I’ve had this blog post scheduled for a while. Long before the chaos of COVID-19 hit. I debated if we should hold off, but after talking to Wendy, we both feel the world needs some non-COVID-19 things to talk about and enjoy. Wendy is so fun, and I hope you enjoy this fabulous interview!
Today is going to be awesome! I’m so excited to have Wendy McLeod MacKnight here on my blog!
Wendy is the author of THREE amazing Middle Grade novels: It’s a Mystery, Pig Face! (Sky Pony Press, 2017), The Frame-Up (Greenwillow Books, 2018), and her most recent release The Copycat (Greenwillow Books, 2020), which came out last week!
Wendy and I met as middle grade authors through the debut group the Sweet Sixteens, and bonded over kindred-spirit characters. When I was on the hunt for a new agent, a happy twist of fate landed me with Wendy’s, and I’m just thrilled to have an excuse to ask all the questions and to get to know her, and her latest book, even better!
I’m just going to jump right in, but as always, I’ll be in green bold.
Thanks Janet! I’m going to try and explain the concept without any spoilers! THE COPYCAT tells the story of Ali Sloane, whose family has moved WAY too many times during her short twelve years. To survive all these new schools, Ali has learned to adapt; whatever the popular kids are doing, so is she. When she and her parents move to Saint John to live with her great-grandmother, Ali hopes that she can finally set down roots and make real friends. But it isn’t easy to be yourself when you’re not sure who yourself really is. Throw in a family feud and a mysterious fog and things get way more complicated for Ali!
A family feud and mysterious fog are sure-fire ways to complicate anyone’s life! I love it! So what inspired you to write THE COPYCAT?
My own life! I moved five times before I was sixteen, twice between the time I was fourteen and sixteen years old. The last two moves were incredibly hard, and I struggled. I was so lonely, and to make friends, I would try hard to be like them instead of myself. It was painful, and I definitely wanted to write about how hard it can be to be your authentic self when you’re just trying to survive socially.
I knew the book had to be set in Saint John, New Brunswick because a) the fog is really something; b) it’s such a cool port city; and c) the character of Gigi is (very) loosely based on my grandmother, Huia Ryder, who was a force of nature, and from who I inherited my love of all things gaudy and sparkly!
I think you nailed how painful it is when you’re trying to be just like everyone else, and it just isn’t you. This idea of being true to yourself is a major theme in your book. Did you ever struggle with fitting in as a kid?
Um, see above! Honestly? I am a total goofball and people pleaser, so it was hard to find my people sometimes. But I’m also totally lucky: my best friends from grade one are still my friends, and the group of friends I acquired after our last move are still my friends. But I have no idea where any of the kids are that I befriended when I was fourteen, so that kind of tells you that they were never real friends, and the first batch of friends I made in Fredericton didn’t totally stick either.
I’m a people-pleaser, too. I totally get that. (And the goofball bit is probably why we get along so well!). Not all childhood friends stick, but I’m always amazed that the best ones keep coming back, even after years of separation.
So now that you have all kinds of wisdom and hind-sight, what advice would your adult self give to your past self?
Advice? I was a sensitive, drama-prone romantic who felt awkward a lot of the time. I’d love to tell younger me to hang in there and be true to herself, but I don’t think she’d believe me. I’d also tell her to keep believing in magic. That I think she’d believe.
Haha! Yeah, I didn’t believe the adults much either, but they were right. And amen about the magic!
Taking a little turn here . . . one of the things I loved about your book were all of the side notes, like “Ali’s List of Schools (So Far).” I am a BIG fan of lists. Did you include these with the original manuscript? How did these become a thing? (Which I’m so glad they did!)
I love lists, too! Those lists were always there, though I think my agent, Lauren Galit, really encouraged me to go for them!
She’s a wise one!
The lists were a shorthand way to impart information, but they were also a way to give the reader a sense of how much Ali tries to control things in a world in which she has very little control. She loves her parents, but the moves are painful for Ali, and they’ve caused a huge amount of bitterness. I didn’t want to shy away from that; when we moved, I was furious with my dad for months. I basically left the Pig Face neighborhood and had no friends for months and it was awful. Later, I got that my dad had no choice, but when you’re a kid, you don’t think of your parents as sometimes being helpless.
