June Hedge a gram

Happy June!

     I hope that you all are enjoying the outdoors, and getting inspired by nature.  We are in our log cabin by the lake and I like being able to balance outdoor fun with working on my book.  Every month I try to create a snapshot of how I'm doing on my book so all you future illustrators will know what to expect.
      The beginning of June means going to the United State's biggest book convention.  It includes adult and children's book authors.  Publisher have booths with shelves of their new books.  Most won't be published for six months, so there's lots of excitement about seeing a preview.  The part I like best is seeing authors and illustrators that I admire.  Sometimes they are larger than life and sometimes it takes a while to match the person with their work.  Many bookstore owners go to Book Expo and it is fun to see people who have stores that I've visited.
     My editor, Margaret will be at the children's book breakfast and I will give her the dummy of GINGERBREAD FRIENDS that I worked on in May.  It took about a month.   I worked from a manuscript that my editor though was okay.  I say okay because she thought I should make it more exciting.  The dummy, or working sketches for the book is 32 pages.  I fashioned it into a small book so I can get the flow of the story, but another way to do it is to make panels that can be spread out and compared.
     Since the book involves a lot of gingerbread characters, and part of it takes place in a bakery.   I think it would be very authentic to make some of the cookies and cakes myself.  I especially want to make those lollipops that have pretty colorful flowery designs like Venetian glass.  Baking is my favorite way to cook, especially if it is bread, but cookies are a close second.
     I've always been intrigued with the idea that somewhere in a familiar room  a hidden door might open to reveal another mysterious, wonderful room.  I have had dreams about this, and many of my favorite books have this idea in them, THE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE by C. S. Lewis, ALICE IN WONDERLAND by Lewis Carroll, and  THE TALE OF TOM KITTEN by Beatrix Potter are a few that come to mind.  My Brett grandparents lived in a very old house on Main Street in Hingham called the Roseneath Cottage.  If you walked into a closet in the bedroom, you could find a door that opened into a cozy, windowless room, next to the chimney.  The story was told to me that it was built for the Underground Railroad,  when people sympathetic to freeing slaves, hid African Americans who were traveling toward a free life.  I was only five at the time, but I was fascinated by this room.  In my book, GINGERBREAD FRIENDS, I hope my strong feelings about a secret room will come out in the story.
     Good luck with your writing and illustrating.  Maybe if you think of a theme that fascinates you, it will appear in your creative project.

                              Your friend,

                                Jan Brett