- Posted by Karleigh Stevenson
- On January 24, 2017
- 0 Comments
- Alberta, author, Calgary author, Carrie Stanton, client profile
We recently chatted with Carrie Stanton, a Calgary author who just released her second children’s book, The Jewel, to great local critical acclaim. Her first book, Emmie and the Fierce Dragon, was also a hit in Alberta.
FE: What inspired you to become an author?
CS: After reading my stories to elementary students for years, I decided to add pictures and turn them into books. I knew I had to work closely with illustrators to ensure that the finished product would not disappoint the students, teachers, and parents who’d commented over the years. I did not take this lightly, so I assembled a terrific team. When Sonia Leung and I discussed pictures for Emmie, we wanted to capture Sonia’s fantastically beautiful watercolour work and perfectly marry the pictures to the text. Working with James Pantuso on The Jewel was a bit different because the story is more “text heavy.” With his pictures and use of colour, we created a story that builds momentum. I must also bring attention to Dean Pickup, the creative and award-winning book designer who has worked on both books.
FE: Why children’s books?
CS: Children are most interesting to me. They are brutally honest and respond to story-telling. To see their faces light up with interest and engagement is completely rewarding. But it is equally important to me to be interesting to adults, perhaps the child in us all. This is why my books are multi-layered; children are smart and love to explore the story on many levels.
FE: How long have you worked with FinalEyes?
CS: I heard Faith Farthing from FinalEyes on the radio one morning. What she said about the importance of editing was exactly what I was looking for. I approached her shortly after hearing her speak, and we started working on Emmie and the Fierce Dragon early in 2015. Just before that book came out in December 2015, I asked her if she would help again on The Jewel. She enthusiastically said “You bet!” Faith and the FinalEyes group has been integral in bringing both books to successful completion and making the best product possible. That quality has been reinforced by the fact that both Emmie and the Fierce Dragon and The Jewel have become Calgary bestsellers.
FE: What is The Jewel about?
CS: The Jewel takes place in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains when the buffalo roamed. Two friends find a mysterious jewel and take it back to their Elders. The story is about the adventure and the consequences that unfold and asks: Will their friendship remain intact? I did research for The Jewel at Calgary’s Glenbow Museum Archives and Library. When completed, Glenbow’s president and CEO, Donna Livingstone, gave it the “thumbs up” for how the story was handled, for the rich language used, and for the quality of the pictures. It is available at the Glenbow’s gift shop (along with Emmie and the Fierce Dragon). I’m now looking to make it more available to the schools that travel to the Glenbow as part of their study on First Nations. Both books are available at Calgary’s Owl’s Nest Books and Chapters/Indigo stores and at emmieandthefiercedragon.ca.
FE: Why do you think people are responding so well?
CS: The Jewel is a universally themed story that takes place during the time of the buffalo. It winds and weaves the rich First Nation’s culture through the adventure. Stories like The Jewel and Emmie and the Fierce Dragon appeal to people of all cultures because they deal with topics that everyone can relate to, such as, fear, insecurity, friendship, adventure, bravery, and overcoming danger/fear when it might be easier to turn the other way.
FE: What is your favourite aspect of writing?
CS: The writing itself–to get the thought/scene out of my head and onto the paper.
FE: What is your professional background?
CS: I have worked with children over many years of volunteering with Brownies/Guides/Scouts, offering to help students read and write within their schools, co-owning (with my mother, Leigh, who suffered hair loss due to cancer treatments at 40) a wig company that helped adults and children cope with hair loss due to illness. I have a degree from the University of Calgary.
FE: How long have you called Calgary home?
CS: I have lived in Calgary since I was very young, and my family moved here from Red Deer. My mother was a single mother to me and my three sisters when single parenthood and divorce were not a popular choice. She faced much diversity in her life. She remains an advocate for women/children and for pressing on through adversity. She embodies the Emmie in all of us. That character allows us all to face our own dragons or deal with choices that make us stronger and wiser, like in The Jewel.
FE: Do you have kids?
CS: Yes, and I originally wrote these stories for them. They remain my greatest critics and biggest fans. My daughter, Carly, is a geologist working in Calgary and my son, Mark, is a doctor of internal medicine. Mark recently married Michelle, a microbiologist and high school science teacher.
FE: What is your favourite children’s book?
CS: I have so many, but I love Alice in Wonderland because often that’s exactly how I feel–like a girl going through the many layers of life and experiencing all that each has to offer in all its splendour, chaos, beauty, and resolve. And finding that it’s all done with a bit of magic!