According to my friend Joe Kolean, via his friend John Hanson, you have to 'follow the tingle'. I'd never heard it put quite that way, but listening to your curiosities and following that spark can lead you into a state of that sweet magical 'flow'. There is a literal truth to it as well: my toes physically *zing* when I'm in that state of creating - so when I heard this sentiment, I knew! The tingle! Now the tingle is a precious thing because it's elusive. You have to stop forcing ideas to come and almost let them come to you - which is hard when you want to always be making genuine and wonderful things. (Let me interject but not get off track on the subject of constantly being bombarded with so much great content. The comparison can drive anyone mad, and you can never let your zinging toes feel ashamed that they've led you towards something that doesn't measure up to what other's are making.) But when you've watched yourself go through the cyclical pattern, you start to understand your rhythm and when the tingle finds you, MAKE.
One tingling curiosity found me on a walk with my dog, where my head was not particularly filled with creative thoughts. Just the opposite in fact: we had moved (again) and I had finished too many projects at once during our move. I was in a dull lull, if you will, feeling as though I'd like to swear off art, and never make a lick of it again. I had a small project due and was dragging my feet big time. The theme was October, and I waded through all the immediate visual possibilities, and not one of them sounded intriguing. I was tired of drawing girls and animals...and a little ghost wandered into my head. Obviously, little ghosts have been around for eons, but nonetheless, I followed the scenario. Suddenly, I was struck by a little spark...if one were to read to the ghost, what would one read? What kinds of stories do ghosts even like? What do they eat? What do they do for fun? There needs to be a guide, I thought, about how to take care of a ghost!
Hours later, I was still frantically working and reworking my idea - it'd be a book, a little book, but a book. I'd do quick illustrations and lay it all out and tell a little story and have a good time doing it. Just the perfect fall project to get me back into the making of things. My husband Matt, who teaches English, is a wonderful ideas person - he pushed the story and helped me organize and flesh out the ending. At the end of the day, the framework for the book had been born.
I posted the final book on my site, printed 125 copies, you awesome people bought them, and I got a phone call from Penguin Random Houses, children's Imprint, Tundra. The book was going to be real. This last year, I've worked with my editors, Tara and Jessica, and the team at Tundra, to extend the content, recreate the illustrations, and bring you my first picturebook, How To Make Friends With A Ghost. I couldn't be more proud for this little book to come out into the world. The release date is September 5, 2017. Stay tuned for more info, regarding pre-orders, giveaways, and library/bookstore visits! And because I can keep it a secret no longer: here's the cover reveal!
I could die I'm so happy! It's going to be hard waiting for Autumn (as usual) but it'll be well worth it. Thank you to those who have been so enthusiastic and supportive for this little ghost, I can't wait to share the final book with you.