Behind the Scenes with Becky Cattie and Tara Luebbe

Happy Book Birthday to Shark Nate-O! To celebrate this Fin-tastic book, we heard from authors (and sisters!) Becky Cattie and Tara Luebbe.  And for more Jawsome fun, check out the Shark Nate-O activity kit!

1.When did you first realize you wanted to be writers?

Tara: I owned a toy and book store for a few years and I always had ideas for picture books. But with three kids, a store, and a husband traveling, there was not enough time in the day to do it. It wasn’t until I closed the store and our family relocated to Charlotte, NC, that I decided to give writing a serious try. This was the fall of 2014.

Becky: I realized it by accident. Tara began writing picture books and sent her first one to me for feedback. I sent it back all marked up. So then Tara asked me if I wanted to do this with her.

2.How did you come up with the idea for Shark Nate-O?

Tara: The seed for Shark Nate-O came from a boy in my second grade class. He was obsessed with sharks and pretended to be one. He used to try to eat us at recess. He was just like Nate in the book, running after us with big chomping arms. I remembered this boy and thought that would be a funny book, but I didn’t have enough there to work with. When my own son, Nate, became obsessed with sharks, we went through a nonfiction reading phase of every shark book ever made. He began swim lessons at the same time. My brother, called him “Shark Nate-O”, and that was the lightening bolt and our title.

3.What’s your favorite part of Shark Nate-O?

Tara: I love the funny jokes hidden in the art, and the not-so-subtle Jaws jokes. Plus, I love the “Nate’s shark facts” section in the back.

Becky: My favorite art is when Nate thinks he is a “Great White wimp”, because you feel for him. We’ve all had moments where we thought something would be easy, and the frustration comes when it is not. When he gets his bite back, it is fun to root for him.

4.What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Tara: Well I “Müber” (mom uber) for my three boys and all their activities. I pretend to cook, and do laundry too.  If I have any free time, I read.

Becky: I have a day job as a manager at a recruiting firm, which takes up most of my time. In my free time I am the captain of my bowling team, eat a lot of sushi, and go to live theater.

5.What were your favorite books to read as child?

Tara: The Little Fish that Got Away by Bernadine Cook, and Crockett Johnson.

Becky: Morris’ Disappearing Bag by Rosemary Wells, and Pickle Chiffon Pie by Jolly Roger Bradford.