Cabin Tales Special Episodes

One interview with illustrators and two episodes full of spooky student stories.

Picture a Story (Episode X)

Interviews with five Canadian illustrators about creating narratives in words and pictures. Featuring guest author-illustrators Peggy CollinsKatherine BattersbyFarida Zaman, Christine Tripp, and Chris Jones. 45 minutes

Read or download the full episode transcript here:

Episode X Shownotes:

[0:00] Intro

[2:15] Commentary on how picture books are made.

Interviews with illustrators about illustration your own words vs. another’s

[5:15] Chris Jones on rewarding collaborations

[7:40] Peggy Collins on responsibility

[9:20] Katherine Battersby on unexpected freedom

[11:45] Christine Tripp on having fun

[13:10] Farida Zaman on having control

[15:00] Commentary about developing characters

[16:00] Interviews with illustrators about developing characters

[16:10] Peggy Collins loves designing characters

[17:45] Chris Jones develops his characters in action

[19:45] Christine Tripp has her characters in her head

[21:20] Farida Zaman steps inside her characters

[22:30] Katherine Battersby traps characters on paper

[24:10] Commentary on the fear of drawing

[27:40] Interviews about traditional vs digital art

[28:20] Christine Tripp likes the safety of digital art

[29:20] Farida Zaman misses her pencils

[30:40] Katherine Battersby finds freedom in digital imagery

[32:25] Peggy Collins is happier with her tech

[34:15] Chris Jones refines his sketches digitally

[36:20] Illustrators’ advice to young writers and artists

[36:30] Katherine Battersby: Read, play, be yourself

[37:50] Peggy Collins: Your stories matter

[38:50] Farida Zaman: Everyone has a story

[40:10] Christine Tripp: Don’t be in a rush

[41:20] Chris Jones: Don’t get discouraged

[42:25] Story prompt: Picture a Halloween tale

[43:40] Thanks

Spooky Student Stories (Episode XX)

The Halloween episode, featuring 5 spooky stories by students aged 11-17. Listen to tales of a terrifying musical awakening, a futuristic drug, a demonic yoga class, a pizza you don’t want to order, and a phone call you don’t want to answer. From young writers Jacob Tremblay, Prisha Mehta, Owen Fitzpatrick, Kayleigh Williams, and Sarah Ham. 45 minutes. 

Show Notes

[0:00] Episode intro

[3:20] “Bat, Axe, Racket” by Jacob Tremblay

[5:55] About the Author: Jacob Tremblay is 11 years old and he has never babysat, and he can’t remember ever being babysat, but he has read scary stories about babysitting…

[7:45] “The Music Box” by Prisha Mehta

[14:10] About the Author: Prisha Mehta is a high school senior from Millburn, New Jersey, with many publications to her credit. “The Music Box” was first published in Blue Marble Review. Prisha has known since the third grade that she wanted to be a writer. And she is fabulous.

[16:00] “Ear to Ear” by Owen Fitzpatrick

[22:00] About the Author: Owen Fitzpatrick is a 13-year-old student in grade nine at Lisgar Collegiate High School in Ottawa whose advice to any young writer is: “Don’t be afraid to share your ideas. Just start writing.” “Ear to Ear” was a First Place Winner in the Ottawa Public Library’s Awesome Authors youth writing contest in the 9-12 age category, and it was published in Pot-pourri 2019. Thanks to Owen and to the Friends of the Ottawa Public Library Association, which publishes Pot-pourri, for giving permission to feature the story on this show.

[24:45] “Demon Yoga” by Kayleigh Williams

[30:55] About the Author: Kayleigh Williams went to a yoga class with her mother and “I could not lie still during the end relaxation and I still don’t understand how anyone can relax lying down with their eyes closed in a dimly lit room full of total strangers who could be psycho killers or demons for all you know.”

[32:35] “Deliverance” by Sarah Ham

[38:35] About the Author: That story won Second Prize in the Ottawa Public Library’s Awesome Authors contest a couple of years ago in the 15-17 age category, and it was first published in Pot-pourri 2017. The author, Sarah Ham, is your average writerly ghost. Sarah’s advice to young writers is to have fun with what you write. “If you enjoy it, so will your readers!” Thanks to the Friends of the Ottawa Public Library Association for permission to include this story.

[40:30] Thanks

More Spooky Student Stories (Post-Halloween Episode)

This Special Episode of Cabin Tales features four more student stories. Listen to tales about: a monster that demands sacrifice; a historic Halloween; teens in the deep woods; and a supernatural Air B&B. From young writers Aleina Wang, Olivia Beauchamp, Lexi-Jade McCowan, and Olivia Li. 45 minutes


[0:00] Intro

[2:15] “Air B&B” by Olivia Li

[10:50] About the Author: Olivia Li doesn’t want to believe in ghosts, but she does and they scare her. She likes ghost stories and goofy comedies, especially when they’re combined.

