Awaiting an Illustrator

There are so many exciting steps along the way in a writer’s journey.  Some of them, like getting books in the mail or doing a first book signing, you’ve heard about and expect to be amazing experiences.  But some of the other milestones have taken me by surprise.  Like when my editor emailed me last year with the ISBN number for Spitfire, my first regional historical novel. 

ISBN number???  I have an ISBN number?  I have an ISBN number!!! 

I was so giddy that a slightly snarky friend suggested I have the number tattooed on my forehead.

Today was another one of those memorable milestones.  I got an email from Melissa, my editor at Chronicle Books, which is publishing my first picture book, Over and Under the Snow.  She’d just come from a meeting with Chronicle’s design department,  and she wanted to share the short list of illustrators under consideration.  They are all amazing.  I spent half the night online, looking at websites and portfolios and requesting picture books from the library.  Obviously, it’s way too early in the process for me to share much.  But I can share this…

Wow.  Just wow.   It’s humbling to think that someone with such incredible talent will create art to tell a story with my words. 

I’d love to hear thoughts from those of you who have been through this process.  I can’t begin to imagine how exciting it will be to see the final illustrations.

I know there’s more work to do with this manuscript.  There’s editing.  I still have to fill out that long author questionnaire (I’m working on it, really…).  And I’m sure there will be bumps in the road before my picture book is a book.  But for now, what a gift  – to be able to look at the work of such amazing artists and imagine what each of them might bring to SNOW with their unique styles and moods. 

Tonight, I’ll be dreaming in pen and ink, watercolor, mixed media, and everything in between.

Happy, Happy Book News!

It’s official!  Super-Agent literaticat   says I can share the news that’s had me over the moon for the past three weeks or so….

She sold my picture book to Chronicle Books!  Here’s the official announcement from Publishers Marketplace:

Picture book 
Kate Messner’s OVER AND UNDER THE SNOW, in which a girl on a ski trip discovers the secrets of the animal kingdom beneath the snow, to Melissa Manlove at Chronicle, by Jennifer Laughran at Andrea Brown Literary Agency (World).

…and here are some of the juicy details.

If you read my blog much, you know that I love spending time outdoors in every season — especially winter.  Really astute blog readers might even remember this entry, where I talked about a snowshoe trip I took with my 7th grade students in the Adirondacks.  We saw tracks like these…

…disappearing into a crevice in the packed snow and heard all about the tunnels of the subnivean zone, under the snow.  I was enchanted.  So I started reading and researching and writing, and playing around with the poetry of snow, and then I went to the Kindling Words retreat and shared the manuscript with a new writer friend, Joan.  She loved it and gave me a few ideas for revision.  In early February, I sent OVER AND UNDER THE SNOW off to Jennifer, my agent.  She fell in love and sent it out to a few editors she thought might fall in love, too.

One of them did.  She took the book through the acquisitions process, and Chronicle’s formal offer came a few weeks ago. 

I am thrilled — more than thrilled — to be working with a house that publishes such beautiful, beautiful picture books.  Plus, there’s the added bonus of Ivy & Bean.  My daughter LOVES the Ivy & Bean series and was very excited when she found out it’s the same publisher.  I told her this kind of makes her related to Ivy and Bean in a way…like distant cousins or something. 

Since then, my house has been a chatty, excited place — even more so than usual.  There’s been a lot of squealing and jumping up and down and imagining what the illustrations will look like. I’m early for the Thankful Thursday blog post, but this time, I was too thankful to wait.

best tracker