A Morning with Gong Gong: An Illustrator is Chosen!

Image from Christina Forshay's portfolio @ Christina Forshay

I'm so excited to announce that Christina Forshay will be illustrating my picture book, A MORNING WITH GONG GONG, to be published by Lee & Low Books. Check out her awesome piece above (giant octopus & pirates, some of my favorite subjects!) and more at her website (www.christinaforshay.com).

Let me back up. As you know, I won the 2013 Lee & Low New Voices Award for my picture book manuscript about a grandfather who teaches his young, active girl how to do t'ai chi while she teaches him yoga.

I've come to realize that birthing a book is very much like birthing a child. Announcing the news is also similar.

PRENATAL VITAMINS: So many of us toil away for years to get to the point where we can birth a book. We take classes, we exercise our writing muscles, we take our metaphorical folic acid, find a partner (critique group) or a specialist (an agent), and then hope that the planets align to get . . .

THE POSITIVE TEST/ THE CALL: Our editor/agent tells us the great news that we will birth a book, but we can't tell anyone yet. We are nervous and nurse the news carefully, sharing it with only the closest of family members. Will there be an early miscarriage? Was it a mistake?

SHARING THE NEWS ON FACEBOOK: The contract is signed and some time has passed. The book is truly cooking in the publishing world. We can share the news, but we still worry that it is early in the process.

THE FIRST ULTRASOUND (Pat Miller's comment on a FB post gave me this imagery): One day, we get tangible evidence that this is more than a phantom pregnancy, like this notice in Publisher's Marketplace:

So there you have it. Unlike human births, the gestation period of books varies widely because there are so many variables. Will my story be like a killer whale (17-18 months, which would be fast in the publishing world), an elephant (almost 2 years), or the octopus mom who protected her eggs for four and a half years?

I hope I don't turn into one of those annoying over-sharing expectant parents. But for now, I'm enjoying the excitement. Stay turned for future updates and one day, a birth announcement of a bouncing baby book.

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