Interview with Candace Fleming and Eric Rohmann

What is your favorite thing you learned while researching the book?

As we began to investigate the myths, stories and science of the giant squid we discovered that there are lots of myths and stories but that the science is hard to come by. Despite there being hundreds of thousands of giant squid in the world’s oceans, they are secretive creatures, cannot be kept in captivity, and live deep and solitary lives. Our favorite discovery was the mystery. One source we read made the comment that we know more about the surface of Mars than we do about giant squid. The mystery sparked curiosity and an idea was born.

When you finish a project, do you find it’s easy to move on to something new or do you still think about things you’d like to change or add to your previous work?

Eric: Unfortunately, I will always second guess some choices. I want to make good work, which means I have to approach my work with doubt and a critical eye. in a book with 18 illustrations I can say I got six right, could still use a few months to make the next six work, and have little hope for the final six.

ericrohmannYou’ve made several books together, but this is the first nonfiction title. How was the collaboration process similar to or different from your other picture book collaborations?

Eric had the initial idea, and made a relatively finished storyboard. After some tinkering and floundereing, he asked Candy to have a look. So the book was a made a bit backward from the way what books are usually made. This time the pictures came before the words!

Have you “kid tested” Giant Squid with young readers?

We do talk about our books when we visit schools. We know that kids have an unending enthusiasm for the world especially if it’s a ten-limbed creature as big as a bus that lurks in pitch blackness and has a razor sharp beak.

ph_cfleming_2013_300dpi_2in_rgbDid you have any memorable reactions?

We are pleased that they always have dozens of questions after we present the book. We made Giant Squid in hopes of getting them to think about the creatures and so far we have not been disappointed.

How did you choose the topic of giant squids?

Ever since Eric was a child he have had a fascination with large creatures—dinosaurs, bears, whales. Giant squid are creatures straight out of science fiction.

Do you see more nonfiction picture books in your future?

We are currently at work on another: Honey bee.

Thank you so much for your time!