THE GROUND FAERIE - 2019 Update!
Annnnnnd we're back!
If you've been following my work over the past few years you probably know that my first picture book, The Ground Faerie, has been in and out of hibernation. In 2017 support from The Santa Cruz Arts Council allowed me to take an online course in the craft and business of writing picture books, and also gave me a boost of support during the creation period of my manuscript and early drawings. As a Disabled artist, I hope to have a hand in reimagining the stories we tell the next generation about Disability, difference, and inclusion. With The Ground Faerie, my intention was to write and illustrate a beautiful and nuanced representation of disability that would have felt resonant, relevant, and relatable to me as a Disabled child. After LOTS of time and love and work I finally feel confident that my manuscript is up to professional standards and ready to submit to publishers and agents. In 274 words, The Ground Faerie acknowledges the aches of being different while also honoring the richness, nuance, complexity and joy that Disability offers the human (or faerie) experience. Our flightless protagonist doesn't cure, overcome, nor save the day. Instead, she comes to a quiet, clear acceptance of her disability as a fundamental part of who she is.
To be honest, I’m a little bit lost in the woods, currently feeling around for my next steps with this project. Honing in on the illustration style is something I’ve been working on, and eventually I will need to decide whether to take a traditional or self-publishing route. The self-publishing route feels more familiar to me — I have some practice now thanks to The Coping Calendar — but traditional publishing may allow it to reach a wider audience.
If I go the traditional publishing route, I really have a lot to learn — I'm still finding my way around the field and working on developing my portfolio as an illustrator. During my research this year, I learned that it is protocol in the field of picture books for writers and illustrators to work on a book separately: typically the writer submits their text to a publisher and it is the publisher’s job to find and hire the illustrator. It is uncommon at this stage for writers, especially debut writers, to have any contact with or influence on the illustrator. It is important to me that this story is told fully and completely from a lived experience of disability, and as such I would not be comfortable with a non-disabled artist being hired to illustrate this text. Also The Ground Faerie is in my bones: she is made from the deepest and most fundamental parts of myself as a Disabled woman. For this reason I feel strongly about illustrating my own work, in particular this story which is such a huge piece of my heart. But! It is discouraged and viewed as amateur for authors to submit any drawings with their text unless they are a professional illustrator with a professional illustration portfolio. Although I do feel I have grown tremendously as an illustrator over this past year, I have not yet been able to develop a professional-level illustration portfolio specifically oriented to the field of picture book illustration. So... this is also one of my next steps! I need to create, photograph, and compile a portfolio. This will give my first manuscript the best possible chance at publication and set the course for me to pursue my passion as a content-creator in the realm of Children’s Media.
I want this to be a picture book but I have always had trouble sticking to one art form! Always thinking about Disability and access, my dream is be able to hire a blind audio-artist/engineer to develop an audiobook version of The Ground Faerie that communicates the sentiment of the imagery though sound and/0r music. I am also developing a paper-theatre style show that brings the book to life, which could eventually be performed at schools, libraries, hospitals, festivals and celebrations. Some day I’d like to create an interactive stage play, based in my clown training, that explores issues of access and inclusion from the fantastical perspective of the Ground Faerie world. Perhaps in combination with my alter-ego, Faerie Cricket!