So true! And then it’s a shock when you become an adult and realize the truth, that we’re all just doing our best. But I love that you let Ali express her bitterness, because it’s HARD being a kid, and having to deal with the consequences of choices we didn’t make.
So let’s talk characters! I know this is a cruel question, but do you have a favorite character from your book? I’m kind of partial to Alfie with his cool British accent, and mysterious life. And I love how important family is to him. I think we would have been friends.
I love Alfie. I’m kind of partial to Gigi, who is (very) loosely based on my grandmother. In the end though, I think I love Digger best, because he really is trying, despite all of his pain!
Putting bits from people we love into our characters is one of the best parts of being an author! And isn’t it interesting how we love the characters who hurt the worst? I feel the same way about my own characters.
Okay, you know I have to ask. If you were a Copycat, what would be your favorite thing to turn into?
In no particular order: A goldfinch, Batgirl, Amal Clooney, and Adele.
Gah! I really want to know why on all of these . . . okay, except Adele, because she’s AMAZING . . . but that might be a long detour, so I’m letting you off the hook. But fascinating answers!
Okay, I would love to learn more about you! Being an author is a second career for you. Can you tell us about your past life, and also, why you decided to become an author (and particularly a middle grade one!)?
In my past life, I worked for the Government of New Brunswick, and ended my career in charge of the Department of Education. All of my positions in government were about supporting children or vulnerable people, and it was so rewarding.
I decided to become an author when I was eight or nine years old, and that desire never wavered. Finally, I got up the courage to try! I only ever wanted to write middle grade fiction, because the books I read when I was that age are the books that have stuck with me for my entire life. They’re the books I read over and over. It’s such a magical time of life for reading and it’s a privilege to write for middle grade readers!
Amen, my friend! It is a huge privilege. Anything else you want to share? Random facts, things that are important to know about you . . .
Other things about me: Sapphire is my favourite colour, I’d walk for hours for a piece of chocolate cake with seven-minute frosting, I feed every kind of critter (although raccoons are my favourite), I adore science fiction TV series and movies, consider Jaws the perfect movie, am petitioning to adopt Baby Yoda, and never turn down cheese.
You Canadians are so cute the way you spell ‘favorite’! I love it! (haha!) And this is a wild coincidence, but when I went to Canada last year, I came face to face with a raccoon. I think it wanted me to feed it. Maybe it was one of yours! But oy, on Jaws. I saw it when I was super young in the theaters, and that movie still gives me nightmares. I’m a total wimp.
Are you ready for this next bit? Speed round!
Cadbury vs. Hershey’s?
Cadbury! Canada is a Commonwealth Country!
PB&J vs. mac & cheese?
I’m allergic to nuts, so mac ‘n cheese all the way!
Christopher Robin. He always suspects he’s going to grow up and he sucks the marrow out of his time in the hundred-acre wood. Fortunately for me, I haven’t grown up yet!
Campfire & S’mores vs. Symphony & Crème Brûlée?
Definitely campfire and s’mores. But if I can eat Crème Brûlée at a café in Paris, I’m there!
What?! I had Crème Brûlée at a café in Paris just last week, and you totally weren’t there. I now feel cheated. And that is bad news on the nuts! But when you come visit, I will forgo my usual PB&J and whip you up some mac ‘n’ cheese. 😊
Okay, final question. License Plates. I always have to ask. What would Ali’s personalized license plate be if she were old enough to drive? You have 8 letters, and GO! (P.S. do you have personalized plated in Canada?)
We sure do have personalized license plates in Canada!
Hmmm, I think Ali would go with FAMILY. Corny, but true!
I don’t mind corny! I mean, aren’t all personalized license plates just a little bit corny? As they should be. Thank you so much for indulging all my questions and visiting us here on the blog! And wishing all the best for you and THE COPYCAT!
Thank you so much for asking me to visit your blog, Janet! I am a huge Janet Sumner Johnson fan!
Awww, get on with you. 😌💓
As for the rest of you, thanks so much for stopping in and reading! You can find all the links for following Wendy on social media below, as well as links for where you can get your own copy of THE COPYCAT!
Wendy McLeod MacKnight grew up in a small town with a library card as her most prized possession. She is the author of three middle grade novels: It’s a Mystery, Pig Face! (Sky Pony Press), The Frame-Up (a fantasy that asks “What if every original piece of art is actually alive?”) and The Copycat (both from Greenwillow Books). In her spare time, she gardens, hangs with her family and friends, and feeds raccoons.
