web statistics
Currently Reading
  • Walk Two Moons
    Walk Two Moons
    by Sharon Creech
  • Howl's Moving Castle
    Howl's Moving Castle
    by Diana Wynne Jones

Children's Literature Network
The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators
The Rhode Island School of Design
The Children's Book Illustrator's Guild of Minnesota

Social Links

Happy Birthday, H.P. Lovecraft!

Providence is getting pretty pumped for this week's celebration of H.P. Lovecraft, NecronomiCon! It's going to be an event of truly cosmic proportions, with lectures, film screenings, art shows, a masquerade, and even a bazaar where yours truly will be selling autographed copies of The Antarctic Express, all to celebrate the "Old Man of Providence!"

The Antarctic Express Book Sale/Signing at NecronomiCon
: Saturday, August 24th, 2013
Time: 9:30 a.m. until sold out
Place: The L'Apogee at the Biltmore Hotel, 11 Dorrance Street, Providence, RI
Fee: Admission is free to all Necronomicon passholders.

For those of you who can't make it to this exciting conference, I'm holding an advance sale of The Antarctic Express - online until 8/24 - to celebrate Lovecraft's 123rd birthday! Order using Paypal below to get your autographed and inscribed copy ahead of the fans. This price includes tax and shipping, but only for buyers in the U.S.

The Antarctic Express


The Next Big Thing Blog Book Tour

Abby Murphy, one of my fabulous critique group buddies, tagged me for "The Next Big Thing" blog book tour. Illustrators and writers everywhere are blogging about their forthcoming publications or up-and-coming book projects. Today I'm going to post about A Charmed Life, the bilingual children's book I'm currently illustrating for Arte Público Press.

  1. What is the working title of your next book?
    A Charmed Life, written by Gladys E. Barbieri. This is her third book for children. She and I share the same middle name!
  2. Where did the idea come from for the book?
    I think Gladys based the story on an experience from her own childhood. My ideas for the illustrations are coming from photos and suggestions from the author, images that came to me while reading the manuscript, photo reference research, and my own thoughts as the daughter of a Mexican immigrant.
  3. What genre does your book fall under?
    It's a fictional, though very realistic, bilingual (Spanish and English) children's picture book.
  4. What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
    The story involves a little girl, her immigrant Latina mother, and her mother's employer, Mrs. Fitzpatrick. I love Selma Hayek and think she and her real-life daughter, Valentina, would be great to play the mother and main character. The mother doesn't actually get much dialogue in this story, but older readers will definitely pick up on her strength as a mom, her struggle to provide a better life for her daughter, and the sadness that any parent feels when they want to give their child everything but can't.
    Mrs. Fitzpatrick is in a late stage of pregnancy in this book, with all the hopes and dreams of raising a daughter of her own. As I sketch I'm spinning an additional narrative in my head where her pregnancy is actually very difficult and doing anything physical is risky, and that's why she hires the main character's mother to clean her house. I'd want a redhead who can portray sensitivity, warmth, and a sense of hope, so I'd cast Amy Adams.
  5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
    This story recounts a time when a young girl accompanies her mother to her job cleaning mansions in an upscale California neighborhood, and what happens when she meets the wealthy homeowner there.
  6. Who is publishing your book?
    My longtime publisher Arte Público Press. This will be my 6th book with them!
  7. How long did it take you to create the illustrations?
    I'm getting about a year to complete this book. They specifically requested that I paint this in my watercolor style so I'm definitely going to need ALL of that contracted time! A Charmed Life is scheduled to debut in the Spring of 2015.
  8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
    Since the story deals with the common immigrant issue of trying to provide a better life for one's family, I'd say it falls in with From North to South and My Shoes and I, both awesome bilingual books by René Colato Laínez.
  9. Who or what inspired you to illustrate this book?
    I found the story to be unlike anything I've been invited to illustrate before. It's a quiet sort of book, yet the topic speaks volumes. I'm also reminded of the sacrifices my parents made to provide my siblings and me with a better life than they had growing up. The mother in this story actually reminds me a lot of my own mother.
  10. What else about the book might pique the reader's interest?
    I live in a cozy New England home that reflects my rather spartan sense of home decorating, which is pretty far removed from the rich Beverly Hills mansion in which the book is set! I'm really scouring high-end home decorating catalogs for compositional ideas for interior scenes.

So there you have it! I hope you'll stay tuned for more updates on A Charmed Life in the months to come. Have a great week, everyone!


Major Updates!

Without meaning to, I've completely neglected my blog this summer. Recent events have reshaped my schedule and priorities, and I'm only just now able to wrap my mind around it all to craft a coherent post. 

Back in May my GI tract bailed on me without the decency of leaving a note. Months of appointments, tests, dietary restrictions, adverse reactions to medications, and a seemingly endless parade of medical bills have pretty much reduced me to this:

It will all be worth it once I reach a diagnosis and successful treatment, right? Right?!

There is a bright side, though! Around the same time some great opportunities came up for me. First, I was offered a position on a fabulous team that coordinates events for RISD's vast alumni network. It has been wonderful validation for years of volunteer experience with an organization that not only appreciates me, but also offers new challenges.

Later, I joined the staff at Studio Goodwin Sturges! Judy Sue Goodwin Sturges, owner and founder of the Studio, is one of my longtime mentors - I interned for her while a student at RISD and credit her with my decision to illustrate books for children. As a member of her team I'm critiquing artwork, reading manuscripts, promoting her authors and illustrators and coordinating the studio. The experience offers fresh and welcome perspective as "the other side" of the publishing industry, all very useful information as I continue to grow my own list of publishing credits and my mentoring and critique service for aspiring authors and illustrators.

Finally, I'm very pleased to announce that I'll be illustrating another bilingual children's picture book with Arte Público Press! A Charmed Life, written by Gladys E. Barbieri, will hit the shelves in 2015. My work has been quick, digital-heavy illustrations and design for the last year and it feels great to get back into traditional watercolor painting for this project. I'm looking forward to sharing my progress on this book with you!

Here's to covering a few more medical bills!

Have a great week, everyone!

Related Posts in the blog of Latina children's book illustrator Christina Rodriguez