It’s been five years since this manuscript sold and while I can’t say it feels like just yesterday, I can say that it’s been worth the wait.
I heard Allyn Johnston, editor of Beach Lane Books (Simon & Schuster), speak in early 2009 at a UCLA Extension workshop she did with author and friend, Ann Whitford Paul. At that time Allyn was just launching her new imprint, Beach Lane Books. She shared a glorious manuscript with the class – one that she would be publishing later that year called ALL THE WORLD, written by Liz Garton Scanlon, illustrated by Marla Frazee. It was, of course, stunning, as all Allyn’s books are. (As an aside, Allyn was the first editor I heard speak many years ago at an LA SCBWI Working Writer’s Retreat. Even then, as a newbie to children’s writing, I could tell she was a dream editor, at the top of anyone’s “best picture book editor” lists.)
I remember flipping through the first proofs of ALL THE WORLD and thinking about all the books Allyn had published over the years. She was, after all, the editor of two of my all time favorite picture book writers – Cynthia Rylant and Mem Fox. It seemed impossible that one of my manuscripts would find a spot on my dream editor’s list. And yet that’s exactly what happened!
It didn’t feel real then, and, to be honest, it still doesn’t. And then, the good news got even better when Allyn chose Beth Krommes, winner of the Caldecott for THE HOUSE IN THE NIGHT, (by Susan Marie Swanson) to illustrate BLUE on BLUE.
It goes without saying – it’s been an amazing experience – the best of everything I could ever hope or dream for. I’m grateful for all of it – start to finish – and can’t wait to share BLUE on BLUE with readers.