Mater Dei High School

Interview with author and illustrator of Mutasia Books and Entertainment

Mutasia, Creative Educational Entertainment, founded in 2007, brings books, music, animation and mobile apps to a whole new creative and encouraging level. Mutasia encourages the imagination and ingenuity in children of all ages to self-discovery. There are many humorous and thrilling life lessons in the books, especially about loving and celebrating ones individuality and uniqueness. Suzanne Cotsakos and Ryan McCulloch create a form of educational fun for all to enjoy. Costakos is the co-founder, author and voice of the character Figley and McCulloch is the VP of Art and Design, illustrator, and voice of the character Chadwick.

Guy Ginsberg: What inspired you to write and illustrate these unique children’s books?

Ryan McCulloch: Suzanne and I have always enjoyed things that were interesting. We started having stories and characters that we would talk about that were displaced and mixed up. “I think kids would really like this.” We kept thinking “what would we have liked at that age…?” and it built upon itself. It’s really about making each other laugh and thinking about taking ourselves back to when we were eight years old.

GG: How long have you known each other?

Suzanne Cotsakos: We’ve known each other for about 10 years. We went to film school together. It’s a family company too. My mom runs it and so we just try to find things that make us laugh.

GG: How do you think that the way you approach these types of books, intertwining different types of characters and animals, teach to kids?

RM: A big theme of Mutasia is really about individuality. Every character is a mix of something different. Every one of us is a bit of our mom and a bit of our dad, you could look at people of all races, but in the end each one is a full individual. There is the person who’s the right brain person who likes art and there’s the left brain. There’s girls, there’s boys… We really try to push all these different kinds of people and personalities who all get along together.

SC: Celebrating your uniqueness and the things that make you and different and similar to other people or kids. It’s fun to create stories with the animals, obviously because it’s a bit kooky.

RM: But also, it’s never so specific. We all have our things that maybe we are insecure about, physically or inside. We can do a book about that, but no one else has that exact thing.

GG: How many books have you written?

RM: We have five books right now and we are going to be releasing three more this year.

SC: The chapter books are written by the teachers of the year, so they explore certain thing and lesson plans. I did two with my partner and another one coming out and Ryan has a book coming out.

GG: Ryan, you write too?

RM: I’m writing my first one!

Chloe Padilla and Guy Ginsberg