Thursday, February 14, 2013

Author Spotlight: Laurel Heger & Monette Pangan

Hi everyone! Today I have the very talented author/illustrator team of Laurel Heger and Monette Pangan.  Their adorable story/picture book, Fox and Rabbit's Garden (A Tale of the Rabbit-less Stew), will be coming out in March!

Author Laurel Heger, was kind enough to tell us a little about how the story came about...

As with a lot of stories, they sometimes advance into something very different from their initial draft. Such was the case with Fox and Rabbit’s Garden (A Tale of the Rabbit-less Stew)
I was inspired to come up with a story from a Graphic Designer/Illustrator friend in Sweden. He wanted to use clay figures his 13-year-old daughter created for our illustrations. As I surveyed pictures of the clay fruits, vegetables, a rabbit, cakes, and pies sent to me by email (incredible work)… I began at once to fashion a story around them, which took me two days to finish and send off. Then began the process of waiting for his reply… tick-tock…

The following day, I was excited to find a reply!
I opened it and read…
One word GRIM!!
Wow you did it!
Love it! Thank you, Laurel.
A little scary, but that should be ok, I feel sorry for the rab though :-(
You did it Laurel, you found a story in there. I´m impressed.

I think I´ll let Alice read it; she has a superb gut feeling! :-)

I did it!… or so I thought.

Later, I received an email saying, Alice would prefer a happy ending. Okay, I could go with a happy ending. So began… Fox and Rabbits Garden. A week later, I transformed the story into an unlikely friendship between a Fox and Rabbit. However, after the New Year, Alice was back in school and my friend was not sure when she would be able to put together more clay figures. He said that I was free to find another to illustrate the story.

Two weeks after the book was written, I teamed up with Designer/Children's Illustrator, Monette Pangan to create Fox and Rabbit’s Garden (A Tale of the Rabbit-less Stew) a picture book that combines amusing illustrations with an engaging/rheumatic narrative. I believe Monette has captured the two characters flawlessly. I love how it has turned out. Fox and Rabbit will take young readers on a witty and humorous account of Fox helping to prepare stew for supper, whilst also helping him to appreciate the unlikely friendship that has begun with Rabbit, and of course, a taste for rabbit-less stew.

I began feeling the story could turn into a clever collection of adventures for Fox and Rabbit, so around Thanksgiving I wrote a sequel… “Fox and Rabbit’s Cranberry Surprise” That means twice the entertainment!

Monette is currently working on her new children’s book. But, there is a good possibility, when completed, a new adventure for Fox and Rabbit could be out in 2014.


Laurel worked as a maritime cook on fishing vessels, crabbers, freighters and tenders in the Bering Sea and many inlets of Alaska. She appreciates the best things life has to offer ... mushroom hunting, fresh vegetables, bunny rabbits, hedgehogs, and writing for children. Fox and Rabbit's Garden is her fourth published picture book. Laurel currently makes her home in the Pacific Northwest and volunteers in her community.


Monette Pangan was born and raised in the Philippines. Drawing was something she did from childhood,spending countless hours with her head bent over unused test booklets sheets (her grandmother was a teacher) stapled together to make a sketchbook. She has been a dance instructor, a high school Literature teacher, and even a preschool teacher but the magic of illustration and the written word kept calling. In 2009, she moved to the US to work for a design company. Soon after, she collaborated with writers on uTales and has illustrated three ebooks, two of them with Laurel Heger.

Monette is now based in Connecticut where she continues to explore the world of children's books and surface design. She is married and has two wonderful sons.



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