Hello, friends! I know it is a Tuesday, and I am not normally here on the blog, but this week is special, being the lead-up to the release of my upcoming picture book, HELP WANTED, MUST LOVE BOOKS (illustrated by Courtney Dawson).
This week I’m sharing 5 Lost Resumes from characters who both did and didn’t make it into my story. I hope you enjoyed Snow White’s Lost Resume from yesterday. If not, you can find it HERE. Today we are moving on to Lost Resume #2: Captain Hook!
I really liked this resume. The tricky part on this one was that I needed to be careful not to confuse the Captain Hook character from J.M. Barrie’s book, with the one from the Disney movie. As such, I was forced into the extra work of reading the original PETER PAN (sometimes an author’s job is tough,* but as a professional, one carries on).
The reason this resume was not included,** is because after I sent in the eight resumes for consideration, I was asked to replace another character in the book. They felt the original character was too controversial for schools.
Can you guess who that character might be? I’ll give you a hint. It involved hygiene, and it was a male character. (I’m going to be honest here, I don’t think you’ll guess who it was! 😂) Anyway, Captain Hook became the replacement. Since we wanted resumes from characters who were not already in the book, the resume fell out of the running.
Yesterday, I said I might tell you who Snow White (and the 7 Dwarves) replaced, but since no one parried a guess, I will hold off until the end of the week. I gave no hint yesterday, but I’ll give one today. She replaced someone who also brought along a group, and who was in a nursery rhyme instead of a fairy tale. (My hints don’t make it easy, do they? 😂)
Have a wonderful week! And be sure to come back tomorrow when I share Lost Resume #3! In the meantime, don’t forget to enter my giveaway for a chance to win a copy of my book, and a copy of a book by one of my fellow Debut Crew members!
If you don’t want to wait, and just want to pre-order a copy of my book (I can hardly blame you for that!), you can find it on bookshop.org, which helps support local indie bookstores. Or if you don’t have a local indie, you can always find it on Amazon or B&N.
*I’m kidding, this part of the job is not tough at all. I LOVE when I’m forced to read a good book. 😉
**Well, one major reason, anyway . . . I don’t actually know all the reasons my publisher chose the four they did. I can only guess.
I’ve always said that one of the best part about being an author is meeting other authors and getting to read their books and stories (sometimes a little early!).
With my own picture book coming out in 2020, I was fortunate to meet several other debut picture book authors. One of them is Aya Khalil. Her book THE ARABIC QUILT: An Immigration Story, illustrated by Anait Semirdzhyan, releases February 18th.
I got to read her book in advance, and am so excited to have her on my blog today. So please welcome Aya Khalil! (As always, I’ll be in bolded green text.)
Hi! Thanks for having me.
I’d love to learn more about you. Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Sure, I am a freelance journalist and educator with my debut picture book coming out in February. I live in Northwest Ohio with my three children and husband.
Wow, three jobs (counting author)! That is not easy, especially with kids. And huge congratulations on your book. I’m so excited for it’s release. Please tell us about it.
My book is about a beautiful girl named Kanzi who recently immigrated to the US from Egypt. She tries so hard to fit in but the teasing really gets to her. With the help of her teacher and mom, she learns to appreciate her language and culture.
It’s so hard to remember what’s important when you’re young . . . especially in the face of teasing. I loved that Kanzi had so many supportive adults in her life. Kids need that! I’d love to know what inspired you to write The Arabic Quilt: An Immigrant Story.
My picture book is based on true stories growing up as an immigrant. I moved to the US when I was one with my parents and brother. We attended a mostly all-white school in a rural town in North Dakota. We had incredible teachers there and especially this one teacher who thought of this lesson one day. She asked me, with the help of my mom, to write down our classmates’ names in Arabic. My classmates thought their names in Arabic were so cool! So they each copied their names on their own and the teacher hung them up as a quilt. This happened over 20 years ago and just comes to show how powerful teachers can be, especially to their minority students.
What a lovely and inclusive lesson plan! Teachers have such an influence and can do so much good. And I love that you used your own life stories to inspire you. What advice would you give to beginning writers about finding ideas?
