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Interview with artist Ricky Gunawan

My second book, SARATOGA, comes out April, 2023 and I was delighted to work once again with the talented Ricky Gunawan.  In the interview below, you get a sense of his work as an artist. 

Question: Describe how art is important to society.

For me, art in general is very important not only for the current society we lived in but to the entire world culture. As an example, imagine the history that happened hundreds of years ago. There are civilizations that fall and rise again, there are inventions and discoveries, mistakes and improvements. We can have all of that knowledge, learn about all of them through arts such as literature, illustration, motion pictures, documentaries or video games nowadays. 

Question: What motivates you to create?

As an illustration artist, I really love to see and learn something new. I’m Indonesian and when I worked on the covers of ONE IF BY LAND, TWO IF BY SUBMARINE and KEP WESTGUARD REBEL SPY I learned about American history, the people behind the revolution, and the route they had to take to achieve their goal. For ONE IF BY LAND, TWO IF BY SUBMARINE, I even drew the map of Paul Revere’s famous midnight ride and that was exciting. 

Question: How do you define success as an artist?

Success as an artist is very subjective and personal for every individual. As for me, it’s more simple. It might not be a definitive definition of success, but right now I’m pretty satisfied that I can make a living as a fulltime artist. 

Question: What are your favorite and least favorite parts of being a professional artist?

My favorite part is finding out or learning something new every time I’m working on something. The least favorite part is AI drawing. Currently AI drawing is threatening the art world itself. It’s not considered art because they generate an image by mixing up stolen artworks all over the net. 

Question: Describe your dream art project.

A future goal is to make a video gamer project.

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First letter to readers

Dear Fellow Reader,

I hope this finds you well and scouring the bookshelves at libraries and bookstores and online to find new worlds to explore and new lives to live inside the hearts and minds of a multitude of new characters.

My first middle-grade story, ONE IF BY LAND, TWO IF BY… SUBMARINE will be released October 2019.

I’m excited for you to meet my characters Kep, Max, Tela, and T.J. as they arrive in Boston, 1775, and attempt to save the country at its very birth.

When Paul Revere is kidnapped by a time traveler determined to change the outcome of the American Revolution, thirteen-year-old Kep Westguard is sent to Boston, 1775, to take his famous midnight ride. Kep’s four-person team has twenty-four hours to light the famous lanterns at Old North Church, warn Lexington and Concord that the British are coming, and rescue John Hancock and Samuel Adams from hanging as traitors to the crown.

As the clock ticks, one teammate is arrested as a runaway slave, a British watchman stops another from lighting the lanterns, and Kep nearly drowns when he attempts to cross the Charles River in a Patriot inventor’s prototype wooden, hand-crank submarine. When Hancock and Adams ask Kep to sneak a trunk of critical papers out from under the eyes of the British Army during the Battle of Lexington, Kep has to decide how much he’s willing to sacrifice for his country. If he fails, there will be no America to return to.

I got my first reviews on Goodreads! I am SO excited and grateful to those who took the time to read and review! After having lived with these characters in my head for so long, it is a joy to send them out into the world.

Best wishes to all for a spring full of great stories – both on the pages of books and in the hours of your days!

Eileen