Annie Crawley, aka Ocean Annie, travels and works around the world. Trained as a photo and broadcast journalist, her work has been broadcast and published worldwide. From Indonesia to Galapagos, Belize to Papua New Guinea, India to Australia, Annie has explored and documented life on our planet. Based in Seattle, Annie works as a producer, writer, photographer, and motivational speaker. She founded Dive Into Your Imagination, a multimedia company producing books, enhanced eBooks, educator guides, films, motivational art, and more. Annie was the photographer and filmmaker aboard SEAPLEX sponsored by Project Kaisei and Samy’s Camera. Annie specializes in the underwater realm and also works as a photo, video, and scuba diving instructor. She is a member of the Women Divers Hall of Fame and created a dive team for kids and teens. Visit her online at www.AnnieCrawley.com and www.anniecrawleyphotography.com.
What was your favorite book when you were a child?
Naming one favorite book is impossible! I read every Judy Blume book published. Anne of Green Gables transported me to another world. No matter what book I picked up to explore, I always imagined I was a part of it. My other favorites came from a required series we read in 7th and 8th grade from Greek mythology including tales and lessons from Atlantis, Medusa, Poseidon and Icarus.
What’s your favorite line from a book?
Both the title and the line: Free To Be You And Me by Marlo Thomas
As a little girl, I was the flower girl at my Uncle Wally and Aunt Debbie’s wedding, and they gave me that great big pink book, Free To Be You And Me, as a present. It changed my life! After devouring the book, I was given the album. The voices gave new meaning to the book, both are still in my collection.
Who are your top three favorite authors or illustrators?
I have too many to name! Here are a few: Patricia Newman, Judy Blume, Louise Fitzhugh, Mark Twain, Neil Gaiman
Why did you want to become an author or illustrator?
To share with others my experience from exploring under the sea. My first published book, Ocean Life A to Z, was a book and DVD combination. The underwater world is better than my imagination. Photos and video allow me to share my experiences about creatures of the sea. We need everyone to love our ocean because we protect what we love.
Books were (and still are) my escape and journaling a way of life. In books, I find myself either being one of the characters or figuring out how the author is telling the story. I write to find myself. Whether it is researching a topic I am interested in or sitting down at my computer for a flow session, what comes out from inside always surprises me. When I went to college, I had not even owned a camera. It was not until I was a junior in college that I took my first photojournalism class. My life changed with a camera in hand. I knew from that moment forward I would need to express myself in images. So for me, writing, photography, video, and editing all fit together. After learning to scuba dive, I knew I had to become an underwater photographer and filmmaker. It is hard to describe the feeling you get when exploring under the sea, but the visuals I can capture through photos and video allow me to share my experiences with others.
Do you have any advice for future authors or illustrators?
Go for it. You have greatness inside that needs to be shared with the world. You have a story to tell that can only be told from your perspective because you are unique. The world needs you to come alive. The four P’s I live by are patience, persistence, perseverance, and passion combined with faith, courage, and enthusiasm.