Rock Star Palooza Begins Now: Kirstie Edmunds Interview

One week from today is the official publication date of SO YOU WANT TO BE A ROCK STAR.

Which is all kinds of cool.

Also all kinds of cool: the book’s illustrator, Kirstie Edmunds, who kind of achieved the impossible.

This is the story: Unlike many other picture book writers, I’m not a visual thinker. Still, I generally have some vague idea of how the book might look once I’ve completed a final draft. But with ROCK STAR, nothing. I suspected I had created a nearly-impossible-to-illustrate text. I had absolutely no idea–zero picture–how this book would look.

But since Kirstie came on board, I can’t imagine it looking like anything other than what it is. Remember that name, folks. Here she is–Kirstie Edmunds. And make sure you read past the end of the interview for a chance to win the Rock Star Palooza Swag Giveaway.

Q: I know you had another book under contract when ROCK STAR came knocking, but ROCK STAR will be hitting the shelves first. What has the experience of illustrating this first-to-be-published book been like?

The first thing I wanted to do after reading ROCK STAR, was jump up, throw my hands about, and shout “Yeah! Let’s rock.” I was totally thrilled to be asked to work on it, and very fortunate to be part of such a great team of people who really took care of it from start to finish. It’s always a bit nerve-racking the first time you do anything, and there’s always so much to learn (especially how to tackle all the ‘rocking’ crowd scenes!), but the experience has been brilliant, in every way. It’s been a total pleasure. I really couldn’t have asked for a more fun and expressive first book.

(Here it must be noted that Kirstie, who makes herself sound all novice-y, created the coolest endpapers I have ever seen. If you ever get a chance to open the book, take some time to check them out. And don’t miss the author “photos;” I have never looked cooler.)

Do you have a good concert or rock and roll story to share? (I think my blog readers know these two Bruce Springsteen facts about me—my skirt fell all the way down at a concert when I was very clearly in Mr. Springsteen’s line of vision. Years later, he tossed me a harmonica during “Promised Land.”)

Audrey, that’s an epic story. Ha, ha!

I don’t think I have anything as good. The jacket sleeve on our book references a story where I once set fire to my own hair in a restaurant…sounds very rock n’ roll I know, but I’m afraid it was only through lack of concentration. I was too busy goo-gooing my friend’s gorgeous baby to notice the faint smell of burning hair rising from the table. I’m not sure what impression that might have left on my friend’s poor little one, but I am now known as the ‘firestarter’ when we go to visit.

What children’s book would you have liked to illustrate?

I would’ve loved to have been tasked with illustrating the brilliant series of travel books that Miroslav Šašek (M. SASEK) did so magnificently back in the ’60s. I find them utterly fascinating, and I’d love an excuse to travel! Sasek had the most wonderful graphic, architectural way of arranging things on the page. He’s a great inspiration.

That's Kirstie on the right.

Which books/characters were your favorite when you were a young reader?

I was an utter bookworm! I loved all books, but I do remember Richard Scarry being very popular in our house (BUSY, BUSY WORLD and GOOD NIGHT, LITTLE BEAR were particular favourites) along with Eric Carle’s THE VERY HUNGRY CATER-PILLAR, WINNIE THE WITCH, and a host of characters from Janet and Allen Ahlberg. I very much loved being read Roald Dahl, especially MATILDA, and all of the Enid Blyton books, like THE SECRET SEVEN and FAMOUS FIVE. From very early on, my mum could sit me near a pile of books and I’d be mesmerised for hours.

What are you working on now?

A: At the moment I’m working on a great little series called “Playground Adventures,” written by the wonderful Patricia Lakin, with Dial Books For Young Readers. It stars Bruno, a little squirrel, and his best friend Lulu, a cheeky little chipmunk, and sees them getting up to plenty of mischief in the playground.

I’m also bobbling about feeling very excited for the launch of ROCK STAR on the 28th of this month, and the forthcoming release of THE MONSTER WHO LOST HIS MEAN, a wonderfully sweet and funny monster story by Tiffany Strelitz Haber, with Henry Holt/Macmillan, out on the 17th July.

I can’t wait to read about that monster. It looks great. Many thanks, Kirstie!


