Happy April Everyone!

Spring is around the corner and nothing could be more exhilarating and inspiring than going for a long run in our beautiful towns of Hingham and Norwell Massachusetts. Snow on the ground and ice covered lakes make a great show case for reddish maple tops just coming into bud and the vernal pools that are full of life and are a mahogany green from the tannins from the fallen leaves. Our turtle pond which we built during the year I wrote and illustrated MOSSY is still covered with snow. We are anxiously awaiting for the ice to melt to see if our eight Koi - goldfish survived the winter. Every month I take a little time to give you a snapshot on how my new book is progressing here is the report on GINGERBREAD CHRISTMAS.
In a week or so, Iíll be traveling to New York to meet with my editor, Margaret about GINGERBREAD CHRISTMAS. I have done two gingerbread books in the past, THE GINGERBREAD BABY in 1999 and GINGERBREAD FRIENDS in 2008. They both have fold out pages near the end of the book, and in my new story, there will be a fold out Christmas tree, covered with ornaments including lots of cookie ornaments. The Gingerbread Baby will be running away as usual and he picks a hiding place on the tree. I will make it nearly impossible to figure out which ornament in the Gingerbread Baby who has the biggest challenge of his life, being quiet and being perfectly still. I remember that when I was little, it was very hard to be quiet and perfectly still.
When I was in fifth grade and took up playing the clarinet I could never imagine the hours and hours I have spent as an adult, not playing, but listening to classical music. My husband, Joe Hearne plays the double-bass in the Boston Symphony Orchestra and I almost always get a ticket to the weekly performance. I wrote and illustrated BERLIOZ THE BEAR about a bass playing bear, and I'm using music as an important element again in GINGERBREAD CHRISTMAS. In my story, Matti bakes gingerbread instruments, including a bass and a clarinet. He peeks in the oven before they are baked and they come out alive and playing! I won't be writing a musical accompaniment to my book, but have allowed space for an overture, which is a musical introduction, a march, a waltz, and a dreamy aria, which is a song for one or two people
Artists do not like doing the same thing twice, so I am exploring border ideas that involve baking, which would be in keeping with the subject matter, but ideas that I haven't done before. I think there will be some intense research in that area. I love chocolate, but I like a lighter feel to my books and dark chocolaty brown would work as an accent color, but not as the whole border. Since the book is set in Switzerland, and we are planning a trip in late summer, I hope to find some special European confections that will ad flavor to the book!
I have almost finished a miniature, cartoon-like version of my book, called a dummy, and I am looking forward to going over it with my editor in New York in a few weeks. This is when the story is still flexible and easy to change. My favorite part is painting the finished pictures and I have to remind myself to be patient.
Good luck with your creative projects.

Your friend, Jan Brett