Looking Back, Looking Forward

Last week, Facebook reminded me of a memory. On September 29, six whole years ago, I posted that I had just finished a first draft of a chapter book.

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Less than a year from now, on July 11, that chapter book, Jasmine Toguchi, Mochi Queen, will be published by FSG. Not only that, but a second book in the series, Jasmine Toguchi, Super Sleuth, will also be released at the same time. AND, there are two more books in the series.

When I finished that first draft, I had no clue how long it would take me to revise and then sell that book. I accumulated many many rejections over the years. I share details of that journey here: The Long Bumpy Road. It’s more than a dream come true to have a series!

Since signing the contract with FSG, I’ve been working with my editor, the fabulous Grace Kendall. Let me tell you, it was well worth the wait to partner with Grace because not only does she love and understand Jasmine, Grace makes me a better writer.

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This journey has been heady, exciting, and thrilling with so many pinch-me moments. Since spring of 2015:

  • Received editorial letter and completed revisions with Grace
  • Found out that the talented Elizabet Vukovic is the series illustrator
  • Viewed rough sketches of Jasmine and her family
  • Completed copyedits of Mochi Queen
  • Viewed spot illustrations of Mochi Queen
  • Received draft of the cover art of Mochi Queen (kudos to designer Kristie Radwilowicz who did an amazing job)

I’m still in awe. I sometimes can’t believe that any of these things are happening. In fact, I’ve welled up with tears of joy at each and every step. I can’t wait to share illustrations and the cover art. I love Elizabet’s drawings of Jasmine and her family. As a not-very-visual writer, I had a vague idea of what Jasmine looked like. It wasn’t until I saw Elizabet’s illustrations that I knew what Jasmine looked like. Does that make sense? Now I can see Jasmine and her family and friends in my head.

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As soon as I’m able, I will share illustrations/cover art here!

I’m currently waiting to see the spot illustrations and cover art for book 2. I’m giddy! And soon I’ll be revising books 3 and 4 with Grace’s fabulous and wise feedback. I am seriously loving each and every step of this journey. I might sound a bit “Pollyanna” about this process, but believe me, prior to making this sale, I had plenty of doubts, plenty of bad days, plenty of down days. I’m truly grateful to be where I am now. I am looking forward to the next steps on this path!


web_edit6xx8t3624Debbi Michiko Florence writes full time in her cozy studio, The Word Nest. Her favorite writing companions are her rabbit, Aki, and her two ducks, Darcy and Lizzy.

The first two books of her debut chapter book series Jasmine Toguchi will be coming out from Farrar Straus Giroux on July 11, 2017, with two more books to follow. She is also the author of two nonfiction children’s books.

Before she started writing as her career, Debbi worked at a pet store, volunteered as a raptor rehabilitator, interned as a zookeeper’s aide, taught fifth grade, and was the Associate Curator of Education for a zoo.

You can visit her online on her web site and her reading blog. She’s also on Twitter.

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17 Comments

Filed under Dreams Come True, Editing and Revising, Faith, joy, Thankfulness

17 responses to “Looking Back, Looking Forward

  1. Debbi, I’m so excited for you!😊

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  2. I can’t wait to read ALL the Jasmine Toguchi books! Thanks for sharing your journey, Debbi!

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  3. mariagianferrari

    Hooray for double releases, Debbi!! Looking forward to celebrating twin birthdays for Jasmine next year on 7/11!! 🙂

    A very fortuitous date indeed–it’s EB White’s BD too (just found that out by reading Melissa Sweet’s excellent bio Some Writer 😉 ) ❤ ❤

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  4. This is so well-deserved, Debbi. Congratulations!!!

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  5. So happy for you, Debbi! What a wonderful break for you to get a series AND a great editor with whom to work.. Wishing Jasmine a long and happy “life” with many twists, turns, and adventures in the years to come.

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  6. Elly Swartz

    Love this post and so grateful to be on this journey with you. Am beyond excited for your books to find their way into the hands of eager readers. This is just the beginning! Go, Debbi! Go, Jasmine! xoxo

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  7. There’s something really cool about spot illustrations! Enjoy!

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  8. I just love this post! It’s so cool to look back and see all the steps unfolding in the publication process! Can’t wait to read JASMINE!

    Like

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