Peter Brown to our 12 x 12 featured author series. I have been a HUGE fan of Peter’s work for years so, needless to say, I was excited to learn that I would get to meet him at the NJ-SCBWI conference where we were both on faculty this past June.

Being the shy type, I barged right up to him at the cocktail party, told him I use Children Make Terrible Pets in nearly all of my school visits, and asked him to be a featured author for 12 x 12. I don’t think he had any idea what he was agreeing to, but he said yes, and HERE HE IS! 

Peter and I spoke for almost an hour, and I know we’re all busy. Therefore I painstakingly, torturingly (why yes, I DID just invent a new adverb) cut it down to just under 30 minutes to keep it manageable. Also, I must tell you I was a hot mess during this interview. Literally. I had just finished a run on a hot summer day, and it was approximately 9000 degrees in my house because my swamp cooler was on the fritz. So if I’m looking a bit pinkish / oompa loompa-like, you’ll know why. Okay – I’ll put my vanity aside now.

Peter has very generously offered to critique either a picture book manuscript (author only) or a sketch dummy Mr. Tiger Goes Wild. It hits bookstores on September 3rd.

One last thing. I was so inspired by Peter’s keynote speech at NJ-SCBWI, I wrote a blog post about it afterward. So be sure to check that out too! Now, please welcome Peter…

Categories: 12 x 12, 12 x 12 Featured Author, Authors, Books, Children's Books, Guest Blogging, Picture Books, Writing · Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,



  1. WOW! The12x12 Featured Author Spot just gets better and better! (but isn’t Peter the September 12×12 Featured Author…not the August one?) Thanks so much, Julie…great post…and it was fun learning a little bit about Peter’s writing MO. 🙂 Seeing him in the video (it was perfectly fine, by the way), I couldn’t believe how much he reminds me of one of my sons!
    And I am super excited to meet him (and YOU!) next Sunday at the Tattered Cover Bookstore in Denver. 🙂 His new book, “Mr. Tiger Goes Wild”, sounds like the perfect story for my grandson! I hope he will inscribe it to Jeremy. 🙂

  2. The fact that Peter wore a NASA t-shirt just proves how much he ROCKS! Thank you, Peter for this fascinating look into an author/illustrator’s process and how it has evolved for you. Kirsten Larson

  3. I agree thumbs up on the NASA shirt. Thanks Peter and Julie for this informative interview and the opportunity to win a critique. Best of luck with the new book. I look forward to reading it.
    Darshana Khiani

  4. Thank you Julie and Peter. As always, a lot of great information here. I look forward to reading his new book!

  5. Peter Brown’s humorous books inspire me! I heard him at SCBWI-Houston last April, and was delighted to get to hear him again–thank you Julie!

  6. Haha, Julie, you still look beautiful! Just be glad you don’t look like me after a run. This was so much fun! Yes, I will buy Mr. Tiger Goes Wild. 🙂 Thanks to both of you and Peter thanks so much for the opportunity to win the critique. *waves*

  7. Peter Brown is one of my favorite author-illustrators. Thanks so much for this great interview — it was so insightful to have that illustrator perspective. I especially appreciated how he said his brain has to start whirring when he reads a manuscript. I’m looking forward to reading “Mr. Tiger Goes Wild!”

  8. I love Creepy Carrots! Thanks for featuring Peter Brown. Fabulous interview. It is always fun learning about an author-illustrator’s creative process. I also love the special effects of your video.

  9. Can’t wait to get my hands on MR TIGER GOES WILD! Thanks for the interview. I do love the video format, Julie!

  10. Wonderful, interesting interview. Thanks Peter and Julie! I didn’t think you looked at all oompa loompa-ish Julie. 😀

  11. Thank you julie and peter. Fantastic

  12. Can’t wait to see you all in person next week and grab a copy of this book!

  13. What a great interview and I LOVE Mr. Brown’s work! Thanks Peter and Julie for all you do for the writing community!

    Donna L Martin

  14. Nice job, Julie! I love thinking of being a writer as playing, but you’re so right – having deadlines and the pressure to win a second award after winning a first award would definitely be Nirvana! Thanks, Peter.

