Three Times A Charm with Michael Hebler and Anita Driessen

Three Times a Charm is a weekly feature that spotlights authors, illustrators, bloggers, agents, editors or promoters from the publishing industry.

This week we have a tag team of author and illustrator visiting with their seasonal title! Michael Hebler and Anita Driessen are visiting with us. Let’s start with you telling us a little about yourselves. 

Michael Hebler (Author) - I am a native to Southern California where I still reside.  In addition to writing, I am also a film publicist, currently working unit publicity.  I began writing in college where I was fortunate to watch my first penned one-act play performed on stage by the Orange Coast College Theatre Department (which is where Anita and I had first met) and was hooked from that moment, and the writing bug has never left.  I currently have three publications.  In addition to 'The Night After Christmas', I have also published two books in my adult Chupacabra Series, 'Hunt for the Chupacabra' a free short story that precedes the events of Book I, 'Night of the Chupacabra' just released October 17, 2012.  I also like to ramble on my blog in my down time.

Anita Driessen (Illustrator) - I followed a very crooked path to realize what I wanted to do when I grew up.  From spending two years studying the dark art of Forensic Psychology, to earning a Bachelor's degree designing stages in Scenic Design, I ran the proverbial gamut of career paths to get to the answer of my life's purpose — illustration and spinning a great yarn.  I wondered if I had wasted my time with forensics and scenic design, but when I analyzed my choices it all made sense: 1) Forensic Psychology: Love Agatha Christie, dark artwork, and all things mysterious. Edward Gorey makes me laugh, 2) Scenic Design: Created worlds for characters, designed landscapes and cities and painted the skies with my favorite colors, 3) Eureka! Illustrator with a smidge of a dark side.  So no regrets, because like a great LONG mystery these clues led me to where I was supposed to go.  I did finally hitch my wagon to the Academy of Art University in San Francisco and received my Master's in Illustration while getting schooled on how much I still needed to learn. I know there are many more mysteries to uncover, and interactive media is the next exciting turn in the unfolding mystery of my life.  The game is afoot!

Tell us about The Night After Christmas.

'The Night After Christmas' extends Clement C. Moore's classic tale and is about Santa returning to his home at the North Pole after completing his busiest night of the year.  The storybook is available in both 8.5 x 8.5" softback and e-book formats, and is recommended for believers of any age.

 Now, for the Threes. Share with us your top 3’s to help us know you a little better. This should be really fun with two of you answering.

  • Top 3 authors. - (Michael's answers)  1) J.K. Rowling is one of my newest favorites.  I originally hesitated to read the 'Harry Potter Series' because I'm not normally one for jumping on the bandwagon, but am I ever glad I didn't listen to myself.  I think J.K. writes great children's stories for adults.  2) Charles Dickens is one of the greats.  I haven't read all his work but 'A Christmas Carol' is one of my favorite stories so he must be included.  3) And then I would probably have to say Michael Crichton because of how he was able to make his fiction seem non-fictional with his science-based theories.  I can't think of anything more interesting than making the impossible become possible.

Top 3 illustrators. - (Anita's answers)  1) Edward Gorey has been a favorite of mine since I was 9-years-old when I first saw his illustrations as the opening sequence on 'Mystery' on PBS. He had a hilarious but dark style that I found irresistible, and still do.  2) Mary Grandpre is the illustrator for the Harry Potter books printed in America. Her lush colors and swirling patterns are perfectly dream-like and her pictures never fail to transport me into different worlds. Check out her book 'Plum,' it's wonderful!  3) Dr. Seuss-is there anything that needs to be said other than he is the BEST!

  • Top 3 pieces of advice for kids these days.  1) Always be yourself and be proud of your own thoughts, your accomplishments, and your imagination.  2) Nothing meaningful comes easy.  Always work hard and you'll be able to achieve whatever you wish.  Your limitations are only set by you.  3) Listen to your gut instincts because 99.99999% of the time, it will be right.  Trust in yourself.

The Night After Christmas illustration
Okay, where can our tech-savvy readers go to keep up with you two and your work?

Anita has an array of her illustrations on display on her website, and all of Michael's fictional work can be found at, where he also has some information on his upcoming titles.  You can also follow and "Like" The Night After Christmas on Facebook:

Print and E-books are available at, Barnes &, iTunes, and most online retailers.

Thanks Michael and Anita for joining us on this week’s Strands of Thought. Best of luck with The Night After Christmas and your individual work, too.


I am always looking for guests for Three Times A Charm. If you are an author, illustrator or book reviewer, an agent, editor or publicist. If you have something related to children’s publishing that you’d like people to know about, contact me about a future appearance.


  1. What interesting backgrounds you have. Congratulations on your book It sounds like fun working together. Thanks for giving us a peek into your lives.

    1. I really love that Michael and Anita did the interview together. If they are this much fun, their book must be too!


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