In April of 2013, I went to the North Texas Book Festival in search of an illustrator for my story, “The Button Box.” I didn’t meet an illustrator that day, but I did get the name of an artist…Vicki Guess…from an author who was signing her books at the Festival.
I called Vicki the next day and told her who I was and asked if she might be interested in illustrating my first book. She very wisely said that she would like to “read my story and think about it.” She said she would call me back. I tease her now that she just wanted to make sure I could write!
When Vicki called, she said she loved my story and would like to meet and talk about illustrations for the book. I asked her to bring samples of some of her artwork. Yes, I wanted to make sure she could draw and that I liked her style!
When we met, we felt an instant connection and decided to see what we could create together. Since that day five years ago, we have published three books and developed a life-long bond of friendship. We have done numerous book signings and speaking engagements, we have met one another’s families and welcomed new grandchildren, we have laughed…so much…cried a little, and have found great joy in this fun adventure together!
This Saturday is the 18th annual North Texas Book Festival and we are honored to be the “Featured Author” and the “Featured Illustrator” at this year’s event. Vicki is the first ever “Featured Illustrator” for the North Texas Book Festival so she is setting the bar for the future.
The North Texas Book Festival, Inc. is a 501(c)3 corporation and was organized in the year 2000 by a group of individuals, led by children’s author Lynn Sheffield Simmons. Its mission is “to raise funds to promote literacy and to encourage family interaction that will foster reading and the love of books.” Since its beginning, more than $70,000 in grants have been awarded to school and public libraries and literacy programs in North Texas.
This year’s event will include 60 authors who will be signing their books, as well as incredible balloon twister, Al Curlett, amazing magician, Rick Morrill, a scavenger hunt, prize giveaways, and other fun activities for the entire family.
Vicki and I are proud to be a part of this organization which is having a positive impact on so many lives. We are also delighted to have the opportunity to spend the day together and to talk with folks about our books. If you live in North Texas, we hope you will stop by!