INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR MARÍA ISABEL SÁNCHEZ VERGARA
It was such a great pleasure to interview María Isabel Sánchez Vergara. You are going to love her answers about writing, living in Barcelona and her favorite childhood books and memories.
World Kids: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
María Isabel Sánchez Vergara: ¡Hola! My name is Maria Isabel Sánchez Vergara and I’m an author and writer. For many years I was a creative director for a big advertising agency and had published a couple books for adults, but then my twin nephews were born, so I started writing children’s books for them. And I realized I want to keep doing this for the rest of my life. Besides that, I like yoga, cacti, and dungarees and I live happily in Barcelona with Dirk, my “ungerman” german boyfriend.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
When I was six and -after my parents had turned off the light in my room- I kept reading stories under the sheets with my flashlight.
What are you writing right now? Can you tell us a little bit about your upcoming book?
Right now I’m working on new nine titles for the Little People BIG DREAMS series: Georgia O’Keefe, Anne Frank, Josephine Baker, Harriet Tubman,… And this’s is a lot of work but great fun! I really enjoy choosing the next character with the editors, snooping on her biography, finding the right illustrator and working side by side with all of them. Writing the book is actually just a little part of a whole team work process.
What do you do when you are not writing?
These last months, I’ve been very busy choosing doors, windows, blinds, sinks, handles, and plugs for our new home. Can’t wait to move in, go back to the gym and finally get my driving license and start taking illustration lessons.
What shops, museums, restaurants… would you recommend to families visiting your city?
I’d suggest they visit a very unusual place, halfway between a restaurant, a shop and a museum. It’s called Los Noveles, and it’s in Carmelo, a neighborhood out of the tourism circuit, on a top of a hill. It opens only twice a week and its entrance is hidden at the end of a passage where there is a green-covered terrace. It’s the typical bar with old gentlemen, who you expect to talk about politics and football. But not here. Here they talk -only- about birds. Los Noveles is the headquarter of the “Pajarera del Carmelo Society”. At the walls, there are hanging lots of cages with birds singing non-stop, and the whole bird environment surrounding you is unique and magic. Also, the cheese and the anchovies are very good.
Are there any particular authors or books that influenced you growing up? Did you have a favorite book in your childhood?
When I was a very little girl I was totally obsessed with Gnomes, by Wil Huygen and Rien Poortvliet. In their encyclopedic book, they took their gnome studies really seriously and covered every aspect of gnome life, from marriage to medicines. I was fascinated by the beautiful artwork and its magical knowledge. Then, I grew up, and I became a big fan of Michael Ende’s work. I read “Grey Gentleman” and “The NeverEnding Story” over and over again for years. But I also loved Le Petit Nicolas, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda,… basically, anything that felt in my hands.
Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
Sign up for a writing course and make sure you have something to say.
Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers?
Just thank you very very much for reading my books. I love getting their pictures and messages through Instagram and I’m the luckiest writer ever to have them.
Your favorite childhood memory is…
Saturday’s nap with my dad. I didn’t see him much during the week and that was a very special moment for me.
Best trip ever?
First time I traveled all on my own to New York. It’s amazing how accompanied you are when you travel alone.
What book are you currently reading?
A Mother Teresa biography for one of the upcoming titles of the Little People BIG DREAMS series. I’m more hooked on her story than to Game of Thrones.