Interview with Chlele Payne Gummer, Part II

Why do you like writing children’s books? 

After walking Spring Lake for many years, watching the geese and their antics, I wanted to keep an accounting of what I saw. In writing the book, A Family of Geese, Rufus was created and his stories occurred to me. I enjoy illustrating the stories.

How would you describe the Rufus series? 

A story of a Canada gosling, Rufus, and his experiences from birth to 6 mos.  I imagine that children from age two to age seven would enjoy the stories. I know adults who like reading them as well. My favorites are Rufus Meets Coyote and Rufus Meets Squeaky Squirrel.

In addition to writing children’s books I have two novels about relationships, some memoir and some poems in my computer.

Have you had any poems, or stories published?

 My short story, “Suicide Hotline” and a poem, “A Summer Parade,” were published in the Redwood Writer’s 2020 Anthologies. Two of my poems, “Spider Dilemma” and “A Page of Haiku” will appear in the Redwood Writer’s 2021 poetry Anthology.

What is your writing process? 

The stories seem to grow as I write them. I may make changes after they are written. I’m taking a creative writing class, so I receive good revision ideas there.

My goose character Rufus became a collector of items left on the trail at Spring Lake because he was fascinated by the color and design of them. That is very much like me; I will pick up something off the cement if it catches my eye and stimulates my imagination. 

Describe your desk

Imagine a 18 inch square cleared for my multimedia pad. Around the area are used yogurt containers filled with brushes, small and wide bristles, several sizes of scissors, palette knives, and other tools I use. Boxes of colored pencils, a stand of colored pens, and glue sticks sit to my right. An 18 inch ruler lines one edge. A high powered lamp with a selection of brightness available on its base mans the left corner. A small gourd and a strange shaped ball sit guard as my two talismans.

How do you choose your subjects?

In my picture making I am creating a show of endangered animals. I could make a book on that I’m sure. So the possibilities are, as the cliché goes, endless.

Art by Chlele Payne Gummer

In my heart I am a naturalist and I enjoy every animal I come across, in fact, I talk to them. I yell at the crows in an imitative voice as they watch me going here and there.

Every dog I pass in the park knows I’m their friend and they anticipate a nuzzle or two. I’m sorry what we humans have made of this earth, taking anything of value, and disturbing the natural flow of life, causing serious changes in the climate resulting in the extinction of some very important animals. I love painting them as well. Hopefully I can have a show in town in the future.

Published by Chlele Gummer

I'm an artist, writer and author of nine children's books. Nature is my inspiration. Next project is a book of a hike with children. The pictures are created out of fabric scraps.

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