Larissa and Keith Marantz are the creators of the Clyde the Hippo series. They have worked together through four wonderful books. I realize now that I didn’t talk enough about Clyde the Hippo in this interview. It started with their child asking for a pet, and Keith saying that they didn’t need a pet, because they had a hippo in their back yard. Years later they worked together and came up a wonderful series with a hippo named Clyde! You can read more about their books here: http://clydethehippo.com
Recently Larissa and Keith launched their book series in a virtual book launch party! It was so much fun. In some ways it was better than a bookstore book launch because I (and many other people including their agent) got to see the launch even though I live so far away.
Dani: How do you both work through ideas?
Larissa & Keith: Since we are a team, and we are married, ideas will happen at any time. Usually, Keith get his idea in the shower, and incidentally does a lot of his “writing” in the shower, too.
He’s more of the “idea guy” and I’m more of the “refiner” of the ideas. Although I have had a few ideas for stories that we’ve worked on. Clyde Lied was based off of my idea that he ended up writing ( and will be released in June, 2020). Basically, we’ll talk about our ideas during our evening walks with the dog, or during the day. If I get a visual idea in my head, I’ll draw a really rough sketch of it in my sketchbook. I’ve got quite a few stories that haven’t been developed yet that are still in rough sketch form in my sketchbooks. When Keith gets an idea, he’ll write it down and spend some time with it. If he thinks it’s promising, he’ll develop it into something to pitch to our agent. She lets us know if it’s worth spending the time to pursue or not.
Dani: What do you do when you aren’t working?
Larissa & Keith: Well, right now in this pandemic, we are doing pretty much the same as we did before. We both work from home, but when we’re not working, we’d usually hang out at the house, taking walks, or go get dessert with our kids. Now, we’re baking desserts at home. Keith is a phenomenal chef so he enjoys making delicious meals every night to keep the feeling of normalcy as much as possible. Except, now his meals have interesting names. The other night he made Hawaiian food and named it Lockdown Luau featuring Kovid Kalua Pork, Quarantine Cabbage and Mac-Corona Salad.
Dani: If there was a movie or song that describes your life, what would it be?
Larissa & Keith: I have no idea how to answer this but when I asked Keith he paused briefly and said “Ain’t No Stopping Us Now” by McFadden and Whitehead, 1979.
(Keith pulled that out of his head, him being a former DJ, knew exactly the song, the band and they year it was released.)
Dani: Any advice for working on projects with your significant other?
Larissa & Keith: Be open to criticism from your loved one and don’t take it personally when your partner makes suggestions for improvement. Remember that the project you’re working on is a team effort and the goal is to make it a success, and sometimes that means dropping your ego and not holding on to things that you want, but letting go and being open to possibilities. Know what your strengths are in the partnership and know what your weaknesses are so that you can each utilize your strengths and help each other out where the other needs help.
Yes, those are the rules we’ve set. But I have to admit that I’m still learning those rules. It’s very challenging at times, but conversely, it’s also extremely rewarding to know that together we are using the best of our abilities to make something we hope will make a mark in the literary world.
Dani: What projects do you have on the way?
Larissa & Keith: We are both working on our first graphic novel, BLAKE LASER, about a 12 year old inventor who must stop aliens from stealing the sun’s energy which would lead to the total destruction of Earth within 48 hours. It’s set in the 24th century and the main character has a fun relationship with her annoying older brother that will make this epic tale really relatable to readers. That, and we are trying to get through life in a pandemic. We’re lucky we have our health, our family, and an exciting challenging project to engage us during this time.
Follow Larissa and Keith:
Buy Clyde the Hippo: BooksaMillion (More options on the webpage below)
Clyde The Hippo’s Website: http://clydethehippo.com
Larissa’s Website: http://larissamarantz.com/
Larissa’s Online Art Classes http://larissamarantz.com/oc-art-studios.html
Clyde the Hippo: https://twitter.com/clydethehippo
Larissa Marantz: https://twitter.com/LarissaMarantz
Keith Marantz: https://twitter.com/keith_marantz