Gabby is the main character in Joyce Grant’s new children’s picture book (illustrated by Jan Dolby and published by Fitzhenry & Whiteside). She recently agreed to chat with Joyce Grant about the new venture.
JG: Gabby—may I call you that?—it’s so wonderful to talk to you in person. After all, you’ve been in my head for so long.
G: My full name is Gabriella, but almost no one calls me that so please do call me Gabby. And yes, it’s great to finally be out of there—it was a bit cramped.
JG: Well, there’s lots of other stuff in there and I won’t apologize for that.
G: Streetcars? Chefs?
JG: Right. Sorry about that. They’re from a couple of other books I’m working on. They’ll be gone soon—I hope. But let’s talk about your book. You’re the star! Are you excited?
G: It is exciting! I was especially thrilled when our editor, Christie, suggested naming the book after me. I can’t wait to see my name on the cover.
JG: And your picture, too! Would it surprise you to know that your name was nearly Sarah?
JG: Well, when I first wrote the book it was called, “Sarah Makes Friends,” after a girl I know. And then Christie and Cathy (from the publisher) met with me for a coffee at Starbucks and we discussed other names. You were also nearly Fanny!
G: I’m speechless. I’m so clearly “Gabby.”
JG: Yes, I agree. And part of the reason for that is that Gabby is kind of a quirky name. Would you say you are quirky?
G: People call me that, certainly. I think they mean that I sometimes look at things a little differently. And I do agree with that.
JG: Can you give us an example?
G: It’s mostly about letters and words. For instance, you’re wearing a T-shirt. So I’m asking, “What does the T stand for? Is it ‘Tea shirt’—like one you’d wear while you’re drinking tea? (It would account for that stain, Joyce.) Or is it a Tee-shirt like you’d wear on a golf course? I mean, what’s the T for?”
JG: Well that certainly is a unique perspective. Oh, here’s our appetizer.
G: Alphabet soup—my favourite! Letters you can eat. How perfect is that?
JG: Yes, stop playing with it, though. You’re getting it all over the…
G: See, if you put these letters together…
JG: Gabby, you’re splashing soup everywhere!
G: …just need another L for G-a-b-r-i-e-l-l-a…
JG: Gabby, can we please talk about something else? I just love your signature red hair. It’s so “you.”
G: Thank you. And I don’t even have a stylist. I just get up in the morning and stick it in ribbons… really I just let it do whatever it wants. In fact, that’s my attitude towards life in general. Go with the flow.
JG: It certainly seems to work for you.
G: Yes. How else could I get two warring species to become friends?
JG: Now, Gabby, don’t spoil the ending for people!
G: Hey, it’s not every day a kid helps to thwart thousands of years of evolution.
JG: “Thwart”? You do love words, don’t you?
G: Speaking of words, look at what I’m spelling in my alphabet soup!*
JG: Gabby, I think this interview is just about over, don’t you? Is there anything you’d like to say in conclusion?
G: Well, just buy my book, please.
JG: Well, it’s your book and it’s my book and Jan’s book and Fitzhenry & Whiteside’s book. In any case, this seems like a good note to end on. Thank you very much, Gabby.
G: Thank you. And you just ended a sentence with a preposition, Joyce.
JG: On which to end, then. Gabby—stop splashing!
* “Fitzhenry.” She spelled Fitzhenry.