When Mande contacted me about her book, I was in the middle of planning my wedding. It was going to be a big shindig with lots of people and traveling between venues, centerpieces I was going to make myself, and choreograph a solo dance number I would perform... no big deal. I could definitely handle it, and I'd already had six months to get most of the stuff together. *whew*
So when I read her manuscript and fell in love, I had to say yes.
We immediately started brainstorming ideas on how to show the adventures that both mom and baby have; how to bring out the daring and danger without getting too crazy, but still invoke the imagination. And when we met in person so I could share my thumbnail sketches, Mande's excitement grew into even bigger ideas before we landed on a solid backdrop with which to tell her story.
As with any major project, there were a few hiccups along the way, but we pushed through and I delivered my sketches on time and everything was lined up for me to begin the final paintings after my wedding. Though nothing prepared me for what happened next. My grandfather had a heart-attack during our reception and was taken to the hospital. Still reeling from shock and worried for both my grandparents, I stayed with them until we could take him home a week later. I knew then that I couldn't reach the original deadline Mande had asked for and I worried that I might have had to bow out of the project.
So I went home, put my head down, and didn't look up until I finished the paintings. When everything was done, I ended up on time, and Mande asked for a special touch--hand-lettered text for the cover--which I had the most fun doing.
The book launched just before Mother's Day, on May 12, and we were both amazed and humbled at all the positive reviews. It was featured on Donovan's Bookshelf as May's "Book of the Month", and continued to share shelf-space at Barnes-and-Noble in Encinitas with other notable picture books--a place I'd never dreamed of making under an indie publisher.
While illustrating Your Greatest Adventure may have been one of the most challenging experiences I've ever had, I'm grateful that we could climb over those mountains and share this adventure with you. ❤️
Don't forget to leave a review if you buy the book! In this big world of publishing, every little bit helps. Thank you! ❤️