Today we are very excited to share an interview with author Claire Tattersfield and illustrator Rob Sayegh Jr.!
Read on to learn more about them, their book, and a giveaway!
Meet the Author: Claire Tattersfield
Claire Tattersfield an assistant editor at Viking Children’s Books and Flamingo Books at Penguin Young Readers. After finishing college as editor-in-chief of her school’s satire paper, she found that her skills in writing short form satire translated phenomenally to writing picture books, and that is how Cupig was made. She lives in Brooklyn, New York. This is her first book.
Meet the Illustrator: Rob Sayegh Jr.
Rob Sayegh Jr. is a former toy designer turned New York Times bestselling children’s book illustrator. He is the author/illustrator of Love Tails, and the illustrator of I’m Not Scared, You’re Scared!, Arlo Draws an Octopus and Slow Down, Tumbleweed. Combining real-world textures and photography with his illustrations, Rob enjoys creating worlds and characters that make people of all ages smile and giggle. When he is not doodling or writing, he enjoys collecting vintage toys, being an official snack taste-tester, and falling in love with every dog he meets. He currently lives in San Francisco with his family. To see more of Rob’s work, please visit robsayart.com.
About the Book: CUPIG
Cupid. Introducing Cupig the Valentine’s Day pig!
Cupig absolutely loves Valentine’s Day. Every year she enjoys spreading love and cheer to every creature, far and near. But when a storm blows through and sends her arrows off course, Cupig accidentally puts arrows in hearts that don’t need to be mended. Peanut Butter has stopped loving Jelly! Salt and Pepper have broken up! Needle and Thread are falling apart at the seams!
Will Cupig ever fix her mistakes and get these classic pairs back together again?
With clever rhyming text and comically expressive art, Cupig is sure to be a Valentine’s Day classic for years to come! The perfect Valentine’s Day gift and for fans of Little Blue Truck’s Valentine, How to Catch a Loveosaurus, and Love from the Crayons!
YABC: What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
Rob: Cupig started out as a silly illustration I made for my wife, Meryl. I draw her a card for Valentine’s Day every year, and in 2022, I drew Cupig and posted it to Instagram. The rest is history.
Claire: And I saw this illustration on Instagram and knew she needed to have a story. Luckily Rob liked what I wrote and the rest, as he says, is history.
YABC: Who is your favorite character in the book?
Rob: I absolutely adore Cupig’s perseverance and love for love. Claire did a fantastic job bringing her to life in ways I could only imagine. I also love the garbage can that breaks up salt and pepper.
Claire: Rob thought of all the reactions that the characters have to being heartbroken, for example the “love stinks!” bubble on the spread with the garbage can and salt and pepper was all him.
YABC: How do you know when a book is finished?
Claire: Cupig is a rhyming book which makes it easier. It’s easier to tell when you’ve done your best work when there are natural breaks in the work for rhyme. Also finding rhymes that are clever is incredibly difficult, so it’s easier to put down the pencil when you’re at a good stopping point!
YABC: What research did you do to write this book?
Claire: When I decided on having the plot center on breaking up iconic pairs the closest thing I did to research was text my family group chat for ideas of famous pairs. Some of them were helpful, but others. . . not so much. My sister recommended Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears which sadly doesn’t quite play in the preschool age range.
YABC: When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
Claire: I started writing satire when I was a teenager but didn’t figure out that I wanted to write for kids until my 20’s. I didn’t know that was a part of my brain I could unlock! But it turns out writing satire and writing kids books isn’t all that different. Just make sure you don’t use too many big words.
YABC: How do you keep your ‘voice’ true to the age category you are writing within?
Claire: I’m notoriously bad about using kid-friendly language and have to rely on my editor to remind me that children don’t know what a bachelorette is, even if it makes for a great rhyme. Or a smorgasbord. GREAT rhyming potential there. Luckily my sense of humor is very goofy and slapstick so despite my plethora of lengthy words I’m able to write tonally for my audience.
YABC: What type of scene do you love to write the most?
Rob: I love illustrating chaos and humor. I think kids really appreciate it, and it allows me to add my own spin and jokes throughout the book’s pages to tie back to the story in unexpected ways.
Claire: Ditto! I think that’s part of why Cupig worked out so harmoniously.
YABC: What word do you have trouble overusing?
Claire: My friends tell me I use the word “injudiciously” too often and too liberally and in ways that don’t even make sense. I can’t help it! It’s fun to say.
YABC: What is your favorite writing space?
Rob: I am very fortunate to have a small studio/office in my house where I work. I have spent alot of time getting it to be just right for me, and I can’t beat it as a place to both work and be cozy at the same time.
YABC: How do you plan to celebrate the launch of your book?
Claire: By eating lots and lots of pink food while wearing fairy wings and a pig snout. Oh, did you mean the literal launch? That would be a storytime at Parnassus Books in Nashville, my favorite bookstore in the world. Immediately followed by eating lots of pink food.
YABC: What hobbies do you enjoy?
Rob: I enjoy drawing, painting, woodworking, hanging out with my dogs, and playing guitar poorly.
YABC: What’s your least favorite word or expression and why?
Claire: Tintinnabulation is my favorite word. Just look at it! It refers to the tinkling of bells. The English language is amazing.
YABC: What do you do when you procrastinate?
Rob: I have three dogs who I love dearly. They are truly my favorite form of procrastination and always help me take an unexpected break from work when I need it most.
YABC: What kind of animal would your main character be and why?
Claire: I’m quite partial to pigs. They have a lot of comedic potential and are just so darn cute!
YABC: What fandom would you write for if you had time?
Claire: I am embarrassed to say my kneejerk reaction to this question is Glee because the word “fandom” immediately reminds me of my pre-teen obsession with that show. Sadly, children aren’t as into the politics of William McKinley high school as a 13-year-old in the early 2010s. But I’ve always wanted to write a dinosaur or a dragon book for kids but can’t quite come up with my angle.
YABC: What is your favorite holiday or tradition and why?
Rob: My favorite holiday tradition is making holiday cards for the ones I love. It allows me to show them how special they are to me and challenges me creatively every year to try and outdo the last.
YABC: What other age group would you consider writing for?
Rob: I would love to work on early readers/chapter books in addition to my current picture book work.
Claire: I really miss my satire writing and might try to delve back into that world at some point. That, I suppose, is for adults. Or for children who have an extremely dry sense of humor. Or whose parents aren’t closely monitoring what their children are reading.
YABC: What’s up next for you?
Rob: My next release is PROPER BADGER WOULD NEVER! written by Lauren Glattly and published by Flamingo Books/Penguin Kids. It releases April 2024.
Claire: And I’m the editor for that book! It’s beyond funny for both kids and adults. Rob crushed it.
Author: Claire Tattersfield
Illustrator: Rob Sayegh Jr.
Release Date: November 21, 2023
Publisher: Flamingo Books
Genre: Hardcover Picture Book
Age Range: 3-7
Three (3) winners will receive a hardcover copy of CUPIG (Claire Tattersfield) ~ US Only!
*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway!*