Jonathan is really, really supportive of my writing. He’s given me time, space, encouragement and the occasional dry-your-eyes pep talk our entire marriage concerning my writing dreams.
That’s why my two novels are both dedicated to him. Without my husband, they would not exist. I mean that most sincerely.
We usually work on separate projects but over the past few years, we’ve melded our artistic brains together on occasion. Fat and Appy Modern Art for Children is probably the biggest effort. But we also joined forces for my middle grade manuscript, MAGICAL RAINTREE DAUGHTERS.
Our newest project is a picture book—my first one ever! I thought ideas for picture books only flowed to one Fenske in the house, but a story popped into my head this summer. I was kind of shocked. Then, I wrote it down. Pages and pages overflowing from my pen. I handed it to Jonathan, sure he would connect with the text and bow low before me. (Just kidding on that last part.)
“Before lunch, a boy rode past with his dog. The boy jumped high. He jumped hard.” Illustration by Jonathan Fenske
He read it right away and then handed it back, saying kindly that I needed to get it down under 300 words. In other words, I needed to slash oodles and oodles of text. Words. Phrases. Helpful adjectives. You know, my stuff.
Jonathan was completely correct. So I edited. Cut. Cut some more. Argued over word choice with Jonathan. Described some illustrations to him. Daydreamed about others that might come into shape once he started drawing.
It’s still a work in progress, but Jonathan has given me a rough illustration style he’s going for to match the sparse (now 199 words!!) text and the (I hope) evocative feeling of the story.
More details later. But I wanted to post this illustration because, to me, it represents love and dreams.