Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Debut Author Interview with Angela Dominguez

Allow me to introduce to you the talented Angela Dominguez. I met her in our Facebook group, Children's Book Creatives. I soon found out that she lives in my hometown of San Francisco. Angela is an artist turned writer. Let's Go Hugo is her first picture book that she wrote and illustrated.  

About Angela Dominguez
Like Hugo, Angela Dominguez enjoys wearing scarves and exploring, and she occasionally needs a friend to help her take a big step. Angela was born in Mexico City, grew up in Texas, and lives in San Francisco, California.

As a child, Angela loved reading books, writing, and making a mess creating pictures. She's delighted to now be doing all three. For more on Angela visit her website at
www. angeladominguezstudio.com.

On March 8th, Angela will be launching her book at Books Inc. Opera Plaza in San Francisco, and I can't wait to get my copy!  It already received outstanding reviews from Publishers Weekly and Kirkus Review. So be sure to get your copy of Let's Go Hugo and visit Hugo's website at www.letsgohugo.com

Now on to our spectacular interview with the beautiful, Angela Dominguez!

Angela's Journey: From Illustrator to Author

Who or what inspired you to write your own picture book and make a transition from illustrator to writer?

When I became an instructor at the Academy of Art University, I began entertaining the idea of writing my own stories. I had always secretly loved writing. In high school, all of my teachers always encouraged to me write, but I decided to pursue art as a profession instead. 

Teaching children's book illustration, has made me stronger and more confident in my storytelling abilities. Every week I'm reading stories out loud and dissecting the relationship between text and illustrations with my students. In addition, I help edit and revise stories that the students write. The process has made me realize how much I love to write, and that I'm a natural storyteller. 

When I wasn't getting new projects, I decided to redo my portfolio with samples I loved and take a chance at writing.  

Did the transition from illustrator to writer come easy for you?

It has been relatively easy. I am excited about the challenge and I like being able to tell my own stories. I have aspirations of writing a longer format book like a young adult novel, but I'm taking everything one step at a time. 

How did you come up with the idea for your book?

Image of LET'S GO HUGO!My Hugo character originated in 2003. He had humble beginnings as a wind-up chicken toy that my mother mailed me for Easter. When I’d feel particularly low, I’d wind him up and say “ You go Hugo!” He was my little art spirit or art mascot. 

Fall 2005, I began attending graduate school in San Francisco at the Academy of Art. San Francisco was chilly and I was wearing a scarf nearly every day. In his honor, I painted a portrait of him in the city, added a scarf, and changed him from a chicken to bird. That painting was the first painting I ever had published in an illustration annual. That success gave the extra confidence to pursue illustration more.

After a few years of illustrating books and teaching, in 2011, I revisited the character. With the suggestion of my agent, Linda Pratt, I began writing “Let’s Go Hugo!”

What is your creative process like? Do you write your story first or do you start with illustrations or  with visions in your head?

It's a little bit of both. I have to visualize the characters and really get to know them. They have to feel alive to me. Often, they are just extensions of myself and my own neurosis. Once I understand and designed the characters, I doodle and fixate on the words. I'll often find myself saying lines out loud to myself. Eventually I get a flat plane for the story, and then I start developing the pretty thumbnails. Once I get to that point, it's easy. It's all about having a good idea. 

What steps have you taken to prepare you to become a writer? Any books or websites you recommend?

I'm constantly reading books about drawing and in the past few years started reading books about writing. There are so many, but I would say a few of my favorites are:

Elements of Style, On Writing by Stephen King, EB White short stories and many more. 

Did you find it challenging submitting as an author/illustrator?

I am lucky to have a great agent and I have some established relationships with people in publishing. I make it a point to go to New York to show my portfolio around. I've learned so much about the industry doing that and developed some great friendships. Once I had the story written, I showed it around on a NY trip and submitted it to a few people that were interested. 

Thank you very much, Angela, for sharing your journey with me. As a writer, I admire and respect writer-illustrators like you. That's double the fun! 

Let's Go Hugo


Fun Facts about Let's Go Hugo

  • It took 2 months to prepare the dummy for Let's Go Hugo
  • It took only 1 month from submission to acceptance by Dial Books
  • It took 22 months from acceptance to publication
  • It took 3 rounds of revisions with the editor and art director after acceptance
March 7 is the release date of Let's Go Hugo, but you can pre-order your copy today! Be sure to look out for her other upcoming books: Maria Had a Little Llama (Henry Holt) and Santiago Stays (Appleseed), to be released in the fall.


  1. Love the book trailer and the uniqueness of Hugo with his scarf and Parisian desires! Thanks for the great introduction to a new author, Romelle!

    1. Intriguing, isn't it. I can't wait to get my copy! Thanks for stopping by, Jennifer.

  2. The book looks great, and I love reading about debut writers, especially if they are also illustrators. Thanks, Romelle!

    1. Funny, I was thinking of you when I wrote the interview. I can't wait for you to write a picture book. I already know the illustrations will be fabulous!

  3. Hugo is adorable! Thanks Romelle and Angela for sharing the trailer.

    1. Yes, he is. Maybe Hugo will visit your town. :o) Thanks for stopping by Wendy!



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...