Spotlights & Interviews

The Creative Women Who Inspire Us

In August I read an article that made me wonder how many female protagonists were in our picture book collection. After reviewing every book in our house, I ordered a dozen books on Amazon to bring up our female character count.

One of the happiest additions to our collection was Molly Idle’s Flora series. These are wordless stories about a girl, Flora, and her interactions with different animals. It’s obvious that Molly Idle is exceptionally talented; in 2014 her book Flora and the Flamingo was nominated for a Caldecott Medal. Truly, each illustration is beautiful and sweet in its own right, but I am most impressed by her storytelling.

My son’s favorite story right now is Flora and the Penguin. I find it incredibly inspiring that such a poignant story about friendship and forgiveness can be told only through a series of simple illustrations — no music, no motion, no language. Maybe it’s because we’ve read it a thousand times, but I have a lot of time to think about how my actions might impact other people, and what I can do (and not just say) to apologize.

There are three books in the Flora series, and I can’t wait for the next one.


When I think of a creative woman I admire, Tonya Vistaunet pops into my head. Colorful, clever, delightful, fun, generous, talented and kind.

I first met her a few years ago at a local music venue. We were there supporting one of our favorite local bands, ‘Fictionist’ at their album release party. I instantly liked her. Her smile radiates warmth and goodness. We became instagram friends.

Tonya is a woman of many talents but spends much of her creative energies as a painter and colorist. She collaborates often with her husband Steve who is a graphic arts designer/illustrator. They make a fantastic team and have recently released their 3rd coloring book. In fact, they started hosting coloring parties at their home a few years back and the idea for these books evolved I believe from those experiences.

Tonya and her husband have raised three lovely daughters and are now the proud grandparents of three darling grandsons.

Her energy, enthusiasm and support for the local art and music scene is contagious. I could share much more, but I’m hoping you’ll be able to land a future interview with her where she can share her personal creative insights. I think your readers would really fall in love with her. You can visit her instagram account @tonyavista and she and Steve’s website 


Miranda Hart is, by far, one of my absolute most favorite creative women.  My mom, sister, and I discovered this comedic gem when we visited London in 2010.  We had just returned to our hotel after a long day and we turned on the TV to see if we could find anything interesting.  We ended up watching a show called “Miranda” and couldn’t stop watching.  Fortunately for us, a few episodes were playing in a row that night.  We were crying with laughter.  Miranda Hart wrote and starred in each of the episodes as a fictional version of herself.  She published a hilarious book in 2013 and her newest book has just been released in the UK (thank goodness for Amazon UK).

I have admired Miranda’s ability to remain herself – despite fame – to not feel obligated or forced to change her look or style in order to obtain more success.  People love her for her authenticity. 


My friend Julie Gillrie has an etsy shop where she sells instructions for the most amazing quiet books. She has five books: Harry Potter and the Quiet Book, The Quiet Book and the Ring, My Jedi Quiet Book, The Avengers Save the Quiet Book, and My Star Trek Quiet Book.

And — I swear this is true — Lavar Burton tweeted out her Star Trek Quiet Book.

But that’s not what impresses me most about Julie. She makes everyone around her feel loved. I have been in awe of this gift from the day we met because I have a similar/totally opposite gift where I can make everyone around me feel unbearably awkward.

I’m also so impressed that she had the motivation and creativity to generate a passive source of income. Each book is charming and clever, and it’s easy to see how much thought went into the details on every page. Plenty of people can back me up on this, she’s literally sold thousands of instructions. Most importantly, her instructions empower people who would otherwise not be creating (e.g. ME).


A creative woman that has inspired me is Sara Bareilles. Since I am also a singer/songwriter, I identify closely with many of her past struggles & goals in her career pursuit. She is someone that has had an illustrious career that she should be very proud of. She’s faced the struggles of the music industry telling her how to be & who to be but she rose above that. She did it her way & I strongly admire that. Her music is raw and real & so relatable to many. She is a favorite lyricist and storyteller of mine and her work inspires me to work harder at my craft. She also just wrote a Broadway musical, which is a whole feat of its own. I love that she has gifted the world with her talents and that I’ve been able to grow as an artist from being touched by her organically crafted music.


A creative woman who I find inspiring is Canadian actress, Tatiana Maslany.  If anything, Tatiana’s diverse range of empowering women she has portrayed have reminded me that there’s room for those kind of incredible stories in the media. She is a very generous and selfless person with such a strong passion for what she does. Despite the recognition she has received for her work, she continues to be humble, and even uses her publicity to be outspoken about issues that matter to her. I’m grateful for the influence her roles have had on my life


Who are the creative women that inspire you?  Share your thoughts in the comments below.


2 thoughts on “The Creative Women Who Inspire Us

  1. Brittney,
    I loved your comments on Molly Idle. I too love her Flora books. This summer I got the delightful opportunity to meet and converse with her at a children’s book symposium. She is fabulous, funny and has a fantastic laugh! And she autographed my books:) Lucky me!

    Liked by 1 person

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