Anne Kaufmann is both the illustrator and author of the Pippin and Nigel adventure series for young children. She is the also the author of “Glenn Gould: Sketches of Solitude.” Anne is a former teacher librarian. She studied English Literature at Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Toronto. Her passions include music, books, animals and creating nature journals. She has shared her life with dogs, horses, cats and birds.A nature lover, she spends many hours exploring the forests north of her home and walking her dogs, Indy, Maya and Pippin. She loves spending time with her horse, Aria. Some of her favourite childhood memories include summers at her cottage on Lake Simcoe, settling back on the family couch reading while listening to her dad’s weekly String Quartet group, playing with her dogs and wishing for a horse. She is currently working on the third book of the Pippin and Nigel Adventure series and a historical fiction novel on the great Canadian horse and Kentucky Derby winner, Northern Dancer. She lives in Ontario, Canada.
As a book bloggin’ and book luvin’ Princess, I’m always curious about the characters in a book. Can you tell us a little about them?
That'll Do Pippin is an imaginary story about two real puppy brothers, Pippin and Nigel.Pippin is an affectionate, gentle and cautious puppy. He admires his brother Nigel, who is brave, strong and charges into any exciting situation or possible adventure. Pippin wants more than anything to be like his brother Nigel. He dutifully follows Nigel everywhere and unquestioningly believes that Nigel will protect him. The pup brothers are inseparable. Nigel's blissful dream is to be a great agility dog. Pippin's grand dream is to be a great sheep dog. He fears that he is too weak and little to do a job that is for bold,
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would that be?
Remember when you lived in the moment, enjoyed experiences to the fullest and felt emotions the deepest.
What would you say is one of your interesting writing quirks?
When I write a character, action or scene it runs through my mind as though I were directing a movie. I absolutely need two things - my dogs nearby and an extremely large cup of coffee. Sometimes I'll play music in the background or tune to a news station on the T.V. (that I pay absolutely no attention to).
Do you hear from your readers? What do they say?
I have heard from parents and grandparents. Their (grand) children ask if the puppies are real, and if those experiences in fact happened. Every so often, their (grand) children will express what they would do if they were the puppies. The children seem to enjoy the illustrations, and they encourage many discussions.
What is the toughest criticism given to you as an author?
The harshest criticism that I invariably suffer is my own feeling of inadequacy: dissatisfaction with character development, plot action or sentence structure. I often feel isolated, on a remote island with no one to relieve my insecurity or support me through a terrible writer's block.I often discuss my key ideas or read passages to trusted friends and even though I know they are hesitant to criticize, they typically offer some constructive suggestions.
What has been your best accomplishment?
I'm unsure if I would use the word 'best' accomplishment. There was one accomplishment that unexpectedly opened the door to a new world of invaluable and life enriching experiences.Aside being able to write books about the things, I love; my most rewarding accomplishment was realizing my lifelong dream to ride horses. Ever since I was a child, I had begged my grandmother to allow me to ride. It never happened. I remained steadfast because I knew that someday I would not only ride, but also have a horse of my own. I started riding the year I began teaching (quite late in life for this sport). I signed up for lessons at a local riding school. I was more than slightly intimidated by these massive, swift and unpredictable animals. Consequently, with trembling hands, I carefully groomed and tacked up my school horse and managed to get into the saddle. The horse immediately trotted off and since I had absolutely no basic ability to post, I bounced up and down in the saddle, barely holding on. (Poor horse!) Suddenly, the horse quite properly fed up, gave one buck (albeit a modest one). I felt a tightening in my stomach as I instantly flew through the air, landing hard. I had other falls, but refused to be discouraged and continued my lessons. Six months later, I acquired my first horse, Amber. Riding through my fear and inability resulted in a rewarding relationship with horses that has continued to this day. The beginning of those riding lessons opened up a rich world of deep emotions, new friends and exciting (sometimes very bizarre) experiences.
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
I am working on final revisions of a historical fiction book, Northern Dancer: A Stable Girl's Journey on the great racehorse and Kentucky Derby winner, Northern Dance.I have started another children's picture book for the That'll Do Pup series to join, That'll Do Pippin and Pippin and Nigel's Christmas Adventure.
Fun question – if you were princess or prince, what’s one thing you would do to make your kingdom a better place?
There would be a sanctuary for unwanted dogs, adorable puppies and noble horses. A delightful place for them to flourish, enjoy life to the fullest and know that they are treasured. The odd assortment of other creatures in need would be most welcome. Of course, several elusive cats would survey with disdain the disorganized activities from a distant fence post, lofty tree or cushioned lounge chair.
Do you have anything specific that you would like to say to your readers?
I sincerely hope that you enjoy your journey with Pippin and Nigel. May they inspire you to pursue your own exciting adventures and to realize your wonderful and unique gifts.
Pippin and Nigel are two charming puppy brothers who live on a wonderful farm. They are best buddies and do everything together. They are full of mischief, energy and fun! Pippin is the smaller puppy who wants with all his heart to be like his brother Nigel. Nigel is brave. Nigel is strong. Nigel is smart. One day, the puppies escape from their yard into the woods where they experience many adventures. Nigel is always there to help and protect Pippin. Then Pippin solves a dangerous problem all by himself and learns that it is okay just to be Pippin.
This story teaches young children the importance of believing in themselves and that they each have their own wonderful gifts and abilities.