Marie-Louise Gay is an outstanding artist and children's author. She is the creator of the award-winning Stella and Sam picture books and her work has been exhibited throuhout Canada and in Europe.She also writes plays for children and designs the puppets, sets and costumes for her plays. Marie-Louise has won numerous prizes and is the recipient of the Governor General's Award in Canada. She lives with her family in Montreal, Canada.
When did you start writing?
‘I was an artist first. I ‘wrote’ with pictures. I started when I was eighteen years old, drawing cartoon strips. But I wrote my first children’s book after illustrating other author’s books and finally realizing that, I too, had stories to tell. My first book was called Robert’s Sister, a story about a brother and sister who play tricks on each other all the time. A real life story!’
What was your favourite book as a child?
‘As a very young child: Curious George
, Babar the Elephant and Bécassine
. As an older
child: The Tales of Narnia
What are the best and worst things about being a writer?
‘The best thing is when I start writing a story and the ideas and words and images are
flowing onto the paper. I get very excited and happy. The other best thing is meeting with
children or receiving letters from children who have read and enjoyed my books. The worst
thing is that I’ll never have enough time to write all the stories that are in my mind.’
What’s on your desk?
‘Pastels, jars of coloured crayons, jars of paintbrushes, three erasers, a pencil, a tiny
pencil sketch of a small, fat dog sleeping, a purple notebook, a large sheet of watercolour
paper, a box of watercolour paints, a tube of white acrylic paint, two jars of water (for rinsing my paintbrushes) one yellow, one blue and one sand-dollar (for reference).’
When you’re not writing, what do you do?
‘I read piles of books. I cycle. I play tennis in the summer. I cross-country ski in the winter. I go to movies and plays. I travel a lot and take notes and do sketches of the things that inspire me in my travels.’
If you weren’t a writer, what would you be?
‘An actress. I was a child-actress between the ages of eight and twelve when my family lived in Vancouver. I played in atelevision series and a few plays for the stage and television. I loved it!’
Do you have a pet?
‘Yes, a fat, old cat. He is grey and black with white stockings. His name is Mirò, like the famous Catalan painter because he has a Mirò-like design on his back. He loves to sleep on my drawing table, usually just on top of a drawing.’