When Andrea Torrey Balsara was small, she remembers looking at a beautifully illustrated picture book and thinking, "I want to make stories like that!"
Even though Andrea dreamed of being an illustrator, her first published book was one that she wrote. The publisher already had illustrators on hand so she wrote many books before ever publishing as an illustrator. She published many books for the educational market, including the novels The Present, for young adults, and Parker Shanahan: Survivor Against All Odds for middle-grade readers. (Her current project of 10 years, an illustrated novel for middle-grade and young adult readers, is finally ready to market and, for the first time, combines her young adult writing with illustration.)
After several years of writing, the opportunity finally arose to illustrate her own book, Greenbeard the Pirate Pig. It's a whimsical story about a guinea pig who leaves his simple farming life to become a pirate on the seven seas (please see www.greenbeardthepiratepig.com). Andrea is also the illustrator for the picture book series, Happy the Pocket Mouse, written by Philip Roy, and is currently working on Book 4.
Initially training to be a stage actress in London England, Andrea was also involved with children's theater and musical theater. Later, she worked as a Sign Language Interpreter in Ontario, Canada, all the while taking local art classes and studying art books. After finally deciding to write and illustrate, she took a cartooning course via correspondence, and worked in traditional media (watercolor, pastels, colored pencil, oil) until turning to digital illustration, which she taught herself. Andrea honed her writing skills through courses offered by the Institute of Children's Literature, but considers herself a student of art and writing for life.
Andrea is involved in several nature conservation groups, and loves roaming her and her husband's 99-acre forest when visiting the family cottage. She lives in Ontario with her husband and two children, and beloved but unruly pets. She and her husband have also recently purchased an old Victorian house from the 1850's, which she is looking forward to fixing up.
One of Andrea's passions is empowering young people to think for themselves. Andrea’s philosophy can be summed up in one of Dr. Martin Luther King’s many inspirational quotes. He said:
“Not everyone can be famous, but everyone can be great, because greatness is determined by service.”
We can all reach for the stars!
Andrea with Oliver and Maisie, both puppy-mill rescues
Contact Andrea Today!