  • If you leave a comment you’ll be automatically entered in the ROCK STAR PALOOZA SWAG GIVEAWAY. The prize includes one author-signed copy of SO YOU WANT TO BE A ROCK STAR, a ROCK STAR tote bag, a ROCK STAR tee shirt available in medium or large, a neat pile of ROCK STAR of postcards (with spots for practicing your autograph) and of course a ROCK STAR pen to help you handle all those autograph requests…The winner will be randomly selected on our publication date, 2/28.

Rock on. And be excellent to each other.

About Audrey Vernick

Audrey Vernick writes books for young readers.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to Rock Star Palooza Begins Now: Kirstie Edmunds Interview

  1. Cathy Ballou Mealey says:

    What a thrill Audrey and Kirstie – the big day is nearly here!

    I adore the Elvis-ish pompadour and studded leather on the cover rocker boy.


  2. Gorgeous illustrations! Congratulations…. Oh, the rock star stories we could share.

  3. What a fun story! I was just looking at it online yesterday. I’d soooooooo love a signed copy. Congrats to you both.


  4. Beth Shaum says:

    Love this interview! And I can’t wait to read So You Wanna Be a Rocktar! The Monster Who Lost His Mean sounds adorable too!

  5. I want to be a rock star and rock out in this cool gear! Pick me Pick me!
    My coolest concert memory was when my friend threw up on Marilyn Manson’s shoes at Irving Plaza, NYC, the same night that we “accidentally” stole the guitarist’s pick from backstage.
    Congrats Audrey and Kirstie on an amazing duet of a book!

  6. Mirka Breen says:

    I’m a huge fan of the THIS IS ___ (Cities) series. This is New York was my first American PB when I was growing up in a faraway land…
    Your work looks fantastic.

  7. Stephanie Shaw says:

    I can’t wait to see it! Congratulations to you both and here’s to many, many more wonderful books! Rock on!

  8. Rita Painter says:

    I DO want to be a Rock Star!! I would proudly wear this swag!! 🙂

  9. Latonya R says:

    This is a cool set!

  10. Joyce says:

    The book sounds amazing! Can’t wait to see the pictures and read the book! Congrats to all!

  11. Vicki Disch says:

    Who doesn’t want to be a Rock Star? The illustrations as well as the title make this hard to resist. I grew up listening to the new Rock and Roll in the 50’s and 60’s. The closest person I know to a rock star is Bob Kuban, a St. Louis legend. He is popular for “The Cheater”. When I taught kindergarten I invited him to a program in my class, where we featured a mini Bob Kuban Band, with a boy named Tim on the drums, playing Bob. I can’t wait to read the book. I love children’s books. I’ll keep my fingers crossed!

  12. kamikinard says:

    Yes! So happy to be able to enter this giveaway since I can’t enter the one going on on my own blog! And looking forward to checking out those end papers. Great job Audrey and Kirstie!

  13. Oh, I’m in! I can’t wait to see this book! What a super cool giveaway! Thank you, and congrats to Audrey and Kirstie!

  14. Maribeth Fisher says:

    What a great looking book! I would be so proud to flash that swag around, and I’m already making a list of which kids I know who need to have this book! Can’t wait to see it, and Brothers at Bat as well very soon. Congrats!

  15. I just caught a glimpse of this book at Barnes & Noble. It is FABULOUS!!! I am planning a charity event called “Rock the Bank” for a wonderful organization that connects children needing books with books needing children. Bernie’s Book Bank collects, processes and distributes quality new and used children’s books to at-risk children in Chicago and its suburbs. Since its founding in December 2009, Bernie’s Book Bank has distributed more than 600,000 books and now serves more than 35,000 children annually. Rock the Bank will be held on June 16t. It will be a musical showcase of local talent and will also include a silent auction. A signed copy of your book would be such a great item for our auction since it is a children’s book ABOUT Rock and Roll. We hope you will consider donating one if we don’t win the swag give-away. THANK YOU!!

  16. Natalie Dias Lorenzi says:

    Congratulations to Audrey and Kirstie on your book’s birthday! Hooray! I know my own kids will love this book, and so will the kids at my school. 🙂

  17. Congratulations to you both on your book birthday!!! Wohoo! You are both, obviously, rock stars since it takes one to know one! 🙂

  18. Billy says:

    Great interview!

  19. Pingback: Happy Book Birthday to THE MONSTER WHO LOST HIS MEAN | tkprospectagency

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s