But then, in the fall, my husband of 15 years and I decided to part ways. Although the build-up to this decision was logical, and we truly did exhaust all our options, we ended up vowing to remain friends and cooperatively parent our amazing son. Despite the amicable nature of our separation–this took the stuffing out of me. And him. I stopped drawing for awhile. I stopped answering emails or posting on social media. I didn't want to face people. I didn't know how to navigate this new territory, other than putting one foot in front of the other, taking care of my son and showing up to teach my art classes.
The late fall and holiday season were sad for me. But even in that dark time, I found comfort in loved ones–and enormous joy that my debut picture book, RENATO AND THE LION, was suddenly moving forward. The book had been in a holding pattern of sorts, which had made me wonder if it would ever come to light. At my most depressed point, I suddenly felt buoyed that this project was indeed, alive.
The publishing team had approved the text, and asked me for rough thumbnails. What would normally take two days of solid effort–took me over a month. Despite my excitement for the book, the impact of a pending divorce had slowed me down mentally. I had to get my sh*t together, or I'd risk losing my lifelong dream of creating a book–a book with a story that I love.
The team at Viking was gracious, and didn't say anything about my delay. Instead, they brought me in to discuss edits to help me proceed to the next stage. Their suggestions were smart and helpful, and I was excited to be back on track. I worked like a dog for a week and a half to produce more refined sketches, and was proud to turn them in. Currently, we are at an exciting point in the book production–with the deadline for final art approaching in September. And now, I am working at an efficient, effective pace again.
I am grateful to my loved ones and to the publishing team that believes in my book. Their faith in me, especially during a dark time, has lit the path to help me find my way back–back to my normal, workhorse flow.