver in the story, not only gives the shy donkey the time and patience he needs but gives him a new name every day of the week. The title takes on one of those nicknames she so lovingly calls him. As Susan starts to take in new critters, Edmund finds himself changing. As his name grows, so does his trust and acceptance. Edmund soon learns that he is not only needed but wanted. This confused, frightened donkey’s life changes as he becomes a hero, a babysitter, and a companion to the other residents at Evermay Farm.   
The real Edmund Pedro Pickle Chin Big Head Ed Elwood
For sale in electronic and print format at:
Visit the Evermay Farm website here.
1. Could you tell our readers a little more about the donkey who inspired Edmund?

Susan: Edmund Pedro Pickle Chin Big Head Ed Elwood is a real live donkey here at Evermay Farm and that really is his name! The story and it's events are true. He is the first of the critters to call Evermay Farm sanctuary home. His life story was the perfect inspiration to deliver the message to children that animals like people, need compassion and patience! 
Edmund is now eleven years old which is rather young for a donkey. Edmund is very loved by all who come to the farm and he LOVES getting attention and treats. His favorites are pears, watermelon, ginger snap cookies and apples. Edmund is very vocal when he sees someone he knows (and will sometimes shower them with a "nose blow ").

2. How did this project start? What made you want to collaborate on this book?

Clara: Susan contacted me in relation to my having written Annie's Special Day and began a relationship that had been interrupted since our lives had gone separate ways since her move to Georgia. And possibly before that, but we had been old friends previously. 

She began to talk to me of her work on the farm and Edmund in particular which prompted a beginning of the picture book and Susan sending me that draft.

3. This book was a combined effort, but who did what?

Susan: Edmund made it easy for me to write up an original, very rough draft which I emailed to Clara. She tweaked and pushed me for more storyline encouraging me to search for more highs and lows to create the story we have today. We sent the work back and forth through the computer, tweaking and rewriting between us. 
When it was" book dummy" time, it was also time for Clara's son to be married so I was in charge of doing the dummy, I had never done one before! Some how it fell into place!
The illustrations to me were a big part of telling this story, so I gave careful thought to each picture I wanted Lynne Bendoly to illustrate. I feel she delivered a successful portrayal! I wanted every child to be able to relate to the book so in the barn scene we have a multicultural group of children and Susan in the story was given brothers. I also did the photography the back of the book. 

Clara: After rewriting a revision several times I put it in front of my critique group which then several revisions followed that and put in front another writing group, my Round Hill Writers Group. Susan was made aware of each revision and together we, over the phone and in email, wrote the book. I had already done several book dummies by the time Susan did hers for the illustrations And Susan worked off one of those for the final one with the illustrations. One of the participants in RHWG mentioned that we could have time pass with each nick name so we did that as well forming the crux of the story arc and making Edmund help out on the farm with each new name.

Like the acknowledgements said in the beginning of the book, It takes a village to raise a book. and I thanked all my critique groups and partners. 

4. Susan, can you tell us a little more about your farm? What is its goal/purpose? What kind of animals are you helping right now?

Susan: Evermay Farm is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. It's purpose is to give sanctuary to unwanted and abused animals. Our mission is to show them respect, give them back their dignity and show compassion on an individual level to meet each ones personal needs. 

We have miniature horses, goats, lots of bunny rabbits, cats, a hinny, pony and of course Edmund. Evemay is a sanctuary, so the critters that comes here call Evermay home for life. 

We have a goats, one born blind that was going to have her neck "cracked", another born on a slaughter truck, homeless miniature horses, many rabbits some that needed medication and surgery. Each one comes to us with it's own story. Our newest is Spencer a free spirit hinny (half horse /half donkey) who now resides with Edmund.

5. How is this project different from your other children's books, if at all? Would you want to work on a project like this again? 

Clara: This book is both the story of compassion for animals and writing the book one must have compassion for people as well. For this one I had the help of numerous critique groups and partners and Susan feeding me the stuff to write about. For Annie, I had some help from my husband and kindergarten-teacher sister but no crit-groups or partners. 

Edmund Pickle Chin was written in a frenzy of a few months where as Annie took several years to write. Animal Rescue was something new to me and made a wonderful story. I Loved writing about it. Edmund was and is a great main character. 
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clarbojahn said...

Thanks so much for a wonderful interview, Kylee! I appreciate being honored here on the eTp blog. :)

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