Last week, I had the great privilege of sharing with you the children’s book, If Dinosaurs Could Talk For Me. This was easily one of our favorite read alouds of 2017. (I know it’s only March, but I’m telling you this: IT’S SO GOOD.) This week, I’m really happy to share my interview with Corey Egbert.
1. Tell me where the idea behind If Dinosaurs Could Talk For Me came from? Corey: The idea for the book came very unconsciously. I think I just started writing and I realized afterward what it’s about — using art to overcome barriers and connect with others. Ben’s shyness is a barrier because he fears rejection, but by having the courage to express his feelings through writing and drawing, he’s able to connect with Sophie.
2. I love that the main character struggles with being shy, were you a shy kid? Corey: I wasn’t at first. But when I was ten, my parents divorced and I had to go to a new school. This made me feel very shy, and it took me a long time to overcome. For me, meeting my wife was like Ben meeting Sophie. I realized how deeply connected I could be with someone and it has helped my shyness melt away.
3. I noticed that you used primary colors. Can you share why you chose to use limited colors? Corey: Ben is blue because it singles him out and symbolizes his shyness. Sophie is red because she stands out in Ben’s eyes in a very bold way. The background characters are less saturated because Ben doesn’t connect with them like he does with Sophie.
4. Who inspired you to pursue art/writing? Corey: From a young age I’ve liked to draw and make up little stories. My mother was always very encouraging of both, and she told me I’d be a published author and artist someday. She was right! I also had some great professors in college who helped me have confidence and ushered me towards artistic opportunities.
5. Have you always been interested in dinosaurs? What’s your favorite dinosaur? Corey: I loved dinosaurs as a kid. I had several books about them and if you’ve ever seen Disney’s Fantasia there’s a scene about the evolution and extinction of dinosaurs that I would watch on repeat. I’d have to say Ultrasaurus is my favorite, because obviously.
6. Have you always wanted to write a children’s book? Corey: It’s been a goal from an early age. Reading, writing and drawing have always been something I enjoy and the best way to express myself – just like Ben.
7. Were you a reader as a kid? What was your favorite book as a kid? Corey: I read sooo much when I was young. My favorite book changed a lot, but a big one was Where the Wild Things Are.
8. What are you reading now? Corey: Leaves of Grass. I think America could use another Walt Whitman right now.
9. Do you have another book in future? Corey: Definitely. Nothing’s in the works yet but I do have an idea I’d like to pursue involving acrobats. I think I’ll let the dust settle a bit before I embark on that next journey.