I based the illustration on a series of books I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE: The Ingo books, by Helen Dunmore.
I first learned of these books when I was working at HarperCollins, and I was instantly taken by the jacket designed by Christopher Stengel (now with Scholastic. I couldn't find a website for him, but you can read an interview with him here.) Anyway, they are lovely books about a girl named Sapphire and her brother Conor, and their adventures under the sea with the Mer people. That's a lame summary, but they're really good books. I've read them countless times by now- when I find myself in the position of having finished all of my books from the library (the horror!), I'll reach for this one. Sapphire is a fiesty character, and if I could I'd name my first daughter after her. Unfortunately, this has already been nixed by my husband (and pretty much everyone else I know), saying that Sapphire is a stripper name. Whatever. I'll have to settle for naming my scooter Sapphire.
Sapphy and me