David Wilson is a creative person who sometimes finds his creativity bubbling out in unexpected directions. He's been a photographer for over 20 years, both photographing for other people and following his passion for creating artistic images.
He loves to bring his images into Photoshop where, with his unique vision, he manipulates and combines sometimes twenty or more photographs at a time to create a scene in which one may become lost in exploration and introspection but which could never have existed in our world.
David has long enjoyed writing creatively but had never published until Luna Raccoon. Luna Raccoon was one of those unexpected bubbles of creativity that rose to the surface and then had to get out and be seen by others. Sometimes David gets the bug to create and then things just come out. He likes that.
SB: What brought you to write a story about friendship seen through the eyes of a Raccoon, Rabbit and Mouse?
DW: That makes for an interesting question as I don't have a perfect answer. I'll have to figure it out as I explain it. I knew I wanted a story with animals rather than people; I just felt more comfortable with them. Then, too, the forest is beautiful to me and I wanted my critters to live in natural surroundings. Also, some of my favourite stories as a child are about animals—Frog and Toad, Winnie the Pooh.
The idea for a raccoon main character just happened. We have a cat named Luna, named by our son when he was very small, and I wanted to name my character after her. I played with the sounds of names and "Luna Raccoon" rolled off of my tongue most smoothly. On the plus side, I wanted my character to be very intelligent and my impression of raccoons, with their eye patches and reputation for stealth, is that they are very smart and resourceful little animals. So is Luna Raccoon. She's a thinker.
Luna's friend, Atticus Rabbit (Atty), complements Luna's cerebral nature with that of a do-er. While Luna is the thinker, Atty just wants to go go go and do do do. I think of rabbits like that. As for Mouse, well, he's just Mouse—a very special Mouse who has some pretty keen insights himself, a clear and sharp way of thinking and a great sense of humour.
SB: The cadence and tone of Ray Porter’s (narrator) voice had a nice ring and added a consistent flow to Luna Raccoon. How did you decide on choosing Ray Porter as the narrator for telling the heartwarming story of three lovable friends?
DW: I am so fortunate to have found Ray Porter, an accomplished actor and narrator. We met, of all things, playing an online flying game for iPad! I've always loved pretending to fly and, while flying in these flight sims online, I have actually met and become friends with quite a number of people from all walks of life. When I got the idea to write Luna Raccoon in late 2011, I recalled one of my flying buddies saying he had done some narration. I asked if he'd be interested in narrating my story for me and he was happy to help out a friend. I had no idea how good he was at the time! So I was blessed to find him. When Luna Raccoon hits it big, I will remember him :). I asked Ray to narrate it before I was done writing and sent him a sample of the story before it was completed both for him to check out and for me to see what he sounded like. He made up the voices for Luna, Atty and Mouse, and I was delighted with them. It was he who gave Mouse that lovely Irish lilt and I wrote the rest of the story thinking of Mouse as a little Irish mouse because of it. Thanks, Ray!
SB: Luna Raccoon really comes to life with the beautiful water colour illustrations. Was this what you envisioned for the book from the beginning or did the end results surpass your expectations?
DW: As I was with Ray Porter, I am fortunate to have been able to collaborate with Christiane Gozashti as well. Her artwork is beautiful. Also, as with Ray, sometimes her art influenced the story. She made some of the pieces before I was completely finished, and sometimes things that she would include in her paintings would end up in the story after I'd seen the painting. I enjoy that flow of ideas, how one person's thought influences another's, and that together from all of it the story takes its final shape.
SB: I love the song Mouse sang to Luna. Did you compose this song and, if so, where did the inspiration for it come from?
DW: Thanks, I love that song, too. Friendship means a lot to me and this song (and the whole book) is about friendships. The words are my own but the inspiration for the melody is "Toora Loora Looral, That's an Irish Lullaby" and I chose that tune because Ray Porter gave Mouse that Irish accent. That and it's such an endearing melody. I believe I may have warped the tune a little, but that was the inspiration. I am very happy with that little song. You can hear the song and see that page of the book if you watch the little video of it on the Luna Raccoon Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/LunaRaccoon).
SB: The young and the old alike can relate to Luna Raccoon. Please explain why.
DW: Young people identify with the young animal characters and the things they think about and do. For instance, do you always have to wish on the first star? Why would anyone ever say the Moon is made of green cheese? Even I don't know. I was hoping they'd find out for me. As for older people, if they are young at heart then they will enjoy these stories because their little ones enjoy them and because it reminds them of their own childhood, the stories they remember loving about animals and especially friendships.
SB: The friendship that Luna, Atty and the Mouse share is like no other and one we do not experience much anymore. Are you writing from experience?
DW: Yes. The friendship between Luna, Atty and Mouse is pure and unconditional. Each of them accepts the others for who they are and loves them as friends. It's the truest kind of friendship as each of the characters delights in the others in spite of differences that might annoy lesser friends. In my experience, that's the best kind of friend to have. Luna, Atty and Mouse are best friends.
SB: What has the response been like to Luna Raccoon?
DW: The feedback I've gotten for Luna Raccoon has been very positive. I am honoured and humbled by the positive reviews I've seen from people who have bought it and by the attention it is getting in the blogosphere.
SB: What was your publishing journey like?
DW: Is it strange that one who writes would not be into a lot of paperwork? As a creative person (I'm also a photographer and work a lot with digital images), I loved both writing the story and then working with the original watercolours that Christiane would send me. I scanned them, sharpened, colour corrected, separated elements of them from their backgrounds, made parts transparent, cropped, combined, collaged into new compositions—all kinds of stuff, including making them interactive for the iPad, and I loved it. The less fun part was paperwork associated with actually selling: contracts with Apple for selling in the iBookstore, trademarking Luna Raccoon, tax paperwork for selling in each country...I still haven't set myself up to sell in any country but the US at the moment. Canada, Australia and England are all in my sights. Each one has its own mess of paperwork. Yay.
SB: Any writing oddities?
DW: I'm not sure if this qualifies as an oddity, but I really found it interesting how my story was shaped by some of Christiane's artwork and Ray's characterization of Mouse. For instance, I had a wooden raft in mind but Christiane painted a rubber raft and so that part of the story was set! And then Ray's Irish accent for Mouse early on shaped my entire view of Mouse and helped make Mouse who he is.
SB: What are you working on now?
DW: I'm working on two things at the moment. One is the next Luna Raccoon story, which is tentatively titled Luna Raccoon and the Night that was Noon. The other is a free companion book called Luna Raccoon Picture Book Companion which will have all the images found in Luna Raccoon in a high resolution form. The reader will be able to explore the pictures in great detail. This book won't have the story text, hence the Luna Raccoon Picture Book Companion title. I hope it will both be fun to have for lovers of Luna Raccoon and just plain be interesting to people who find it. And perhaps it will steer some people toward Luna Raccoon who had not otherwise heard of it.
Book available on the iBookstore for iPad:
Luna's Blog: http://lunaraccoon.com/lunaraccoon/
Visit Luna Raccoon's Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/LunaRaccoon, to find artwork and text, and even listen to Ray Porter narrate part of the story and watch as the camera pans across one of the book's pages.
You may also follow Luna Raccoon on Twitter, @LunaRaccoon.