The Time Warp of November
I’m not sure how to describe November except that sufficient sleep was not in the cards.
Not all bad, although life as a special needs parent during a pandemic is presenting extra challenges and I work for a hospital managing an outbreak of Covid cases. But interwoven with that were two pressing but exciting book project deadlines.
First, I’d already set the behind-the-scenes stuff in motion to release my updated biography on Nina Kosterina on Dec. 1. This involves a million little details.
A side note that back in 2018, I committed to refreshing all three of my indie biographies with second editions. Similar to painting one wall and then realizing the other walls now look too worn, I realized once I dove in that I couldn’t just tweak a little here or there. Translation: they took more effort than planned. First came the new release of my Robert Wadlow book in late 2019. Then Elijah Lovejoy earlier this year. Now it’s Nina’s turn to get fresh attention, and she deserves it.
This alone promised a busy November.
I was hired to be part of a unique book sprint project with the non-profit Room to Read. It was one of those “you must say yes” opportunities to be part of something unique.
Thus, I joined other writers, illustrators, editors and art directors paired into 10 teams assigned to develop 10 picture books based on peace and equity themes within a month.
My team started with my one-line story idea. Up at 3 a.m. many mornings, I kicked out 10 drafts in three weeks as my partners pulled the story out of me and we fussed over every word and image. The talented illustrator Ruthie Lafond then furiously finished up the art before the final deadline.
It was the most wonderfully collaborative and uplifting creative process I’ve ever experienced. We all reflected repeatedly that traditional publishing should complete more book projects in this fashion. I would do it again in a heartbeat.
We ended the sprint last week on Zoom with all teams sharing their projects. The stories and art flowing from the teams are heartwarming and inspirational. The books will launch in early 2021 in Room to Read’s free online platform. I can’t wait to share!