Erin Kleveland and I, Micheline Ryckman are working hard towards our goal of creating a new graphic novel series for Whimsical in 2017. If you follow along with me on Instagram you’ll have had the opportunity to get to know the constantly evolving characters from this new world. I thought it might be fun to share with you here as well a bit more of my concept illustrations, a blurb about the upcoming series and a new concept idea for a cover (not set in stone though.) Hope you enjoy these! “Talia Benson would consider herself fairly ordinary. Anyone would. Diligent student, only child to a single mother, protector of three cats, nothing special ever seems to happen to her. Life’s consistent rhythm brightened only by Talia’s talent for art and her obsession with the stars, a single evening in front of a blank canvas becomes the adventure she never dreamed she wanted. Swept away from the only life she had ever known, Talia now finds herself lost and alone in a world completely unlike her own. In a land where magic thrives and wars are born then die at the wave of a hand, strange creatures decide the fate of those who live among the Nine Realms. The guardians of this foreign world have felt a great shift in the heavens. Something has changed. A darkness is coming. No one would believe that a simple girl thrown between worlds could be the key to saving them all.”
Last week I got to read Miss Emily Goes to Bat to three different classrooms (photos an updates on these coming soon!). I hadn’t read to a group for over a month and was surprised by just how much I’d missed it.
The thing is, I can’t sing. I love music – blues, big band, do-wop, country, reggae, classic rock, 80’s hair bands, 90’s grunge and yes, even the new bands whose lead singers are young enough to be my own kids.
I watch American Idol, The Voice and even that cheesy game show, Don’t forget the Lyrics. But I can’t sing. In fact I’m such a bad singer that when my boys Will and Thom were babies and nursing, anytime I began to sing to them they’d respond with a tiny little hand to my mouth. “Please don’t sing mom, you’re ruining a perfectly good meal here.”
So you see, I’ll never make it as a rock star. Naturally I thought that the acclaim of the crowd (or even my babies) was forever out of my grasp. And then Miss Emily happened and the crowd went wild…
Yes, I know it’s not really me; it’s Miss Emily and Will and Thom that the kids love. Yes, I realize that their laughter is really reserved for the three mice riding on the top of the bus, that their attention is on Rover the Dog as he steps in a pail and they lean forward in their seats –breaths held in anticipation– over Coach Burt’s reaction to the “mess that’s been made”.
But when the story is over and I see the small hands lift up from within the crowd of listeners, not to ask for silence but to ask questions, I realize I might be wrong. I think about the melody in narrative, the tempo in the telling, the chorus of action in all the characters. Maybe I’m just singing a different kind of song after all.