What a lovely time I had in this interview with fellow Secret Gardener (Vermont College of Fine Arts, July 2012 class) Sandra Nickel. Sandra asks What was on…..? Here is my response to What was on the cutting room floor (Short answer — lots!):
Editing Room floor: To write a picture book, particularly a non-fiction one, there are just so many fascinating details that must get left behind. It’s much like Michelangelo seeing David in the block of marble; you have to trim out the non-essential parts. And that is tough. In this case, I left out all sorts of adventures Abe had with Honey, including a wildcat attack, the details of how Honey came to be injured at the base of a cliff and the bad man who pushed him there, and all reference to Abe’s best friend, Austin, who I absolutely fell in love with reading about the two of them together. (I am overjoyed that Chuck Groenink included Austin in one of the pictures!) Many of these details are in the Author’s Note, and lots more on my website, but it’s tough to cut things out. My editor, Maria Barbo at HarperCollins, Katherine Tegen books, suggested we do a timeline for the book with Lincoln’s encounters with animals over the years. That was a fascinating bit of research. As far as I know, these tidbits have never been collected together before. One detail that I found too late to include but love is an anecdote about Mary Todd Lincoln telling her husband that he shouldn’t feed the cat off a gold fork at the White House dinner table. Lincoln’s amusing response–“If the gold fork was good enough for President Buchanan, it’s good enough for Tabby.”
Click the link for the whole interview.