Write down ideas all the time! Whether it’s a blog or even on your Notes app, write down encounters or situations. Maybe you will end up making it into a book some day.
Great advice! You never know what might inspire a story.
Above you mentioned you do freelance journalism. Have you always wanted to write? And how did you get into writing picture books?
I read to my kids often and used to review picture books and I always thought it would be so neat to get my words out there to young children. With my background in journalism my published work was usually geared towards adults.
Well, I’m so glad you took the plunge! The Arabic Quilt is a beautiful story that will no doubt resonate with a lot of kids!
As a new author what is the most surprising thing you’ve learned about being an author?
That it takes A LONG TIME! I was always so used to the fast-paced world of journalism and quick responses and quick edits and quick publishing times! Ha! That’s not always the case in the picture book industry.
Haha! No, it is not. Such a stark contrast between the two industries. Patience is definitely needed for the book publishing world.
Okay, one last question. Here on my blog, I have a fascination for personalized license plates. What do you think Kanzi would put on her license plate (even though she’s definitely too young to drive!)?
QuiltTheHate (Like quit the hate but with the word quilt instead)
How perfect! And I’m guessing that after your book releases, there will be a lot of classes making their own quilts, just like Kanzi’s class.
Thank you again for stopping in and answering some questions!
Thank you so much for asking these great questions!
Best wishes for your book! And to all my readers, please find Aya’s social media links below, as well as links for where you can get your own copy of THE ARABIC QUILT!
Aya Khalil is a freelance journalist and educator. She holds a master’s degree in Education with a focus in Teaching English as a Second Language. THE ARABIC QUILT is based on true events growing up, when she moved to the US from EGYPT at the age of one. Her articles have been published in The Huffington Post, The Christian Science Monitor, The Post & Courier, Toledo Area Parent, and more. She’s been featured in Yahoo!, Teen Vogue, Verona and more. www.ayakhalil.com
Over the holiday break, my boys and I had a chance to do some rock climbing on a climbing wall. You pull on the harness. They clip you in. You choose “Easy,” “Medium,” or “Hard.” And off you go.
It sounds so simple, and really, the wall isn’t that high. But about halfway up, I caught a glimpse of the down. I had to refocus myself on simply finding the next handhold. Conquering my fears one step at a time.
Now, I knew he was safe. He was buckled in. The rope and mechanisms would catch him if he fell. I’d already done it myself, and I knew he could do it.
So I called to him, “Keep going! You’re almost there. You can do this!”
That is too hard for you.
You should stick to what you know.
But those are lies. If we refocus ourselves, take things one step at a time, and stop thinking about those fears, we can conquer them! Maybe not on our first try, but if we keep trying, it will happen.
Sometimes we need outside support, and that’s okay! That’s why you should surround yourself with people who build you up. People who believe in you. People who can see things from a different perspective. Find those people! Search them out, then hold them close. I know it’s made a huge difference in my life.
Conquering fears is hard. It can be scary. It can take time. LOTS of it! But I tell you what, that feeling you get when you finally make it is worth it.
You ARE good enough!
Nothing is too hard if you’re determined.
Learning new things is amazing!
What fears are you hoping to conquer?
We decorate a fake tree every year, and we collect ornaments everywhere we travel to remind us of all our adventures.I will be busy spending time with my family for the rest of December, so I won’t be posting here on my blog until January. My family celebrates Christmas, and here are some of our traditions:
I’d love it if you’d share about the holiday you celebrate, and any special traditions you have!
Many moons ago, I was at an auction to raise money for some youth camps. One of the offerings was an animated image done by Ira Baker (who happens to be THE GUY who works with Sandra Boynton on her very fabulous videos). Cool right??!
Well, at that time, I did not have a book out. I had a very recent book deal, but for middle grade. I didn’t see how I could use this offering, but my husband is a visionary. Without telling me, he bid on it and won.Ira and I chatted about ways I could use it, but I just didn’t have the right project, and he very kindly let me put it on hold. Fast forward five years (yes, FIVE), and I finally had the perfect images from HELP WANTED, MUST LOVE BOOKS, my upcoming picture book.
He was brilliant!
I think I watched the clip he sent for a good half-hour on repeat. And guess what??! Not only will I be sharing that clip with you, today, but when I learned Ira also does book trailers for other authors, I convinced him to answer some questions about computer animation, book trailers, and more.
