The Making of Genevieve and the Kite

KiteCoverEtsy

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.

KiteStoryboard

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!!

LightBoxCover

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.

LightBoxkite

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!

KiteBackCoverEtsy

I have now made another way to purchase Genevieve and the Kite!

So you now have three options:

1. My Createspace estore

2. Amazon

3. My Etsy Shoppe

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!!

0 thoughts on “The Making of Genevieve and the Kite

  1. Timaree says:

    Still laughing! It seems growing up does not erase fear. Of course, I already knew that but it was funny to read you admitting to, and so aptly, the very thing the book is about showing it is a universal feeling. I loved seeing the process you used for making the book. I would never have thought to make all those boxes as pages on a single layout but it makes so much sense now that I do see it. You made a really good start before calling in the troops. We all need (or wish we had) friends like that! I am glad you stuck with the way you’ve been drawing Genevieve too. She is so “herself” this way! I am just so thrilled for you!!

    As far as fears go, it scares me to take a trip outside the US but later should I find myself a widow (my husband doesn’t want to travel) I want to overcome that enough to at least go to Ireland and maybe Australia. My current little fear is painting on canvases. I am so sure I won’t have any good ideas or do it well and that is silly I know but a real block so far. Their is a painter at my local Michael’s though and I might take a class just to get me started. In fact now that I think of it, I am going to put that on my birthday list and maybe even get my granddaughters to join me! Thanks for bringing up the thinking about a fear idea!

    • jenpedwards says:

      Timaree! It has made me endlessly happy that you “get it”! When you read the book, I am hopeful that the message comes through! Though not in a preachy way, but in a sweet children’s story kind of way. Thank you thank you so much as always for your kind and wonderful comments!

  2. Wendy says:

    Hi Jennifer! Congratulations on publishing your book! It looks adorable and I’m excited for you. I can completely relate to your post–I am beginning to illustrate myself, and have been bowled over numerous times with fears that, when looked at from an objective standpoint, tend to be the “paper tiger” sort of variety: scary at first, but once you really look at it, not very scary at all. Thank you for your post and for being such an inspiration to the rest of us. 🙂

    • jenpedwards says:

      Hi Wendy!! I like this ” paper tiger” reference! Maybe it is the “paper kite” sort for Genevieve! I am glad you are illustrating and I look forward to one day seeing your own little book out there! Cheers and blessings to you!

        • jenpedwards says:

          Wow! That is awesome it came so quickly! I’m glad you enjoyed it! If you felt so inclined, Elaine, I would love for you to write a simple review of it on Amazon. You just search it by the title, click on the link to the book, and there’s a box near the bottom that says, “Write a Customer Review”. Thank you so very much for purchasing my first children’s book!

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