Meet Zoë Tucker – Author & Picture Book Maker!

“She was a pioneer, pushing against barriers and social norm to engage in subjects that inspired and interested her.” Zoë Tucker on Ada Lovelace.

NSB: What drew you to the story of Ada Lovelace?

ZT: I wrote the story of Ada Lovelace on the suggestion of a friend. We both teach an online course in illustration and I am constantly on the lookout for fresh ideas to get students drawing. After researching the life of Ada Lovelace I felt so inspired, she was an amazing woman! She was a pioneer, pushing against barriers and social norm to engage in subjects that inspired and interested her.

I roped in the help of my Dad, who studied computer science and worked as a computer programmer. He proof read all my ideas and encouraged me with a few elements. (I think after all these years he was very excited that I wanted to hear more about his subject!)

Here is a picture of the illustrator, Rachel Katstaller and I, when we started work on the project in 2017. Rachel lives in Austria and I’m in the UK, so NordSüd arranged for us to meet in Zurich at their office. It was great fun!

NSB: You also work as a book designer in London, but this is your debut as an author!

ZT: Yes, that’s right. I studied graphic design at university and was lucky enough to find a position at Random House Children’s Books UK as soon as I graduated. Over the last 20 years I have worked on lots of different projects from baby board books up to YA fiction. I now work specialize in picture books, working closely with illustrators to help them craft a story. I love this area of publishing — each story is different, and each artist is different and the combination of the two makes each book completely unique. You never quite know how it’s going to come together, but when it does, it’s like magic!

NSB: Could you tell us a bit about where you work?

ZT: I work in a shared studio in the heart of Brighton. I LOVE my studio, and feel very lucky to spend my days surrounded by inspiring, intelligent women — we’re a power house of creativity! There are 9 of us in total, including a jeweler, a screen-printer, a costumer designer, several illustrators, a textile designer and an art agent. Oh and there’s Frida the dog too! It’s always lively, fun and sometimes a little bit noisy.

When I need to write I head to Brighton beach, or a local cafe for a bit of quiet focus. The best cafes have great views, good coffee and no wifi — too distracting!

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