On to the interview! (Like usual, I’m the one in bold green type.)
How did you get started working with computer animation?
I enjoyed animation as a child but never thought it could actually be a career path for me. However, I was very into making videos which eventually led me to the BYU film department. While there, I tried to get exposure to all aspects of filmmaking, and even became proficient in 3D animation. I was struck by how I could tell a story all by myself, and that story would be a simpler and “purer” representation of my ideas than I could achieve in live action. After college I went on to have a career as a video editor, but it was my new ability to create imagery through animation that proved to be the most valued skill to my clients. After a few years, I realized that I was rushing through my edits just so I could get to “the fun stuff.” I wondered “why can’t I do the ‘fun stuff’ all the time?” So I made a few tweaks to my career path and became a full-time animator.
I love that you figured it out and made changes. So tell us more about the “fun stuff.” What is your favorite project that you’ve gotten to work on?
Sandra Boynton’s TYRANNOSAURUS FUNK – Sung by Samuel L. Jackson.
Okay, I may have watched this video two or twenty times. I love Tyrannosaurus Funk so much! Samuel L. Jackson is amazing. His voice!! And wow, Sandra Boynton is a brilliant writer. How cool is it that you’ve worked with Sandra Boynton on so many projects! How did you get that gig?
I worked for a time with a company in Provo called Kaleidoscope Pictures who handled the film production for Franklin Covey. Kaleidoscope wanted to use a song that Sandra had written to illustrate one of the Seven Principles. I was the only person on staff at the time that had any animation experience, so the whole production fell on my shoulders. For one whole gloriously creative month, I lived and breathed 2D animation and became forever enamored with it’s aesthetic and charm. When the animation was finished, we all held our breath and waited for Sandra’s approval. She loved it! After a few years she wanted to do some animated projects herself and she called me up. We’ve been working together ever since.
Talk about being in the right place at the right time. I think it’s so inspiring to see how giving something your best can lead to opportunities you never could have foreseen.
So I’d love to know more about the process of making a book trailer. When you work with an author to create a book trailer, how does the collaboration work? Does the author plan it, and then you carry it out? Do you help coordinate the content? Or something totally different? Tell us about it!
Sometimes the author has very specific ideas, sometimes I’m given more free reign to tell the story as I see it. There’s no right way to do it as long as we’re both proud of the end result. The important thing is to keep the author constantly informed of my progress and showing him/her everything as it is finished.
Communication is so important! It makes all the difference. So how much new art do you have to create for a book trailer?
Usually the animation is based on the book illustrations, because that’s all that exists. I go through a lot of Photoshop work separating the characters from the background and then breaking the characters down into layers that can be individually moved. After that, I rig the characters so they can go through the full range of motions and/or expressions that each scene demands.
I usually approach each illustration as a frozen moment in time and ask myself “what events brought these characters to this exact moment in time?” and “what happens immediately after this moment?” Then I make the characters do what those answers suggest; always trying to infuse as much charm, personality and storytelling into the process. If the author and I disagree, I will make adjustments until the author is happy with the result.
So fascinating! As an author, I ask a lot of those same questions when writing. Story is so important. I love that it’s at the heart of a good book trailer.
What advice do you have for any future computer animators out there?
There are so many resources available now that I never had! You can take courses online and watch free tutorials on YouTube if the college route is not for you. The secret is to find a story to tell and then start making animation right away! Even if you don’t fully understand the software, you can learn quickly as you go if you are passionate about your ideas.
Where can authors contact you if they are interested in having you create a book trailer for them?
You can email me at email@example.com or follow me on instagram @iratheanimator.
Thank you so much for your time! Computer animation is such an interesting field, and I’ve really enjoyed learning more about what you do and especially how it connects to books and stories.
Hi all! I hope you had a lovely weekend and Thanksgiving. Today, I’m in the hot seat over at Melissa Roske’s blog as part of her Ask the Author series.
If you haven’t visited before, definitely check it out! She uses the Proust Questionnaire, and some of those questions are hard! It’s so fascinating to see how authors respond. And to try to figure out how YOU would respond.
In fact, if you want to come back and tell me how you would respond to any particular question, I would love that. Put yourself in the hot seat!
