“Mom gave us our signed copy of your book just this last weekend when we were there. Wow, it’s beautiful. The story is very sweet and gentle and the drawings outstanding. I really love it. In light of your un-Hampton blog entry, I can now see aspects of Pine Neck in those drawings. The last 2-page drawing with the big blue flowers in the foreground is really spectacular. Hydrangeas? It reminds me of the hydrangea hedge just up the block. Good luck with book sales. I can't imagine that anyone who picks it up and actually looks at it wouldn't want to buy it. Have any ideas for a second book?”
Yes, Kenny – lots of ideas for a second, third, fourth, and so on, but will I ever? Now, that’s the question! It’s truly amazing - years ago, I wondered where authors found their inspirations and now I am bombarded with them, even when not consciously looking.
In regards to the illustrations in The Big Bad Rain Monster, most of them originated from photos I took and forwarded to Karen, my illustrator. The hydrangeas that you are recalling from “up the block,” are indeed the ones in the book. Karen did an awesome job capturing the likeness of all; of course, her artist eye created beauty from her own imagination as well.
One thing I’m sure you didn’t notice in the book was the subliminal references to Keith and Audra. On two different pages, Mama Angel wears a deep red apron which bears the lettering: AKA, Audra’s childhood initials. Towards the very back, there's a yellow kite with the letters: KFA. Yes, you guessed it; those are Keith’s initials and there's something very special about them being on a kite, but since Keith appreciates anonymity, mum’s the word – no pun intended.
It warms my writer’s heart to have such supportive family members, friends, fans, and an illustrator that rocks! Mega thanks Kenny - feedback is always appreciated. Now if I could only draw the attention of Gwyneth Paltrow.