Have you met Mirabelle? Allow us to introduce you to the charismatic Boston Terrier who inspired a modern board book series — and her owner, Michael Muller. {Mr. Muller to those familiar with the series}. We caught up with Michael in an email interview to learn how the Mirabelle children’s book series developed, a typical day as a dog and owner twosome, what they’ll be up to in Baltimore this weekend (yes! you can meet Mirabelle this weekend!), and how the four legged cutie manages her fame.

In case you’re wondering, the fame question came from the Bug. I may need to chat with her sitter about what you tube videos she is watching…

Meet Mirabelle and Mr. Muller - (cool) progeny

We’re huge Mirabelle fans! How did the Mirabelle books come to be? {Surely there’s a good story there!}

As I always tell people, I give Mirabelle all the credit for the books. I use to make handmade books for the kids at Stone Robinson Elementary School where I worked for 14 years. I loved seeing the kids connect to the images I collaged in the books I made for them. It made me dream of one day becoming an author.

Reading has always been one of my favorite things to do in the world. I used to fill notebooks of ideas that I thought one day might become a book but nothing ever really came together from all those ideas. In 2006, my business partner gave Mirabelle to me as a Christmas present and something magical happened. She just turned on a creative light bulb inside me.

My business partner, Tom Boeke, and I owned a gallery in Rehoboth Beach called DETAIL when Mirabelle came into my life. She came to work with me everyday. I would spend time watching her and seeing how she experienced the world around her. I would take a break from my work duties and just spend time watching her watch the world. It made me think about life and how wonderful it is when you can stop and take moments to appreciate the simple things around you.

Mirabelle - (cool) progeny

One thing that we love about the Mirabelle books are the simple sophisticated graphics. What came first — the photography or the idea to create photographic collage illustrations?

My first degree is in Fine Art Photography. I went to school at the University of Florida and one very special teacher introduced me to the work of Joseph Cornell. I fell in love with his assemblage/collage work then and there. I have been experimenting in my work ever since with mixing photography and drawing. I love being able to invent my own worlds with actual pictures and filling in with my own drawing creations. It is really exciting to me when little kids point out that there are photographs in the books. I was really lucky when Raquel Jaramillo, children’s book editor at Workman Publishing discovered us and saw the potential in my work and how it would be intriguing to kids and adults.

The premise of the entire Mirabelle book collection is about finding adventure in every day life. What kind of adventures will you and Mirabelle be getting into in Charm City this weekend?

We are really excited because we will be at The Ivy Bookshop on Falls Road in Baltimore. We are having an Afternoon with Mirabelle with our old friends at the Ivy, Saturday at 1pm. They are an amazing independent bookstore in Baltimore. It is really cool because they were voted Best Baltimore Bookstore. The new owners, Ed and Ann Berlin have been working so hard to bring a wonderful assortment of literary events and authors to Baltimore at their wonderful store. We are lucky because they love Miss Mirabelle and support our book series. We are excited, too, because a portion of the event sales will go to help the Maryland SPCA on Falls Road. Mirabelle and I know what a lucky dog she is and so when we can do an event, have fun and give back to the local animal community through one of our events it makes the event even better. Plus, we love supporting independent bookstores.

Mirabelle Books - (cool) progeny

What’s a typical day in the life of Mr. Muller and Mirabelle?

Mirabelle and I have pretty simple days together unless we are out on the road telling people about her books. A typical day involves a good breakfast for both of us, followed by a walk to the park with her sister Amelia. Mirabelle pretty much is at my side most of the day. She has a bed right next to my desk in my office. I usually hear a small little snore throughout my day as I work or my I feel a little paw on my leg telling me it is time to take a break. I couldn’t be a luckier person to be able to have her at my side.

She does help me sometimes during the day do special pawprints that we send to fans when they ask for them for their books. Of course, Any trip into the yard or at the park gives me time to find inspiration through her view of the world. She is always up for exploring the world which always has the potential to turn into a book idea.

Our resident four-year-old (the Bug) would like to know how Mirabelle deals with fame?

Hey, Bug! I think Mirabelle is happy about her fame. She knows when we are going to visit people that want to meet her. I get out her red Mirabelle leash that we use for events and she seems to know we are going to do something special. She gets to be the famous Mirabelle when she is out in the book world but at home she gets to just be own silly self and roll around in stinky things in the grass and chase butterflies in the yard and play tug of war with her sister.

Follow-up to the fame question from the Bug: what’s Mirabelle’s favorite toy? And does she have any dog friends?

Mirabelle’s favorite toy right now is an old torn un-stuffed squirrel toy she carries around with her in the morning and the evenings. I call it baby time. She wanders around the house with her chewed on squirrel in her mouth and seems very happy in her journey to find a place to hid it.

What’s next for you and Mirabelle?

We are really excited because we are heading off to the Decatur Book Festival in GA in a few weeks. The lovely people at another great independent bookstore called Little Shop of Stories in Decatur GA invited us to be part of the big festival there. We will be doing a special presentation on the Children’s stage on Saturday of Labor Day weekend. Mirabelle is also going to have her own Mirabelle booth there so we can show off her new line of T-shirts and baby onesies and other fun new Mirabelle merchandise . Of course, Mirabelle will be helping me sign books, too.

Keep up with Mirabelle on her website, Adventures of Mirabelle. She also has a Facebook page, Twitter account, and YouTube channel. We hear rumors of a holiday book. But you know what they say about rumors… ;)

 
Image Credit: Images provided by Michael Muller and from The Adventures of Mirabelle website