As with most passions in life, there is a history.
Over 30 years ago, I began amassing a collection of children’s books. And not for the sake of merely collecting them. No, my love for them went far deeper than simply collecting them. The stories, the illustrations, the discoveries the characters make – all these things drive my affection for children’s books.
During my teaching career, it was typical for me to say “now, there’s a title for a children’s book” when talking with my colleagues.
When I found myself no longer teaching, it seemed like the right time to give writing a whirl. Lots of people were doing it: entertainers, journalists, athletes, politicians, television personalities, musicians, and so forth. If they could do it, I felt that I could, too.
So I sat down over a year and a half ago and started jotting down ideas, quickly realizing I had no earthly idea the steps involved in writing a book (much less publishing it).
Honestly, at the time, I really wasn’t thinking of publishing. An item on my bucket list was to write an appealing story for children. I wrote several before the characters in one began to come to life for me. I protected this story and shared it with very few, recognizing even then how personal it felt to introduce my characters to others.
In 2016, I met a local, talented illustrator, Josh Wise, while working on another unrelated project. Once I mustered up the courage to contact him later that year, we arranged to meet. I remember how nervous I was to share the story with him because I felt protective of my characters. But I loved them so much that I wanted to share them, and that meant letting them out into the light.
Thus, happily, our journey began.
We started meeting weekly to discuss and develop the characters (appearance, personalities, background, friends, environment). He took the words I used to describe my vision and put them on paper in the form of beautiful illustrations. He introduced me to storyboards, points of visual reference, and many other concepts related to illustrating a book.
Hours, days, weeks and months have been consumed with:
- Researching, Reading, Rewriting.
- Field trips to book stores and libraries.
- Conversations with published authors.
- Researching literary agents and publishers.
- Writing query letters and synopses.
- Joining the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and looking for opportunities to attend conferences and workshops for writers.
- Debating Traditional publishing vs. Self-publishing
Which brings us to today. Josh and I are excited to now be working with Mascot Books in the editing process. Over the coming weeks, we look forward to introducing our characters to you. We hope you will love them as much as we do.
We’re glad you’re here with us. We hope you’ll stick around. Feel free to tell your friends.