Have a lovely week, and be sure to come visit next Monday, December 9th. I’ll be interviewing Ira Baker, the computer animator who works with Sandra Boynton on her super fun videos. He also does book trailers. So excited to have him stop in!
(just a beautiful picture of the Tetons to send you on your way to making it a wonderful week)
Happy Thanksgiving to you all! The United States celebrates Thanksgiving on the 4th Thursday of the month (which means we’re never certain when it is without a calendar), which happens to fall on November 28th this year.
That said, Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to consider all the things we are grateful for. Gratitude is something we don’t seem to have enough of in this world, so here are my top five things I’m grateful for:
1. My family.
(These people are my rock. They are there for me in all the best and worst and mediocre-est moments of my life. I would be lost without them).
2. A book coming out next year.
(I don’t take this for granted at all. Getting a book published is tough. No matter what road you take. And heck, even writing one is a BIG DEAL! So much gratitude that I’m in a position I can both write them, and have the opportunity to have one published.)
3. My faith in God, and my beliefs.
(I don’t talk about this much here on my blog, but my beliefs are my compass. They give me direction, and I’m who I am because of them.)
4. My friends
(IRL ones, writing ones, social media ones, ALL OF YOU! Wish I had a big picture with you all in it, but I don’t. Sorry if you aren’t shown, I still love you and am grateful for you!)
(Whoever invented them, THANK YOU!)
Happy Thanksgiving! And please tell me what you are grateful for! I’d love to hear. 🙂
License Plates! I can’t get enough of them. And I know I just yammered on about them a few weeks ago, but I’ve stumbled across two more personalized plates that are just BEGGING to be discussed. Villainous License Plates. (Dun, dun, DUNNN!)
I need to hear your thoughts, because stories are filling my head. What kind of people come up with these??! What kind of people want these to be their introduction to all the strangers they meet on the road? It’s a fascinating thought!
First up we have VILNMKR
In case you aren’t sure what that says, I read that as VILLAIN MAKER. Now, of course, I could be totally wrong. Maybe someone’s last name is Viln. BUT, I’m sticking to my story that it is VILLAIN MAKER.
So what do you think? Parents who worry they’ll mess their kids up? A writer who just loves writing villains? An illustrator who loves drawing villians? Or is it more diabolical than that? Maybe it’s an evil scientist with a plot to take over the world. Maybe this is really the Joker’s car!!! So many fun possibilities!
Next up goes perfectly with that first one: MMWHAHA
So awesome!! Maybe this is the second car of the person up above. Or maybe it belongs to someone who just likes to laugh evilly in the face of other’s struggles. In fact, they like it so much, they paid extra to be able to laugh at all the strangers they pass on the road.
Come to think of it, I found this car parked at my son’s school. Should I be worried? Maybe we have a stereotypical principal at his school living out the evil school principal trope. Or maybe he’s just living it vicariously through his car since he’s a very nice man. (So you have no need to worry, Mr. Principal! I do not suspect your secret identity as a villain AT ALL. Not even a little bit.)
Now I didn’t get to see either of these cars actually driving. They were both parked. So I don’t know if they drive appropriately for such license plates, but I sure hope I run into these cars again!
Now you tell me! What are the stories behind these license plates?
Happy Veteran’s Day!
I didn’t have the perfect picture to share, but I had this image from a year ago.
This was the Veteran’s Day run we participated in. I love the symbolism here of people running toward the finish. Of working hard, giving it their all, and then finishing together with people they may not personally know, but who are now considered friends and compatriots for having struggled together.
It could be easy to think of those others as competitors. To hate or dislike them. But if you have ever been to a community run like this one, it is never like that. People are so loving and welcoming and encouraging. Strangers stand along the course and cheer you on. Volunteers rush to get you water and refreshment when you finish. And then we all celebrate together for having achieved a PR (personal record). Or we commiserate together when it just wasn’t our day. It is a beautiful thing.
I feel like Veteran’s Day is a little like this. While I know many who have served in the military (Both my grandfathers fought in WWII. My father-in-law served in the Air Force for many years. I have cousins and friends who have served in the military in various capacities.), Veteran’s Day is a chance to celebrate everyone. People I don’t know. People who have given their all. People who will face struggles for a long time to come.
To everyone who is running in this race, I thank you! I encourage you! I commiserate and celebrate with you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. It cannot be said enough.