Steve Hickner – Animation Rules!

Animation RulesSteve Hickner

Below is the background information sent from the publishers in setting up the interview with Steve Hickner. We’ll add to that by saying that the vast majority of the rules here are useful in many business situations, going well beyond animation.

If you listen to our interview by clicking on the grey podcast bar below, you’ll find Steve to be a friendly, genuine and genuinely funny person, who happens to be a talented animation professional.

He’s currently working at Dreamworks, which allowed me to drop into every conversation that week the fact that I had an important interview with “an insider at Dreamworks.” Even better, we had to postpone our first interview time because Steve had a meeting with the “S” in “SKG Dreamworks,” Steven Spielberg. Seriously cool, as is our interview below:

Steve Hickner’s Animation Rules! lays out 52 rules for everyone who works in animation and other creative pursuits.

The rules offer succinct career advice for anyone working in a creative field. Some rules are counter-intuitive: “Open strong. Close stronger” (Rule 17) recommends putting the second-best piece of work first in a portfolio, and the best piece last. Others give insights that only a longtime professional would know: “Every studio is two flops from disaster” (Rule 38).

Hickner has illustrated each rule with a drawing featuring Rulio, the fictitious animator who does not follow the rules. “Immerse yourself in inspiration” (Rule 29), shows a colleague whose work is inspired by great movies, while Rulio dreams about cupcakes.

At DreamWorks Animation, Hickner directed the films The Prince of Egypt and Jerry Seinfeld’s Bee Movie. At Stephen Spielberg’s Amblimation studio, Hickner produced the films An American Tail: Fievel Goes West and Balto. He has also worked at Walt Disney Animation Studios and has been a storyboard artist for Peabody and Sherman, Shrek Forever After, Over the Hedge, Madagascar, Shark Tale, and Antz. He frequently lectures at universities. His first book, Animating Your Career, was published in 2013.



John Rekart, Jr. – Rollin’ on the River and Rollin’ on the Wild River

John Rekart Jr with books

John Rekart, Jr. is one of the ten authors appearing at Klindt’s Booksellers in The Dalles for the Fourth Annual Northwest Writer Fest on Saturday, October 18 from 2 to 5 p.m.

Rollin’ on the River is the definitive story of the creation of the Columbia River Pilots and how they move ocean-going vessels from Astoria as far upriver as Portland and Vancouver.  Most of the pilots gained their experience on the middle and upper Columbia River moving tugs and barges filled with various commodities.  The movement of these products is detailed from their source until they finally move along the Columbia towards the ports of Portland, Vancouver, Kalama, Longview and Rainier.  This is a never-before-told history and daily operational function of a vital group of women and men and how they worked their way into the job.  All of the inner workings are explained and the coordination detailed between various agencies designed to protect the consumers in America and around the world.

Rollin’ on the Wild River is the story of the Sagebrush Sailors of rural Oregon who formerly were ranch hands, cowboys, oil-truck drivers and shoe salesmen trained to be fearless tug operators on the Columbia River before most of the dams were built.  They had to learn quickly how to run the rapids on the wildest river in the world.  Each of the rapids is explained and how they were to be run.  All of these rapids are underwater now but they are still remembered by the men who operated the tugs through often-forbidding conditions. The stories of their underpowered tugs are also told.  The author relied on personal interviews to paint a never-before-told history of men succeeding against the elements.

To hear our extended 20–minute interview with John Rekart, Jr. click on the grey podcast bar below:

Sharon Duerst – Catching Rain

Catching RainSharon Duerst

Sharon Duerst is a native of The Dalles, and one of the ten writers taking part in Klindt Booksellers’ fourth annual Northwest Writers Fest Saturday, October 18, from 2 to 5 p.m.

Catching Rain is a sequel to Sharon Duerst’s debut novel, Mending Stone. Y0u can hear our 2012 interview with her about Mending Stone  by clicking the first podcast bar below.

Here’s what Amazon says about Catching Rain: “Mexico captivates Mia Casinelli with a life long-lost and a mysterious woman in her dreams.  She sees a future in the smile of a stranger there, but what to do about Gerald back in Oregon? How can she create a new life with only words and inklings to lead the way?”

Though most of the book is set in Mexico as a continuation of , protagonist Mia Casinelli’s voyage of discovery she does visit the Northwest, including a trip up the Gorge from Portland to Rufus and back on the Washington side. There’s even a mention of Klindt’s Booksellers as Mia passes through The Dalles.

Our 2012 interview on Mending Stone:

Our current interview on Catching Rain:


Michelle E. Walch and John Maddin – Letters of the West

Letters of the WestAuthors of Alphabet bookA is for Alpenglow, F is for Foxglove, X is for Xeriscape, and Z is for Zigzag! The wilderness of the West is captured in this alphabet book showcasing the grand and marvelous plants, animals, and curious features found from British Columbia to Baja, California. Filled with landscape marvels, Letters of the West invites young readers to learn their ABCs through delightfully bold and whimsical illustrations inspired by the natural world.

