Category Archives: Interviews

Interview with Rachel Arnow

Hi everyone!! Sorry we didn’t post last week, but we were in Yellowstone and there wasn’t any WiFi. This week I want to tell you about a cool interview I did awhile ago. As you probably know, I love manatees, so when I found out about Man versus Manatee I was ecstatic.  They are adorable comics about manatees, and they’re totally relatable. So I did an interview with Rachel Arnow, a recent college graduate and great artist, who puts up a new strip every Monday. I decided to post this interview now because we just saw Cali Perry (more on that next Monday), and she loves manatees, too, so it reminded me.


These comics are super fun to binge-read, or to read every Monday to help you ease into work (I always read the new one before I do blog work).
Rachel lives in Wisconsin, and she’s never seen a manatee (other than in videos)! So how did this comic come about? Here’s my interview:


Me: Why did you start to make Man versus Manatee?
Rachel: The origin of Man versus Manatee is a spontaneous one.  I did not always know what a manatee was, so after my friend Stephen described it to me only a few years ago, he helped me out by finding a good video for me.

The video is a young manatee nibbling a diver’s hand, and the level of adorable is almost too much to handle.  My thought after watching the video all the way through was, “This would make a great comic!”  So I made a three-panel comic that I named “Man versus Manatee.”  In effect, “Man versus Manatee” was just the name of that one comic.  But after showing it to my family and a few friends, I began to come up with new ideas out of the blue and couldn’t help drawing them out.  After four or five of them, my friends said, “You need to talk to Erty.”

Erty Seidohl is a sweet person who loves to help other people and has experience making his own webcomics.  So the general consensus was that Erty and I should get together to make Man versus Manatee into its own online comic series.  He is the proud webmaster of my comic, and to this day he handles anything outside of my realm of technical understanding and is my go-to person for any novel ideas that I have for Man versus Manatee.



Me: Have you always liked to draw?
Rachel: I am currently a studio art major and psychology minor at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin.  I have experience in silversmithing, ceramics, drawing and painting, and although I may not delve into process as much as many artists, I wholeheartedly enjoy the fulfillment of completing a body of work.  Man versus Manatee is a very odd and informal artistic endeavor for me, but it is also a welcome change of pace.


Me: What inspires your weekly comic?
Rachel: Each week, when pressed to come up with Monday’s comic idea, I am inspired by my interests in psychology, physics, art and biology, or some strange, random thing that a friend of mine does or reminds me of.  My friends’ personalities inevitably find their way into my weekly manatee world.


Me: Is there anything else you want to say?
Rachel: I think it’s important for people to know that I began Man versus Manatee after being inspired by only one encounter with the manatee, and that I continue to make the comic because the positive, humanlike attitude of the creature has the power to make people happier.  When I share my comic, I’m not sharing my art—I’m sharing the manatee.


P.S. The featured image (the one above the post) is Rachel’s first-ever Man vs Manatee comic!

Interview With Emma

A while ago, Lil and I were interviewed on Family Adventure Podcast by Emma and her dad Erik Hemingway. They went on a three-year sailing trip around much of the world. They’re back in the U.S. now, and they’re running Family Adventure Podcast.

The Hemingways have an interesting story. They saw 25 countries starting in Greece. The youngest brother was born abroad, and the oldest sibling, Maggie, met her fiance in Israel.

I did an interview with Emma about living on a boat for three years. Since we don’t have a podcast (maybe the next big project), I interviewed Emma with email so you can read it on a blog like this one. So since you can read it, why not start!

The Hemingways after crossing the Atlantic.

What was the start of the adventure? How did you get to Greece? Just give me the story.

Well…….. We actually lived in Costa Rica before for a year and a half  for my dad’s work. The boat trip was something my parents wanted to do since I was born, so when things started slowing down in Costa Rica for work we thought this is the prefect time…… I was 8 then and we looked at a lot of different boats online at different web sites. And we finally find one that we really liked.

So my just my dad flew to Greece to look at it. He came back and said that he liked it and thought it was perfect, so we all packed our bags and headed to Greece! Our fist time sailing with the boat was just going around the island, and it was really rough that day so we learned. It was trickier than what we were expecting, but we figured it out and got better as we went!

When did your family start the SevenSailors blog?

We started the SevenSailors blog in Greece at the beginning of our trip. I think it was in 2009. My dad just wanted to make a blog so our family could watch us, and it would be something to look back on and remember!

Did you ever end up in a big storm? What is that like?

We were in a really big storm once, in a bay in Turkey. It was pretty scary because we had to get off the boat and stay in a hotel because it was too rough! That was scary because we were just watching our boat bobbing all around, and we were worried our anchor would pull out!!

What are some of the best experiences you’ve had meeting friends while traveling?

I think I met the most friends on the boat just because I wasn’t shy. I just tried to talk to them even though we didn’t even speak the same language.

One girl I remember in particular was a German girl on a rental boat in Turkey. I said hi and asked if she wanted to play card games. She said she wanted to, and I went to her boat and played Matching and War. Then I asked her if she knew the card game “Go Fish” and she nodded and I started dealing the cards. Then she was at the door saying, “Come on.” And next thing I knew we went fishing off the dock!! So that was kind of funny!!! She didn’t quite understand I didn’t want to go fishing, I wanted to play “Go Fish!!”

Did you take bikes?

We did not take bikes. There wasn’t enough room on the boat. But in one marina we stayed at they had one of those folding bikes for sale that we bought, but it got rusty from all the moisture in the air and we had to throw it away after three months.

The boat is named Mehari; what does that mean?

We did not name the boat. It was already named, and we didn’t really care about changing it, so we just kept it. Mehari means “desert camel” in Arabic and “with pleasure” in Greek.  Our table inside had a desert camel on it.

What ages are your siblings?

My siblings are…..(and I’ll just tell you their current ages)

Maggie 20

Levi 19

Me (Emma) 14

Lily 10

Zoe 8

Miles 4

What was the inspiration behind Family Adventure Podcast?

The inspiration in Family Adventure Podcast was that my dad met a lot of people who wanted to travel but didn’t think they could. So my dad started Family Adventure Podcast to inspire people that they can do it!!

I downloaded the free photo ebook from your website; who took those pictures?

Maggie my sister did. She always had a good eye for photography.

Okay! Thank you, Emma, for answering these questions for me and being on this interview. And as for you, audience, thanks for reading this and downloading the free photo ebook of pictures taken all over the world by Emma’s sister Maggie (link here).  (All photo credits to Maggie)

emma witha starfish
Emma (left) in the Bahamas



Lillian Got Published In Asheville Flyer For Kids.

Lillian recently wrote a poem and submitted it to Asheville Flyer For Kids (that’s a link) and it got featured in the February issue. Here is a small interview I did with her about her recent taste with Flyer fame.

Me: “So, Lillian I hear you had a recent success in the poem industry; how did you feel when your poem was published?”

Lillian:” Well, I felt really excited. AFK gives away a free Asheville Flyer T-shirt when you are published, so I was happy about that.”

Me: “When did you learn you were a published author?”

Lillian: “I got an email in January saying that they would put my poem in the very next issue.”

Me: ‘Do you feel that this recent brush with fame has changed you?”

Lillian: “It has inspired me to try to write articles for some magazines.”

Me: “Do you think you will keep writing poems in the future?”

Lillian: “Definitely.”

Me: “What’s next for your writing career?”

Lillian: “I’ve been working on a book about manatees, similar to The Brief Beach Book.”

Me: “Thank you Lillian, I will be watching for your new book.”


asheville kids page