Most of you know that in addition to writing this blog, I also write books. In the last four years, I’ve written and published three children’s books. All three are illustrated by my close friend, artist Vicki Guess.
Photo by Seraluna Sanchez
It takes us a year to produce a book. We aren’t very fast, but it’s more important to us to get it right than it is to finish quickly. We are also both working other jobs so we have to make time around the stuff of life for our loves of writing and illustrating.
When we are working on a book, we each work independently and we also meet monthly, halfway between our two homes, and work on every page together. We want the words and the illustrations to meld seamlessly into a book that is a joy to both read and see.
Our first book was a finalist in the national 2016 Best Book Awards
On April 7th at the 2018 North Texas Book Festival, our third book, “The Day The Turkey Came To School” won the award for Best Children’s Book. We didn’t expect to win because we had won in 2017 for our second book, “Which Came First?” and because the other two finalists in our category had created some darn good books.
Photo by Seraluna Sanchez
To say we are thrilled, is an understatement. We are incredibly humbled and grateful, and jumping up and down excited! It isn’t just the award that has us so delighted…it’s the recognition.
This year, our book was evaluated by adults and elementary school children. We consider them both to be our audience. We want to create books that children love, and books that parents and teachers and librarians like to read too.
This past weekend, Vicki and I had a book signing at a store in Dallas. I asked her what it means to her that our books have won these awards. She said, “It validates what we are doing; that we can touch people’s lives with the work that we love to do.”
Winning the Best Children’s Book Award for our last two books, means that what we are doing is working. It’s a shout out to the world that we are creating books that are worth noticing…and that means so much to us.
In June, we will begin working on our fourth book together. We are discussing three of my stories and trying to decide which one will be the next book. Because our first three books have been recognized with honors and awards, we are determined to work even harder to make the next book something really special and worth the wait!
Photo by Jeff Hull
Illustrator, writer, graphic designer, Crystal Wood, for all three books
Authors note: Thank you to all of you who have loved our first three books. It’s our privilege and pleasure to be able to create them for you!