  15. Really enjoyed listening to how Peter’s process of ideas and development of stories/illustrations differs with each manuscript. That’s how I work. Love the cover of MR. TIGER GOES WILD – I look forward to reading it. Was fascinated by the book layout behind him, would have loved to have seen it close up!

  16. Have fun all you Denverites who get to see Peter in person soon! Thanks for the great interview. I can’t wait to get Mr. Tiger Goes Wild.

  17. HOORAY for Peter Brown and also for MR TIGER GOES WILD which I can’t wait for.

  18. Awesome interview! I loved learning about how Peter started and his advice about paring words down because a picture is worth a thousand words!

  19. Wow! Loved the interview – what great advice Peter Brown had to offer! He’s always been one of my favorite author-illustrators! Can’t wait to get Mr. Tiger Goes Wild.

  20. I enjoyed this interview so much! Never realized how different things will be when I become a published author. In many ways, my ideas won’t be my own, or be totally accepted. It’s a give and take. Benefit vs. detriment. But, it challenges instead of discourages me. Thanks Peter and Julie!

  21. Great video! What a great 12×12 author! 😀

  22. Grateful for this interview, Julie. I hope you can find more a/I’s willing to share their insights in the future! Peter’s comments are worth gold nuggets to those creating whole books on their own. I suppose it’s a bit like puppetry, telling the story from one mind in two ways simultaneously, with one shot at doing it right. This has me so much more excited to meet Peter together with a batch of 12xers!

  23. Great interview as was his keynote at NJSCBWI. So glad you were able to get over your “shyness” Julie and ask him to be a featured author. Quite inspiring.

  24. I have a complete Peter Brown library, despite hubby disapproving of my spending habits. 😉 What a wonderful prize for the month! Definitely motivating me to work harder on writing and editing.

  25. Terrific interview and information. I also had the pleasure of seeing Peter at the Wild Wild Midwest SCBWI conference in May2013 in Fort Wayne and he was excellent to learn from during his lunch keynote as well. Thanks, Peter and Julie!

  26. Peter Brown is such an inspiration! I love Creepy Carrots and can’t wait to read Mr. Tiger Goes Wild!

  27. I love Peter Brown! I friend gave me a signed copy of “Chowder” years ago – one of my daughters’ favorites! I was lucky enough to see Peter speak this past March at the Tucson Festival of Books – amazingly talented writer, illustrator, and speaker! We are lucky here at 12×12…Thanks, Julie and Peter!

  28. Thanks so much, Peter and Julie. Excellent interview full of great inspiration.

  29. If any of you are teachers, Peter Brown is amazing at school visits/presentations as well! We were lucky to have him come to our school where he captivated both the teachers, students, and parents with his presentations. Can’t wait to purchase his newest book to read to my students 🙂

  30. Kathleen Cornell Berman

    Great interview! Thanks Julie and Peter. I had the pleasure of seeing Peter at the NJSCBWI conference. Peter- I LOVED your speech. I am a visual person so you had my attention the entire time. Instead of talking about your creative process, you showed us. Fantastic!

  31. I’m a huge fan of The Curious Garden, as are my 2 little girls. Thanks for a great talk, Julie and Peter. I’m really crossing my fingers to win this critique.

  32. Enjoy the interview! Peter, I liked what you’d said about being flexible as writers as our words will change.

  33. Great to see the amazing Creepy Carrots man here. Loved the interview. I loved the honest responses with his art processes, art directors, etc. Great inspiration. Thanks.

  34. I am trying to get this video to work and won’t stop til’ I do, because i love your books, Peter Brown!
    I love the book trailer for Creepy Carrots-too funny.

  35. So I went directly to YouTube and was able to play the interview that way. Just great. I enjoyed hearing Peter talk about his life as author/illustrator and about the cooperation and play that goes on between the words and images. Thanks again.

  36. Thanks for another great interview, Peter and Julie. Inspiration sparks everywhere.

  37. I enjoyed hearing an author/illustrator’s perspective, esp the behind-the-scenes on the process of illustrating someone else’s book. Also the networking aspect of landing that first deal; I seem to hear a lot of right-place-right-time stories, and it makes sense given how large the slush piles are these days. Also interesting to hear from someone who started early writing/illustrating for kids. I came to this career relatively late, after a big shift, which seems to be more the norm than starting during or right out of college. Thanks, Julie and Peter!

