Spring time is the perfect time for us to feature the next #Notable19s member, Lisa Anchin! Full of fresh and feisty flora, THE LITTLE GREEN GIRL, Lisa's debut author-illustrator book, is the story of a topiary child and Mr. Aster, her gardener. The title girl is a curious little plant with big dreams and hopes to see the world beyond the garden walls. Mr. Aster, however, doesn’t like having his routine disrupted, and the Little Green Girl changes his life forever. It’s ultimately a story about growing up, branching out, and exploring with someone you love.
Notable19: Lisa, the garden in your book is simply beautiful; most people--probably you as well--would want to hang out there all the time. But since it's fictional and we can't go there, where is your favorite place to write (or draw)?
Lisa: I don’t have just one. I love working in my studio, but there are days when a change of scenery is necessary. I live in Brooklyn, NY, and I enjoy finding a good cafe to work in, but I’m also particularly fond of writing/drawing outside when the weather permits. Favorite places include New York City’s Highline (an old elevated train track that has since been turned into a park), down by the water in Bay Ridge, the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, Prospect Park, Central Park, and Madison Square Park. It’s no wonder that my first book is about a garden.
Notable19: Great studio and NYC has such wonderful outdoor spaces! But what about when the weather is bad? What is your favorite rainy day activity?
Lisa: Rainy days are the best days. They’re perfect for imagining new stories. I love spending them near a window with a cup of tea, a cookie, and my sketchbook.
Notable19: Mmmm, tea and cookies! Speaking of eating, what is a food you couldn’t live without?
Lisa: It’s not technically a food, but I don’t think I could live without tea.
Notable19: LOL! Of course; we should have guessed.
Lisa: I always have a warm cuppa on my desk when I’m working. In the morning, it’s earl gray or a rose black tea. Later on rooibos chai or ginger or lemon or something floral or minty. Loose tea, bagged tea, herbal, black, green, red… I love it all.
Notable19: Tea complements just about any food and meal. Now, if you could choose 3 fictional characters to have a meal with, who would they be?
Lisa: I would love to have dinner with Anne Shirley (of Green Gables), Matilda Wormwood, and Luna Lovegood. Some of my best book memories are of middle grade fiction. Matilda and Anne of Green Gables were formative books for me, and Matilda and Anne felt like friends. The Harry Potter books came out when I was an older teen, but like so many others, I fell in love with JK Rowling’s characters and a certain quirky Ravenclaw in particular. Luna is the perfect combination of weird and honest and smart and wholly herself. I would love to spend time with the tween/teen versions of all of these characters, but it would be even more fun to have a dinner party for the mid-30s versions of them.
Notable19: It would be so neat to meet up with our favorite kid characters as adults, wouldn't it? You could find out how their childhood experiences that you read about had shaped their adult lives and down what life paths, like whether they ended up with weird jobs. LOL! What about you? What’s the weirdest job you've ever had?
Lisa: I worked at an open-air historical museum called Old Bethpage Village Restoration (OBVR). OBVR is a recreated mid-19th-century, rural American farm village on 200+ acres on Long Island. I worked in costume as a historical interpreter, teaching visitors about the history of the homes and the people who lived and worked there. Later, I also helped run OBVR’s children’s summer program for 9-12 year olds. The kids spent a week in costume learning about the daily life of a 19th century child through hands-on activities.
It was a really fun job. Each day brought with it something new and different. There were “normal” days teaching in the one-room schoolhouse or carding wool or arriving early in the morning to warm up the brick oven for baking (it might take 2-3 hours of feeding a fire to bring it to temperature). But then I might spend an afternoon chasing chickens out of the general store or staging a historical wedding or finding half a dozen escaped piglets on the doorstep of the house I happened to be working in.
Notable19: Oh, what a blast that sounds like! Living fictional lives is as cool as writing about, or illustrating, them. But we had better let you get back to living your very busy real life. Thank you for sharing these fun facts about yourself, Lisa!
We are a group of writers and illustrators who have debut books (actual debuts , debuts as author-illustrators, or debuts with medium/large publishers) forthcoming in 2019. Thank you for joining us on our exciting journey!