I think an embarrassing confession is always a good way to start an introduction. Here’s mine: I can barely remember getting “the call” about the sale of my debut picture book, BABYMOON. If you saw the dates, you’d think the period between my signing with Ammi-Joan Paquette and the sale of my first book was an easy, breezy stroll. In truth, it was more like zooming past Bigfoot standing by the side of the highway. I know I saw something, but I’m not sure what it was.
It had been a long haul for my little (140 word) manuscript. I had worked on it for ages. My mathematically-minded husband estimated it was something like 30 hours per word, but that’s far too conservative. In the way of all writers, even when I wasn’t working on it, I was working on it. I was deeply attached.
From the moment BABYMOON went out on submission, I was on edge, and by on edge I mean that my entire body busted out in anxiety hives.
After a few emails with a Candlewick editor, I had reason to hope that BABYMOON had found a home. When the sale became official, I expected to be jubilant. Mostly, however, I felt relieved. I had done all I could for my little book-to-be. Now it would have its chance in the big, wide world.
BABYMOON is my “heart book.” Before my children were born, I planned to become a midwife. I care deeply about families. While I can no longer stay up all night to personally welcome a newborn, I hope to encourage the idea that babies should be ushered into the world with gentleness and respect. My hope is that this book will inspire expectant families to spend a secluded day or two with their new little one before the whirlwind of everyday life resumes.
So, that’s my story. The hives are gone, and I’m learning about the process of transforming a manuscript into a book. It’s challenging and exciting and full of anticipation. Just like a real baby, I don’t know what BABYMOON will look like, but I know I’ll love it and will work hard to give it a good start.
This blog post is now at 395 words and, as I’m (mostly) a picture book writer, I’ll stop here. Have a creative day.
Hayley’s debut picture book, BABYMOON, is coming from Candlewick Press. She writes picture books, sometimes in rhyme, and is working on a MG novel. She loves to care for and ride horses and volunteers at Windrush Farm, a therapeutic riding establishment. She has a pet chicken that lives at her friend’s house. Said chicken will someday be the subject of a picture book. Find her (Hayley, not the chicken) on Twitter @hayleybwrites. She is represented by Ammi-Joan Paquette.