An Interview with the Author of the book Little Gull: Lost at Sea
Interviewer: What is the story behind the story of Little Gull: Lost at Sea?
Lucy Autrey Wilson: I wrote and illustrated Little Gull in 2019. I love to go to the various beaches in Pt.Reyes National Seashore and am always amused by the sea gulls. We are also lucky here in California to witness whales migrating past various sites on the Pt. Reyes peninsula. So I came up with a story that included sea gulls and whales.
Interviewer: Is there any significance behind the names Greta Gull and Wanda Whale?
Lucy Autrey Wilson: No, I just thought Greta Gull (GG) and Wanda Whale (WW) sounded good.
Interviewer: I remember you telling me that your first book, Little Cloud, had a message of friendship and you hoped it would instill awareness of climate change, however subliminally. Are you trying to do that again with this new title?
Lucy Autrey Wilson: I used to write little morality short stories when I was very young. I was strongly influenced by Aesop’s fables (still one of my favorite books). So, yes, I have a tendency to add some little positive takeaway in my writing. In Little Gull, that is a bit tempered. Although it is fine and good to make friends with strangers, and even to count on them to help you out in a jam, it’s not a good idea to take any kind of serious risk hoping someone will always be there to rescue you if things don’t work out.
Interviewer: Can you tell the reader a little bit about your illustration process. The artwork in Little Gull looks different from that in Little Cloud.
Lucy Autrey Wilson: Again, I wanted to make both a digital and a print book so needed to make as much of the art vector based to reduce the file size. Drawing water with mathematical lines and curves, however, turned out to be really hard. So, I took original photographs I shot at the local beaches and converted them to traced vector images for the backgrounds, and then painted in Illustrator on top of the converted photos.
Interviewer: What source material did you use for your illustrations?
Lucy Autrey Wilson: All of the birds and ocean scenes are based on my photographs. I’ve never had the good fortune to see a humpback whale breach, however, so I had to go searching for a lot of other reference to draw the various whale pictures.
Interviewer: What do you hope is the take away of your reader?
Lucy Autrey Wilson: First and foremost, I hope the reader is entertained. Secondly, I hope the message of friendship and the benefits of helping others resonates. And finally, humans have created a mess filling up our oceans with plastic and other garbage. It is killing off the creatures who live in and depend on the sea. So, I hope to raise awareness to this problem as a little added benefit.
Page 16 Photo shot at Limantour Beach in Pt. Reyes, 2017
Page 24 Big wave photo shot on Seymour Island in the Galapagos, 2017
Page 30 Photo shot at North Beach in Pt. Reyes, 2012
Page 4 Birds at the beach photo shot at McClures Beach in Pt. Reyes, 2016