Today’s interview with author Henry Herz celebrates the book birthday for his latest book, I AM SMOKE, illustrated by Mercè López. I hope you are reading this post while enjoying a lovely slice of cake topped with candles so you can appreciate smoke in your own home. When you’ve finished your cake, be sure to order your copy of I AM SMOKE, which will appeal to your nature-loving side as well as your love of imagery.
Henry is offering one lucky winner a picture book critique. I’m in an online critique group with Henry, and I can assure you this is a wonderful prize! Comment on the blogpost to enter the giveaway.
What age is your target audience?
I AM SMOKE is for older picture book readers aged six to eight. Though like any good picture book, it is intended to appeal to older readers as well.
What inspires you?
I’m inspired by many things in the natural world. I love how much personality dogs possess. I’m amazed that you can cut a piece off of a succulent, stick it in the ground, and grow a brand new succulent. That’s like making a whole new person from just a finger! The range of defense mechanisms employed by animals is amazing—from camouflage to squirting ink to being poisonous to mimicking predators. I AM SMOKE was inspired by human ingenuity. Smoke is something we’ve all seen. Yet across the world and through the centuries, people have put smoke to an astonishingly wide array of uses.
What’s something you hope readers will take away from your book?
I’d love for readers to see how all people are linked through time and geography, and to look at the natural world a little differently. As Caldecott Medalist Matthew Cordell said about I AM SMOKE, “A fascinating, refreshing, and beautifully atmospheric take on something often taken for granted. I’ll never look at smoke the same way again!”
What’s next for you?
Upcoming events and book launches include:
-Moderating a DragonCon panel with actors from Netflix’s Norsemen series.
-Launching my contemporary magical realism early chapter book, THE MAGIC SPATULA from Month9 Books.
The middle-grade #ownvoices anthology from Albert Whitman & Co., COMING OF AGE: 13 B’NAI MITZVAH STORIES, will feature my sci-fi/humor short story, Bar Mitzvah on Planet Latke.
-The adult horror anthology from the Denver Horror Collective, THE JEWISH BOOK OF HORROR, will feature my short story, Demon Hunter Vashti.
-The young adult horror anthology from Blackstone Publishing, THE HITHERTO SECRET EXPERIMENTS OF MARIE CURIE, will feature my short story, Cheating Death.
-Highlights for Children has purchased two of my stories, but I don’t know when those will come out.
To connect with Henry and find out more about books:
Twitter @HenryLHerz IG https://www.instagram.com/henry_herz/