I wish I could tell you that making a children’s book is easy. Nope. I can’t say that. Genevieve and the Kite took over three years.
I didn’t immediately think of a children’s book as I overheard the conversation between Maddie and her Aunt Cathy on the porch of our beach house three years ago. Maddie was only 6 months into her diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes. I had heard her mention several things she was afraid of in those six months. They all sounded a bit unusual or silly to an adult. One of her fears was that she would develop a huge gaping hole in her leg where the shots were going. Another was a fear of flying kites. But these are very real fears a child has, especially one who has recently been diagnosed with a life-threatening disease. Definitely NOT something to sniffle at or trivialize. And if I was honest, I had those same kinds of fears myself.
As I listened to Aunt Cathy gently help her think about her fear of flying a kite, I began to feel as if this conversation was really for me. Not long afterwards, the idea to make it into a children’s book using Genevieve as the main character began to take hold in my mind. I wrote it out, I sketched images. And then began the research.
Using what I learned about how to create a children’s book, I began to make storyboard versions with thumbnail images that went along with the phrases and parts of the book. Then I created in pencil, a mock-up version (a book dummy). My dear friend and fellow teacher at Redeemer School, Janice Lievens (1st Grade), seemed excited about this little book and helped me to pair down my wordy version to be simpler and more succinct. She is my self-proclaimed Editor, and an amazing one at that! She loves children’s books and reads tons and tons of them, both for herself and for her students. Her classroom is a veritable library of children’s books!!
Using a lightbox, I began to create the color versions of the images with Sharpie Markers, Fine liner Pens, and Watercolor. This is how I had been drawing Genevieve for a while and I liked the look of the line and paint together. With only 4 illustrations left to make, I packed the whole thing away in a drawer. And there it sat for two years.
Life has a way of doing that. Life, and a thing called “creative blocks”. You see, I just couldn’t figure out how in the world to bring my children’s book into reality. I tried three publishers who would accept unsolicited manuscripts and received very polite “Thanks but no thanks” replies. I know, I know…three is not many at all!!! They say you need to submit your manuscript to at least 20! But I just couldn’t push through the wondering if anyone was ever going to say yes.
I had explored several of the online POD (Print On Demand) groups such as Lulu and Blurb. These looked great, but the price was enormous per book! I just could not in good conscience, ask anyone to buy a children’s book for $15 or more! And that being only a paperback!! It wasn’t until a couple of years later I heard about Createspace.com from someone who had just published his own children’s book via Createspace. The price was much more reasonable and the idea began to take shape in my mind again sometime last winter.
And then I got sick. Many of you know this section of my year, from about February to July– sickness, 3 weeks in the hospital, major surgery, and then recovery gave me plenty of time to mull over this little book that had been sitting in a drawer. It was time. Somehow. Someway. I needed to bring it to completion, if only for my own kids and grandkids (in future!!) and some of my sweet nieces.
Finishing all the illustrations didn’t take anywhere near as long as I thought it would. They seemed to tumble out, as if they had been in a holding pattern all finished up for too long. But then came the daunting task of entering everything into the templates that Createspace provides, and working with………..a computer. Yikes! Not my forte whatsoever.
Enter another dear friend, Amy Mead, who is a computer guru if there ever was one. The hugest thing she brought to the table was NO FEAR of the computer. She and I worked very hard to understand, figure out, work and rework so many versions of this little book. I could never EVER have finished this book without my friends, Janice and Amy. Like Genevieve in the book, we need others to encourage us to step out into places where fear holds us back. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, Janice and Amy!
I am so very excited about having it now in a version I can hold and read to my nieces, my students, and any who will listen. Personally, I believe it’s the kind of children’s book that has a sweet message for kids of all ages! At the end, it includes instructions for making your own kite, and a couple of pages to draw on.
**What you would try, if you weren’t afraid? Would you try drawing? painting? would you climb Mt. Everest? would you cycle through the Alpes? Would you write and illustrate a children’s book? I realized that fear was keeping me from finishing this book…afraid it wouldn’t be good, afraid no one would like it, afraid I couldn’t finish it, etc… These were certainly very real fears. But all of them could be met head on with, “It might not be so bad…”, and with friendship and encouragement.
What Kite would you fly if you weren’t afraid?
Come fly a kite with Genevieve!
I have now made another way to purchase Genevieve and the Kite!
So you now have three options:
This last option came to me in the middle of the night last night ;), to offer SIGNED COPIES of my book to any out of town/country folks who would like one. With all three of the above ways to purchase, there is shipping added on. Those of you whom I see here in K’ville, can purchase a book(s) directly from me, saving you the shipping. I am delightfully overwhelmed at the response to this little book thus far. You are all so incredibly kind: all who “like” these posts, “like” the FB updates, and who purchase a book….un GRAND MERCI!!