I have been asked in author interviews which of my books is my favorite. My latest book, Summer Celebration, is my favorite!
Summer Celebration is a picture book for all ages. The poems in the book are based on my childhood memories. Some of these poems were written years ago, and were waiting for just the right time and illustrations to bring them to life, which bring me to another reason why this is my favorite book.
When I was in seventh grade I already knew I wanted to be a writer. I had two very close friends, Darla and Cindy. Darla was an accomplished artist, who showed and sold her work in local art shows. We decided when we grew up, I would write books, Darla would illustrate them, and Cindy would be our business manager.
Cindy moved to another state after eighth grade. Darla and I continued together through high school, but went to different universities after graduating. Though living far apart, the three of us kept in touch through letters and phone calls. As technology expanded, we corresponded through email and social media. We graduated from college, married, had careers and children. Darla and Cindy had grandchildren.
In June 2020, I woke one morning with a poem on my mind. I had thought about this poem off and on for the last twenty years. It was about the sweet, drippy, sticky treats one ate in the summer, like watermelon and snow cones. That morning, the verses were there, ready to be written down. I wrote them and posted them on Facebook. Darla saw the poem and asked if she could illustrate it. Her pictures were wonderful! That is how Summer Celebration came to be—and how, after all these years, we fulfilled our plan to work together with me writing and Darla illustrating. And Cindy was our editor! The three of us sent many texts and emails over the next several months. We had wonderful phone conversations. The end result is this beautiful book, my favorite of the books I’ve written. I hope it becomes a favorite for you as well.
As Cindy wrote in the introduction: “Our desire is for these poems, illustrations, and Bible verses to delight the hearts of children and those who hold them dear. We lovingly dedicate this book to our parents, siblings, children, and grandchildren, who collectively inspired the poems and pictures.”