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An Interview with Author Kimberly Dean

Kimberly Dean is the author of many of your favorite Pete the Cat books, including Pete the Cat and His Magic Sunglasses and Pete the Kitty and the Groovy Playdate. Now, she's used her creative genius to create a whole new cast of characters. 

She teamed up with illustrator Kristen Haffke to create her newest book, The Case of the Missing Sock. The story stars an adorable detective team, Willow and Oliver. This dynamic duo makes up the A. OK Detective Agency, and they're always looking for cases to solve around their neighborhood. 

Just after the release of The Case of the Missing Sock, we sat down with Kimberly to talk about her new book and the creative process.

1. As an artist and author, you're constantly exercising your creativity. Is there anything new you learned while creating this particular story?

I learned that there is a lot of thought when creating a character- building a personality and character traits is so much fun!  There is nothing more exciting than creating!

2. Where did you draw your inspiration from for The Case of the Missing Sock?

I have always gotten a laugh at how socks disappear! I end up with some random sock that never again finds its mate. It has been a mystery I’ve tried to solve for years.

3. When you sit down to write a new story, what usually comes first (ex. the ending, the lesson, the characters' personalities)?

The personalities of the characters are first for me. How do they act and react? I usually have someone I know in mind.

4. How was writing this new story different from writing for Pete?

This story was different because Pete was already an established character that was easy to put a voice to. In writing my own characters I was able to establish what their personalities and interests were.

5. Do you hope to create more stories starring Willow and Oliver?

I already have the story for the second in the series! Another fun mystery with a life inspiring twist!

6. Were these characters inspired by characters in your life?

The characters are based on real life- Willow is my inner best self. She is a yoga loving artist that wants to take life slowly and with intention. I’ve always felt the sloth is my spirit animal!

7. What was your absolute favorite part of creating The Case of the Missing Sock?

Brainstorming is always my favorite part of writing and creating. Letting ideas just bubble up—always endless possibilities!

8. What are you cooking up next in your creative kitchen?

After I complete the new Pete picture book I’m currently working on, I want to finish up the story brewing for #2 in the Willow and Oliver detective series.

9. Do you have a favorite illustration from the book? If so, why?

My favorite image is Willow in tree pose! With the words take a deep breath in and out! It just reminds me to stay grounded and balanced- and she’s so beautiful!

10. Is there anything else you'd like to share with your fans about your new book?

The idea for a sloth and hedgehog detective duo has been an idea I’ve had for 6 years! It’s so wonderful to see an idea whose time has come!