Author Interview Q&A
Author Q&A Interview - Gudrun Ongman
- What inspired you to write Sleep Pony Dreams?
I chose to
write the story of a Sleep Pony's first year, so children can
feel a loving friend waiting for them in their imaginations.
I also wanted children who are already waiting for their Sleep
Pony to see the love that already surrounds them.
- What do you hope the effect of
Sleep Pony Dreams will be?
I wanted to introduce children to the strength that is found
in beauty and friendship and to know that the warmth generated
by these two fuels can protect against the most bitter cold.
- Why is it set in winter?
I love the contrast of psychological
warmth and physical cold. The cold represents the challenges and
hardships everyone must face but it also creates beauty that can
warm and replenish the spirit. Also, as an artist, I could not
resist the urge to paint fuzzy little ponies surrounded by winter
- What ages did you write Sleep Pony Dreams for?
The book was
written for children approximately age three to ten. This is a
broad age range, but it is important that there be books that
can last over a period of time, be read again and again and
shared among siblings.
- Sleep Pony Dreams and The Sleep Ponies are relatively complex
books for young listeners and readers, why were they written
These books are meant to be read many times with details
and layers of meaning emerging slowly with each reading. "The patience
of a bird on eggs" is not just a valuable lesson for Sleep Ponies it
is also one children need to learn especially in this age of sound
bytes. My hope is that the art is compelling enough to engage
children, conditioned to easier reads, when the language becomes
more challenging and that they will experience the satisfaction
that comes with intent listening and imagining.
- Will this story interest the littlest listeners?
The story of a pony waiting for a party where she gets her biggest wish,
to see her Dream Child, is fairly simple and the illustrations tell the
story almost wordlessly. Parents can also simplify the words as they read
it to very young children.
- Did you have a horse as a child?
No, but my mother taught me about the Sleep Ponies and they were
the most loyal daydream companions. They provided transportation,
companionship and protection as I explored the worlds that opened
to me through my mind and my imagination.
- Does your real-life Sleep Pony, Whinny,
have a baby named Whicker?
Although I use my pony Whinny as a model for the ponies in my books,
she doesn't have a baby. I have often had fun imagining a baby pony for
her and what that little beauty would have looked and acted like.
Many of these imaginings took the form of the little Sleep Ponies,
Whicker and Shimmer, in my new book Sleep Pony Dreams.
- Are Sleep Ponies like real ponies?
No, they are different, They don't cost any money and Sleep Ponies
speak the same language we do. With real ponies, one has to learn
their language because they communicate primarily through body movement.
Learning pony language takes time and patience but it is well worth the
investment. (There is that robin again!)
- What do you like best, the writing or the painting?
Because of the process I use in developing my books, I cannot
separate them. I go back and forth so continuously between both
processes they are woven or sculpted into one for me.