Angeline Jellybean is a delightful story about a little girl who wanted to eat nothing but jellybeans. Crystalee wrote a story that children will like, and then Stephen brought the story to life with his illustrations.
All right, let’s get the general questions out of the way first:
Crystalee, I know you write other genres, but you seem to have an excellent grasp for children’s books. Where or how have you gained training in writing for children?
I never considered writing books for children until I was in grad school to get my
Stephen, you are an experienced illustrator (4RV and its authors are fortunate you joined them). When and how did you begin illustrating children’s books?
I attended the
Now, let’s find out more about Angeline as well as Crystalee and Stephen.
Crystalee, we’ve known each other for a few years, yet when you submitted Angeline, you didn’t trade on that online friendship, never letting me know that Crystalee was the Crys I knew. But I immediately wanted Angeline Jellybean when I read it. What caused you to consider 4RV?
Well, first of all, thank you for immediately wanting it! That was a big compliment to me. I knew you worked hard on your books and also that you worked closely with your authors to make sure the finished product was as good as possible. I also figured that submitting to a small press would be the way to go in order to break into the publishing business. I wanted to submit my work on my own just to prove that I could do it. I didn’t want anyone to accuse you of showing favoritism or helping me get into the business, so I didn’t disclose my online identity to you at the time.
Stephen, we didn’t know each other before you appeared on the 4RV “doorstep,” but your work immediately caused me to want you for us. What lead you to 4RV?
You posted a request for illustrators on a chat board for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators that I frequented from time to time. It is not often that a publisher will ask openly for submissions, so I thought why not summit my work and let the cards fall as they may.
Crystalee, what gave you the idea for Angeline?
I honestly have no idea. I was taking the picture book class that I mentioned before. Our assignment was to write a picture book under 500 words, and that’s exactly what I did. I decided to make it in rhyme because I had never written a picture book in rhyme before. That’s how Angeline was born. I wish I remembered where I came up with the storyline, because I get asked this question so often that I should really have a poetic answer.
Stephen, how did you manage to “picture” Angeline so well that Crys considered her exactly what she “pictured”?
Truthfully, luck. I was only given the first few sentences of the story. I could see she was a tough little cookie who liked things her own way. I was doing one sketch after another and one just kind of hit me as this is the one! This is her.
Since Angeline Jellybean is a very short book, I won’t ask for a summary, but I would like to know how each of you would describe or characterize Angeline. All authors and illustrators know that characters do become real.
Angeline is really your average little girl. She knows what she wants and she wants it NOW. She is strongly opinionated for her age. She is also, obviously, a very picky eater. She is pretty much the equivalent of me right now. Jellybeans are to her what chocolate is to me!
She reminds me a bit of my girlfriend and niece rolled into one, very independent, intelligent, and strong willed individual.
Crystalee, can we expect any more children’s projects from you? Please, share what, if possible?
I have many picture books in the works, some of which aren’t finished. I also just completed my very first young adult novel, which is written in poetry. I hope to have a long life as a published author. I think my YA manuscript will be the next project sent out for submission.
(We're hoping she considers 4RV again.)
Stephen, I know you have finished another project for 4RV already, but do you have any other ones in the works? What are they?
Yes, I just finished a book entitled Colors which is also available. I’m working on three other stories for 4RV. I’m very close to completing Would a Kanagaraffe make you Laffe? and will soon start If Fish Could Drive, and The Marshmallow Man.
Finally, what else would you like readers to know about Crystalee Calderwood and Stephen Macquignon?
I never thought I’d be here at my age. Or at all, really. But I finally feel like I’ve found my passion in writing children’s books. I’m really a big kid deep down inside, so the joy that writing children’s books gives me is immeasurable.
I love illustrating children’s books and hope to have a long career!
Tomorrow's stop on the Angeline Jellybean book blog tour will be Renaissance Seamstress
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