The Creators

Q&A with Kate, Alison, and Tony

What was the idea behind Bink & Gollie, and what was the creation process like? How did the collaboration among the three of you work?

Alison: The collaboration was first between Kate and me. We wanted to try to write a book together. Neither of us had done anything like that, neither of us are big team players, and neither of us had any idea how to begin. We sat together in my room and looked at each other, then decided to throw an object out there (not literally). What was the object? A sock. And it went from there. Tony came into the process when the words were finished, and he added his personal brand of visual magic. Thanks to him, I finally knew what the girls looked like.

Kate: Where things begin is always hard for me to pinpoint, but I think Alison and I were kicking around an idea for a story about a short girl and a tall girl, and then we were e-mailing possible names back and forth. When we hit on Bink and Gollie, it opened a door. The names just sounded right. And the stories followed.

Tony: I came along after the text was complete. I wanted to get a flavor of the girls without doing a direct caricature of them. I had some references of Kate and Alison collected from the internet, and they were kind enough to send me a picture of them as kids. I stole a fun pose from a Today show clip of Alison sitting quite comfortably on a couch while being interviewed. You can see it in the book (page 18) when Gollie’s at home enjoying some lemonade.

Where did the names Bink and Gollie come from?

Alison: Kate came up with Bink, I believe, and it seemed exactly right from the start. Gollie . . . Lord knows. At first we spelled it Golly, but that seemed weird, and I kept thinking of pollywogs, so we changed it to Gollie, which for no obvious reason solved the pollywog problem, if not the weirdness.

Kate: We made the names up. They made us laugh. And the story is the oldest story, the best story, the story of a friendship.

Is there a certain line or image in the book that makes you laugh out loud? Why?

Alison: “The finger has spoken.” This book was a true collaboration in every sense except for two specific lines, this being one of them. Kate came up with it. It just popped out of her mouth, and I laughed so hard. And I still laugh whenever I read it.

Kate: The image of Bink standing in front of Gollie’s door, reading the sign, completely baffled by Gollie’s absence. That gets me every time.

Tony: “What does implore mean?”

Have you ever acquired a remarkable pet?

Alison: Indeed I have. Many, many of them. In fact, I’m looking at two remarkable pets as I type this: Hobbes the Cat and Pete the High-Strung Dog.

Kate: I have adopted many remarkable pets. None of them as remarkable as Fred, however. What a fish!

Tony: Kahlua the Chihuahua. He’s doing great at nineteen years old. I just need to get him one of those big ear horns.