  38. Thanks so much Julie and Peter for a great video interview. Many great tips. 🙂

  39. What a wonderful interview! I really appreciated it when Peter said, “The greatest part of this art form is the play between the words and pictures.” As an author only, that’s something I have to remind myself of constantly. And I will reread my manuscripts with Peter’s thought in mind that a good manuscript should immediately fire up an illustrator’s imagination. In my house, we’ve read Peter’s THE CURIOUS GARDEN many, many times and love to pour over all the details in the illustrations. I can’t wait to read MR. TIGER GOES WILD with my four year old!

  40. I love “Mr. Tiger Goes Wild”! A wonderful book from a talented author! 🙂 (It helps that my 4 year old keeps asking me to read it “Again, Mommy!” 🙂

  41. Thank you, Julie and Peter, for a lovely interview. The video format was a treat!

  42. I adore Peter Brown’s work! I often do writing workshops in my kids’ classrooms and have used CHILDREN MAKE TERRIBLE PETS as a writing prompt. Looking forward to getting my hands on MR. TIGER GOES WILD!

  43. I love Peter Brown’s stories and so do my kids!!! I can’t wait to read Mr. Tiger Goes Wild!

  44. Thanks Julie and Peter for the great post!

  45. Peter Brown is one of the greats. He is a favorite in our house. Brilliant.

  46. I loved Peter’s honesty about this whole process. Great post!

  47. Thank you Peter and Julie! I found this interview full of helpful information and well as inspiring words. The quote that I wrote down and put on my desk is “Be prepared for when chance meets opportunity!”

  48. Fantastic post! As a published illustrator working on making the leap to both writing and illustrating,it is great to hear Peter’s insights and perspective. Thank you Peter and Julie!

  49. Great interview! Interesting about illustrating his own work vs. illustrating someone else’s story.

  50. Children Make Terrible Pets has been one of our favorite laugh-out-loud books for a long time. Thanks for this great interview!

  51. Love the post and the book video. The invitation to play and imagine is fabulous. Hanging out with little kids works well too!

  52. I “met” Peter Brown at the SCBWI Western Washington conference 4 years ago (“met” as in, I squeaked out a greeting and asked him if he’d sign my copy of The Curious Garden, which he graciously did). I love that book and Chowder, and I can’t wait to read Mr. Tiger Goes Wild. Thanks for this interview.

  53. Thank so much for this great post! Like the others, I love Peter Brown’s work! Can’t wait to read MR. TIGER GOES WILD!

  54. Thanks for another great interview, Julie! I love, love, love Creepy Carrots and I’ll be buying Mr. Tiger Goes Wild very soon (like in about 2 minutes!)

  55. Love the interview. Peter is so approachable and inspiring. Very interesting thoughts about how illustrators need to develop a distinctive style and the need not to forget the fun.

  56. Love the idea (which I’d never thought about) that we writers have more freedom before we become published! Great interview!

  57. Many thanks, Julie and Peter. It really helps me to get an illustrator’s perspective.

  58. Great Post – thanks! Confession – I was too embarrassed to ask Peter Brown to inscribe all his books I bought to me – so I had two of them inscribed to my daughters, but I am keeping them.

  59. Thanks for the great interview. I especially appreciated his advice on illustration notes which is something I often wonder how best to do, if at all in my manuscripts.

  60. I really enjoyed Peter’s presentation at the June conference, especially the drawing of his Mommy!

  61. Great interview, love to hear about the work process of. authors.

  62. Loved the interview with Peter and Julie! I sat next to Peter at lunch at the NJSCBWI conference in June so I was prepared to be amazed by your post. He and I have something in common–I student taught with his Kindergarten teacher at Hopewell Elementary in Hopewell, NJ (several years before Peter was in Kindergarten, though). Pretty cool, huh? I especially enjoyed hearing his illustrator perspective about how the words and pictures work together. Thanks so much!

