The Luckiest Bear (Author Interview)

What inspired you to create the character of Beanie the bear?

When I had children, I wanted to create a means of conveying some of life’s most important lessons in a manner that is relatable to developing minds. That desire led me to a bear with a fun and simple name to pronounce. My youngest son used to call my oldest son Beanie because he could not pronounce his actual name.

There's a lot of mystery surrounding Beanie's 'effortless' accomplishments. How did you navigate the line between making his successes believable and maintaining an element of surprise for the readers?

I think the illustrations play a large part in showing Beane’s athleticism and stature. Bears are naturally a larger animal which lends itself to having a more athletic prowess. We also added overalls as Benie’s attire which is typically associated with hard working occupations such as mechanics or farmers.

What do you hope readers will take away from Beanie’s story, particularly in terms of what it means to be "lucky"?

There can be an element of luck in any given situation, but it will only account for a small amount of a desired outcome. Most often what determines success or failure is hard work and preparation.

The title "The Luckiest Bear" implies a deeper theme regarding fortune and fate. How do you personally define luck, and how did that influence the book?

I personally believe in luck or chance and that it has an impact on our lives, but I believe that impact occurs in the margins of what makes individuals excel. I also believe through hard work, persistence, intelligence and other attributes that can be developed, we have the ability to shrink those margins so that luck becomes less necessary to achieve success.

Beanie's hidden attribute is a significant aspect of the narrative. Without giving too much away, can you explain why you felt it was necessary for him to have this secret?

We only really get to observe our athletes or composers or scientists at the moments of their successes without fully understanding the hard work and sacrifices they had to make for those achievements.

Did you draw from any personal experiences or stories you've heard in real life when developing Beanie's journey?

I was fortunate enough to participate in college athletics and gain an understanding of how much effort goes into being successful. When you’re on the track, court, field or any other stage are the fun times that everyone gets to see but there are also countless hours of preparation that goes into every minute in the spotlight.

How did you go about developing the supporting characters in the story, and how do they highlight or challenge Beanie’s unique abilities?

A lemur is a lesser known animal that I could introduce to some young children and it also served to contrast Beanie’s natural size as a bear. The characteristics of Lilly being both curious and loyal are attributes of many successful individuals and demonstrate that there are many avenues to and definitions of success.

Luck and effort often seem to be at odds with each other in society's perception. What's your take on this, based on Beanie's story?

I view the juxtaposition of luck and effort as a finite spectrum of achievement in that the more effort or work that goes into a task the less luck you will need for success, and vice a versa.

Children's books often have underlying messages or moral lessons. What would you say is the core message of "The Luckiest Bear"?

I based this book on one of my favourite quotes from Thomas Jefferson; “I am a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more of it I have.”

Are there any plans to continue Beanie’s story in future books or explore the world you've created in different ways?

Beanie, with the addition of new characters, will be returning in subsequent books that highlight other positive attributes and life lessons using kid-friendly, relatable situations.