Author On Location

At Laguna San Ignacio, a remote spot on the Baja Peninsula, Mexico.

I’m working with Kevin Duggan, my collaborator in art and life, on a new picture book. We’ve moved from one incredibly intelligent animal, crows, to another: cetaceans. (Love those “C” creatures!) Our next book is an exciting adventure story about a whale in trouble, a daring, dangerous rescue, and a . . . nope! No spoilers!

Now we’d seen a whale or two: off Cape Cod on our honeymoon, around Vancouver Island in the Pacific Northwest, even in New Jersey. (True story: we have a small house down the shore and a baby whale once swam back and forth off the pier at the end of our street, spouting away.) But to create this book, we needed to see more than a quick fluking or a breach hundreds of yards off the starboard side. We really want to convey a sense of the enormous differences in size and scale between two mammals—whale and rescuer—as well as capture the shifting light and perspective above and below the waves. We’re telling a heck of a dramatic story, which called for some serious offline, off-the-page research.

We needed to get close to a whale . . . very close.

It was transcendent!