  63. Thank you so much for the great interview! Helpful and interesting to get an illustrator’s insights.

  64. Such a great video! Love hearing author’s and illustrators talk about their work.

  65. Oh my gosh I am so excited… Peter Brown *drum roll….. Is one of my heroes, right up there with Walt Disney, Dr Seuss, Picasso, Dali. So many things he said resonated with me. I am going to go ‘play’ right now!

  66. Wow, thanks for a great interview! I learned so much!!

  67. Loved this interview, Julie. Not often that writers (that I) can learn about the industry from an illustrator’s pov. And Peter, that next book with Simon & Schuster? Mine! Mine! lol

  68. Peter Brown, will you please come to Australia! Loved the interview, great insights into Peter’s publishing road and working process from an author/ illustrator’s point of view.

  69. I will have to cck out his books.

  70. I’m wild about Mr. Tiger–and all of Peter’s super characters. Thanks so much, Peter and Julie!

  71. Thank you from me too, Peter and Julie. I’ll have to get his new book for Rilla 🙂

  72. Thank you so much for featuring Peter as your guest, Julie! Hearing BOTH of you talk is a great reminder of why we do what we do! We love it, and it makes kids happy, fulfilled, and more knowledgeable of the magic of reading. I was glued to the screen, Peter! I was particularly happy to hear the question come up about illustration notes, Julie. Thank you so much for the information and your amazing point of view, Peter!

  73. Thoroughly enjoyed this post! The interview was just excellent. And I LOVE Mr.Tiger Goes Wild! It is pure perfection 🙂

  74. You Will Be My Friend is a recent favorite in our house! I, personally, love how the squeaking children make an appearance in this book.

  75. Hi Peter,

    Thank you for a wonderful interview! It was such a treat to get to meet you at the Boulder Barnes and Noble event this month. I loved watching you “do your thing” with the little kids and audience. Your presentation filled me with inspiration and motivation. Also, you autographed Mr. Tiger Goes Wild for my son’s fifth birthday and he LOVES it.

    Thank you!
    Beth Thaler

  76. Thanks so much for the honest & interesting interview with Peter. As an aspiring author/illustrator I would be so thrilled to win a critique with him. THANKS AGAIN!

  77. The video format captured so many details about Peter’s process that were wonderful to hear. I read Mr. Tiger Goes Wild over the weekend and now realize it’s a perfect reflection of the way our very structured school community will let loose a bit as we transition to a visual and performing arts magnet school next year. I’ll be sharing it with my staff soon! Thanks for inviting Peter to your blog!

  78. Thanks Peter and Julie, It was fascinating to hear how you approach your work and how the words and pictures fit together. A great interview, thanks for your time!

  79. Wonderful interview, Julie. And thanks, Peter, for your advice. Love Mr Tiger!

  80. Love true stories with happy ending 🙂

  81. Thank you Peter and Julie for such a great video. It is so nice to get the insight of an illustrator. I really liked hearing about his process and an explanation for using only very simple art notes if any at all. Thanks!

  82. thank you Peter & Julie for taking the time to do this informative video! I enjoyed it. Can’t wait to see Mr. Tiger!

  83. I am so glad that I didn’t miss this terrific interview with Peter Brown. I’m grateful for his time and his generous advice. Thank you Julie!

  84. The beauty of the monthly 12 x 12 check-in is that if my busy schedule prevents me from seeing the featured author, I will get one last reminder before the month is over. So glad for this reminder. I really enjoyed listening to what Peter Brown had to say. I so related to “doing what you love for work.” And also finding balance between doing what you love for work and doing what you love in life. Thanks Peter and Julie.

  85. LOVE Peter Brown, as does my daughter! Great interview–thanks!

  86. Fantastic interview, Julie, and thanks Peter for your time and sharing so much! 12×12 is “Inspiration Station” for sure.

  87. Thank you for sharing, Peter! Can’t wait to read your new book!

  88. What a great interview! Nothing can take the place of listening to someone whose been there, and being able to glean wonderful bits of inspiration and advice from them. Thank you Peter for your time, and thank you Julie for providing all of us with such wonderful opportunities to learn and grow as writers and illustrators. 🙂

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