Adam: I don’t, frequently. The position of MOST PROMISING is something that a lot of my ideas take turns occupying. It’s very democratic. But some ideas are just lightning, and can’t be ignored.
Chris: Was there a moment when you felt like you had “arrived” as an author or illustrator?
Adam: I felt pretty good a year or two ago when people in the industry, librarians and booksellers and people in publishing, began to know who I was without my explaining it first. Once a librarian recognized me by sight alone. I understand now what a seductive feeling that can be, but as long as it’s happening primarily at book expos or conferences I’m pretty comfortable with it. When it starts happening at the supermarket I think it’s a problem, but then again I’m only an author, so it’s not a problem I’m likely to have.
Chris: Are you a cat person?
Adam: I don’t really make a philosophical choice between cats and dogs, but I have no dogs and two cats, Little Nemo and Dr. Simon Dicker.
Chris: What did you think when THE DIRTY COWBOY was banned at W.C. Andrews Elementary?
Adam: Not a lot. There is a sort of thrill that comes from being banned, from being in the company of Sendak or Twain or the Apostles. And I’ve never known a book banning that didn’t raise interest in the book in question. So I can probably thank the school for a couple sales I wouldn’t have made otherwise. Otherwise, book banners just make me feel tired and full of pity. They have to be frightened, unhappy people who have entirely lost the connection with their childhood selves.
Chris: You seem to have successfully made the transition from illustrator to author/illustrator. Is there anything you miss about illustrating other people’s stories?
Adam: Not at all–I’m illustrating another author’s picture book right now. If a manuscript is great, I want to be a part of it. In an ideal world, I already am because I wrote the thing. But if that can’t be the case, I can at least illustrate it.
Chris: What are you working on now?
Adam: The debut book by author Mac Barnett, to be called Billy Twitters’s Blue Whale Problem. So lots of paintings of whales, and whale maintenance.
Chris: How do you say “Please pass the horseradish” in the Gorg language?
Adam: Hmmm…that would be…BAFF G’TA TODF’DAQIFT! You’ll notice I omitted the word “please.” It doesn’t really translate.