To hear our interview with Michelle E. Walch and John Maddin, click on the grey podcast bar belwo

Kirsten and Christopher Shockey – Fermented Vegetables

Fermented Vegetables CoverKirsten and Christopher ShockeyKirsten and Christopher Shockey are among the authors who will be at Klindt’s Booksellers for the Northwest Author Fest Saturday, Oct. 18. Below is the official background for the authors and their book. To listen to our interview with this fascinating couple and find out, among other things, what uses can be made of an 80-quart stainless steel cannister on wheels, click on the grey podcast bar below.

Fermented food is one of the darlings of the artisanal food movement, with fermentation festivals popping up across the country and preparations like kimchi making regular appearances on food trend lists. We’ve embraced fermentation for its health and nutritional value (think probiotics, enzymes, and nutrition density) and as a simple, traditional method of food preservation. But fermentation is so much more than healthy condiments and preserved abundance. Authors Kirsten K. and Christopher Shockey eat fermented vegetables because they’re delicious, not just because they’re good for us. With their new book, Fermented Vegetables, they share recipes for fermenting dozens of vegetables and herbs, plus tips and techniques developed during their years as farmstead food producers — not only for creating the perfect batch of fermented goodness, but also for using those ferments in delicious, nutritious dishes throughout the day.

Fermented Vegetables offers in-depth, step-by-step instructions for making sauerkraut, kimchi, pickles, pastes, chutneys, and whole-leaf ferments; 140 recipes use these techniques to preserve 64 different vegetables and herbs. Readers will learn how to make sauerkraut using not only the traditional cabbage but also carrots, cauliflower, or fennel, while kimchi can be made with asparagus, garlic scapes, parsnips, or snow peas. Because fermentation unlocks new, unimagined, complex, and deep flavors perfect for incorporating into every meal, once the techniques are mastered the bounty of flavor is limitless. The book also includes 84 recipes for using the fermented foods in meals, snacks, and beverages, including Smoky Kraut Quiche, Au Gratin Potatoes, Annaliese’s Lentils and Rice, Fish Tacos, Egg Salad, Zucchini Muffins, and Chi-tini.

Fermenting vegetables is easy. All the home cook needs is a few jars or a crock, a bit of salt, and fresh produce. The results are anything but simple: lacto-fermentation elevates the humble vegetable into a creation with tang, zest, effervescence, and pizzazz — the perfect nutritious, delicious, artisanal treat.


Kirsten K. Shockey and Christopher Shockey got their start in fermenting foods with their farmstead food company, where they created over 40 varieties of cultured vegetables and krauts. Their current focus is on teaching the art of fermenting vegetables to others through classes and workshops at their farm. Kirsten blogs at They live on a 40-acre hillside homestead in the Applegate Valley of southern Oregon.

Robin Herrera – Hope is a Ferris Wheel

Hope Cover 300 x 453Robin HerreraTen-year-old Star Mackie lives in a trailer park with her flaky mom and her melancholy older sister, Winter, whom Star idolizes. Moving to a new town has made it difficult for Star to make friends, when her classmates tease her because of where she lives and because of her layered blue hair. But when Star starts a poetry club, she develops a love of Emily Dickinson and, through Dickinson’s poetry, learns some important lessons about herself and comes to terms with her hopes for the future.
With an unforgettable voice with a lot of heart, Hope Is a Ferris Wheel is the story of a young girl who learns to accept her family and herself while trying to make sense of the world around her.

That’s the Amazon blurb above, and it doesn’t begin to let you know just how engaging Hope is a Ferris Wheel is. This feels much more accomplished than a first novel, particularly in the way Star’s voice comes out in her vocabulary assignments, which are the only first-person parts of the book. It’s not easy being the new kid in school, particularly when you’re poor and live in a trailer park, but
Star perseveres in a way that is neither pat nor cloying. It feels real in every aspect.

There is also a surprising and welcome amount of humor in this book. Readers will want to see much more from Robin Herrera.

Robin Herrera is one of the 10 authors featured in the  Klindt’s Booklsellers  Northwest Author Fest Saturday, Oct. 18 from 2 to 5 p.m.

To listen to our interview with Robin Herrera, just click the grey podcast bar below.

Jonathan Alderfer – Complete Birds of North America, 2nd Edition

National Geographic Complete Birds of North AmericaJonathan Alderfer editor of National Geographic Complete Birds of North AmericaThe National Geographic Complete Birds of North America is a comprehensive and easy-to-use reference covering every wild bird species found in North America as well as a variety of exotic species that are established or regularly observed. It’s designed to provide useful information for both novice and experienced bird enthusiasts.

A companion to “National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America,” this new edition provides in-depth information on identification, similar species, geographic variation, population and range, plumage, taxonomy, behavior, voice call and status. Through more than 4,000 annotated illustrations by expert bird artists, 180 color photographs, hundreds of fully updated range and migration maps, and text by America’s top birding authorities, the book covers over 1,000 species. The range maps are augmented with a group of large-scale specialty maps that show migration routes, vagrancy patterns or historical data. There are over 800 maps in this edition.

Jonathan Alderfer is a field ornithologist, widely-published author and field guide illustrator. He is also  the editor of the new National Geographic Complete Birds of North America, now covering more than 1,000 species with the most detailed information found in a single volume.

From finches to pheasants, hawks to hummingbirds, sandpipers to screech owls, you will find what you’re looking for in nearly 750 pages in this information-rich volume, with full color on every page.

To hear our interview with Jonathan Alderfer, click on the grey podcast bar below:P\