[12:45] “The Duskmire Forest” by Olivia Beauchamp

[22:05] About the Author: Olivia Beauchamp is a grade 7 student at Symmes Junior High School in Gatineau, Quebec. Her advice to other young writers is: “Keep a youthful imagination.”

[23:50] “Minutes to Sunrise” by Lexi-Jade McCowan

[31:25] About the Author: Lexi-Jade McCowan is a 12-year-old student doesn’t usually like writing. Her advice to other young writers is: “Keep working hard. Don’t give up.”

Special thanks to the English Language Arts teachers at Symmes Junior High School in Gatineau — teachers Sarah Legge and Alex Peach – who’ve been sharing this podcast with their students. 

[33:30] “The Monster of Feyre” by Aleina Wang

[40:45] About the Author: “The Monster of Feyre” won an Honourable Mention in the Ottawa Public Library’s Awesome Authors youth writing contest in 2019, in the 9-12 age category, and it was published in Pot-pourri 2019. Aleina says this is one of her weirder stories. 🙂

Special thanks to the Friends of the Ottawa Public Library Association, which publishes Pot-pourri, for permission to read the story on the podcast. 

Thanks for listening.

Welcome to the Cabin (Episode 0)

An introductory tour of the podcast. Episode Zero tells you about the purpose of the podcast, the origin of the Cabin Tales stories, the creative writing themes coming up this fall, upcoming guest authors, plus a submission call for the Halloween Special Episode. 20 minutes. 


Music: Music on the podcast is from “Stories of the Old Mansion” by Akashic Records, provided by Jamendo (Standard license for online use). 

Host: Catherine Austen writes books for children, short stories for adults, and reports for corporate clients. Visit her at

Art: The screaming woman image is from a wood engraving by Émile Bayard from Le général Dourakine, written by Sophie comtesse de Ségur, 1882. The witch is from a wood engraving by Edwin Austin Abbey from Selections from the Poetry of Robert Herrick, 1882. The hellish gathering is from a wood engraving by Gustave Doré from Milton’s Paradise Lost, 1880. And the storytelling image is a B&W cropped version of an Arthur Rackham illustration in Washington Irving’s Rip Van Winkle, 1919.

Guest Author-Illustrators:

Katherine Battersby

Katherine Battersby is the critically acclaimed author and illustrator of ten picture books, including Perfect Pigeons and the popular Squish Rabbit series. Her books have received glowing reviews in The New York Times, starred Kirkus reviews, and have been named CBC Children’s Choice books. Her debut graphic novel series, Cranky Chicken, will be published in 2021. 

Katherine divides her time between Brisbane, Australia, and Ottawa, Canada. Find her online at, on Twitter @KathBatt, on Facebook at @KatherineBattersbyAuthor, on Instagram  @katherinebattersby/.

Peggy Collins

Peggy Collins is a mother, a storyteller, an artist, a teacher, and a lover of books, technology, and learning. She lives in Ontario, where she teaches concept art and character design development.

She is the illustrator and author-illustrator of more than a dozen picture books. 

Find Peggy online at, on Twitter @peggysbooks,on Facebook @ thelittlesproject, on Instagram @peggysillustration.

Chris Jones

Chris Jones is an illustrator with a passion for visual storytelling. He illustrates for picture books, graphic novels, magazines and educational materials. Chris has illustrated over 20 books for young readers, including Scholastic’s Take Me Out to The Ice Rink, and This is The Rink Where Jack Plays

When not illustrating for clients, Chris spends his time writing and illustrating his own comic and picture book projects. Find Chris online at:; Instagram @mrjonesey; Twitter @mrJonesey

Christine Tripp

Christine Tripp has worked in animation, magazine and newspaper Illustration, gag cartooning, and comic strips, but eventually she found her real passion… illustrating children’s books. 

Over the past 20 years, she has illustrated over 50 books for publishers such as Scholastic USA, Scholastic Canada, and Pearson Canada. 

Chris considers herself fortunate to have a career that allows her to do exactly what she has loved to do since she was a child: draw! She lives in Stittsville, Ontario, with her husband and their dogs, Kevin and Bob. Their 4 children and 9 grandchildren are her greatest source of pride and joy.

Farida Zaman

Farida Zaman is a Toronto-based illustrator, author, and educator known for her upbeat, sophisticated, and whimsical style. She has worked with clients including the Latin Grammy Awards, The New York Times, UNICEF, London Underground, Toronto Transit Commission and many more. 

Farida has illustrated more than a dozen picture books. Her first authored and illustrated picture book – I Want to Be: A Gutsy Girl’s ABC – was published in 2020. She is currently an instructor at Toronto’s Avenue Road Art School, where she runs art workshops and illustration classes for adults and children. Find her online at, on Twitter @fzamanart, and on Instagram @fzamanart.

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