One of the best things about being in this industry is the people. Really great people. People who say yes when a complete stranger (me!) reaches out to them to ask them if they’d be my Friend Friday friend. One of those great people is today’s guest, Shanda McCloskey, whose debut picture book, Doll-E 2.0 (Little Brown Books for Young Readers) just came out on Tuesday! You will love this STEM approach to a comforting and familiar childhood connection. At the end of Shanda’s essay, you’ll find information on how you can enter a giveaway for an autographed copy of Doll-E 2.0, along with some fun swag. Read on!
Some say, that to write a great story, you should make the worst thing imaginable (for a certain character) happen. So then we can witness that character pull through and come out stronger on the other side.
Two plus years ago my eyes had an unexpected reaction to Lasik surgery, leaving me with a sampler platter of all sorts of eye health issues and blurry sight that could not be corrected. I had signed with an agent just 2 months prior, but I now found myself unable to draw or write. I couldn’t see it. I was devastated. The world I used to exist in (with good eyesight and book dreams) was now a dark, dark place. Because I chose to have unnecessary surgery. I fell into deep despair and slept all the time.
I’ll stop there because this is not a post about how horrible depression can be. Just know it was bad. Really bad.
Six months went by, and my vision improved a little and I was (and still am) under the care of good doctors. My agent (who stuck with me through all this) encouraged me to finish the book dummy we had started when we first started working together. I finished it within a few months, and my agent sent out the submission to a handful of editors. THAT was an exciting day! Four publishers wanted it! FOUR!
And my first book went to auction! After the bids were in, my book (Doll-E 1.0) found its perfect home at Little, Brown Books For Young Readers.
I’m still in awe of how my tragedy was met with my triumph! … Like it was skillfully crafted by an author… to show me strength I didn’t know I had, as well as, true love and friendship I didn’t believe existed until I experienced it poured over me. It was wild! Somehow, I had pulled through the despair to the other side. Like a hero in a good story.
I wanted to write this to encourage other writers and illustrators (aspiring and experienced) who feel like life has really gotten in the way. If you look, you’ll probably find some good mixed in with the mess.
I hope you enjoy Doll-E 1.0! Creating it was my healing!
Shanda has graciously offered to give away a Doll-E 1.0 book, 3 large vinyl Doll-E stickers, and laptop compact mirror/doll computer! To enter please click this Rafflecopter Link. Good luck!
Shanda (rhymes with panda) McCloskey comes from a whole family of different kinds of artists! She studied art in Atlanta and New York City. But before writing and illustrating kids’ books, she taught art to high-schoolers. Shanda is the mama of two young girls and the wife of a cute web developer. DOLL-E 1.0 (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers) is a STEM-friendly tale of a girl and the doll she upgrades to be her new friend! It is Shanda’s very first book about robots or anything for that matter! You can learn more about Shanda on Instagram or on Twitter.