I am off to Narnia.

Completed my first in-class visit as an author. I was ridiculously nervous ~ to talk to a group of nine and ten year olds ~ but they were a most forgiving group and tolerated my nervousness beautifully. 😉 In fact, they seemed most interested in the model of The Viridian Isles rather than my very complex storyboard. Imagine that.

We talked about the short stories they are currently writing, and I was reminded of how creative and free the imagination of a child is. It was hard to keep up with the rollercoaster of their minds as they excitedly told me all about their Adventure and Fantasy stories. Yes, almost every child in the room chose Fantasy and Adventure as their books of choice. Guess I am writing in the right genre!

In Immanuel Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason, (which, like most people, I like to quote off the top of my head), he describes the imagination as a “blind but indispensable function of the soul, without which we should have no knowledge whatsoever, but of which we are scarcely ever conscious.” Pablo Picasso once said, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”

When it comes to creativity in adults, our beliefs about it seem to change. Somehow, what is totally natural for children seems less natural when we’re adults. Why does our creativity diminish as we mature? Is it lack of practice or are we forced to turn our attention to logic, reason, and facts in school and the workplace, so we spend more of our time in reality and less in the world of imagination?

Unfortunately, studies have shown that we do lose some of our curiosity and whimsical imagination as we mature. Children’s natural inclination to daydream and wonder declines abruptly around fourth grade. So that would mean my creativity has been waning for almost forty years now, um, er… I mean twenty years now. 😉

Maybe we are just fearful of being wrong. Young kids don’t worry so much about whether they’re wrong. As we age we learn that being wrong comes with consequences and can be embarrassing. According to Sir Ken Robinson, an expert in creativity, “If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original.” http://sirkenrobinson.com/

I don’t know about you, but I am prepared to be wrong. I have three more books in The Viridian Chronicle Series to finish and I don’t plan to stop there. Let your imagination run wild, folks. I am off to Narnia.

“You have to live spherically – in many directions. Never lose your childish enthusiasm – and things will come your way.” ― Federico Fellini

From Art to Book Cover


 I have been trying to figure out how to describe what it was like for me to see the cover of my book for the first time.  I had an illustrator – a wonderful illustrator – and it was a bit of an awakening for me.

Writing a book is sort of like painting a pottery pot but not quite.  You spin the pot, and then glaze it just so, you have a vision, and you try to make it all come together. (If you are me however, the vision and actuality will be quite different … I can’t paint).  The paint covered pot then goes to the kiln and comes out all shiny and aglow and slightly different than you first imagined.

The difference with the book cover itself is that you add all the ingredients, you write the characters, build the worlds and create the atmosphere but you don’t know exactly what the cover will look like because every reader, illustrator and designer will have a unique minds-eye.

Let’s go back to my pottery example because you are probably wondering where I was going with that.  Let me tell you a story.  🙂  When I was in Mexico on vacation a few years back, I painted a pot. It looked pretty good, or… perhaps that’s a stretch, it was a colossal mess, I even struggled to stay in the lines they provided. (This may have had something to do with too many cervezas but I digress …) Unbeknownst to me, on the warm Mexican night when my paint soaked pot was to be fired, it was someone’s job to duck in and improve the pot. They added detail and finesse before it went to the kiln.  Essentially they took my vision, my globbed up, painted massacre and made it art.

For my book cover, I submitted all my wild imaginings all mismatched and scattered and my illustrator and designer created something magical.

Seeing the finished cover for the first time is when the entire writing process finally seemed real to me. Up until that point, it was hard to envisage that someone else reading my book would have a different vision of how things look and how they feel – an equally wonderful vision but different nonetheless. A good book cover captures the essence of the book and mine did just that.

When I first saw my cover, I was reminded, that as the writer, the book is not all mine anymore. It will soon belong to the reader, who will imagine the characters and places differently than me but the spirit of the book will remain the same.

I am thrilled with how the cover of Liornabella turned out.  Thank you so much to the Tellwell team for the illustration and the design!