When our children are small, I think most of us fantasize about who they’ll be when they grow up. What they’ll look like, will they look like you? Or be entirely their own person? What kind of personality will they have? Will they be funny? Smart? Laid back or driven?
It’s the same with writing. When I start a story I wonder what it will look like when it’s done? What will the reader see? Will my intention come across? After all, our stories are our babies too!
Well, I’ve had the incredible, and unexpected experience of combining those two things. I’ve been working on books with my oldest son, Gerrod. I’m writing them, and he’s doing the artwork for the covers.
As you know, my first book, #PleaseSayYes, released last year in a boxed set. And I loved the cover. I thought it was adorable. But, when I got my rights back, and released it this February by itself, I wanted a new cover. I wanted something that said, not just romantic comedy, but Hermosa Beach romcom. I wanted something custom. But I couldn’t justify the expense.
And then Gerrod, my oldest son, approached me. He’s gone back to school, for digital graphic design, and asked if he could have a shot at my book covers. I was surprised, because I know my books aren’t the kind of thing he reads, and it’s not the kind of artwork he would normally choose to do, but I was also thrilled at the opportunity to work on a creative project with my son.
I also knew that being creative means not just doing what you want to do, what you know best, but stretching yourself into other areas. I wrote advertising and press releases for car products, television commercials for water purification companies, and so many other writing projects that had nothing to do with me, but that required creativity and artistic skill.
We are however both new to this, and learning together could be a good thing or a bad thing. I didn’t want my writing project to cause friction between us.
So, of course, we dove into this project head first.
I gave Gerrod some photos of Hermosa Beach, and sent samples of other romcom covers that I liked, in order to give him an idea of where I wanted to go. He used what I’d given him to digitally hand draw sample scenes for me. It was rough at first, and more than a couple of times when the stress of the project, a death in the family, and other things got in the way I wanted to walk away. I’m sure he considered it as well, although regardless of what happened, he stayed on track, worked with me, and tried to give me what I wanted.
We argued about a few details here and there, but generally he agreed it was my book, and he did whatever it took. EXCEPT for when it came to my name. He felt that my handwriting was unique in itself and should go on the book. I, disagreed, and on this issue he dug in. Eventually, I relented, and the more I saw it on the cover, the more I liked it. (You can tell me what you think.)
But ultimately, I had the last say, I wanted him to sign his work. I was thrilled with the final product. On the post in the bottom right hand corner, you’ll see GGG. Those are Gerrod’s initials. They’re also on the back, bottom right hand corner by the helicopter!
Once book one was done, book 2, which will be released in just a few weeks, and book 3 coming in October, were a breeze to complete! I’m not supposed to share yet, but I just can’t help myself! I hope you like the cover for #FireworksintheFog as much as I do! But, you’ll have to wait to see book 3, Haunted Hermosa.
Bottom line, proud mama moment, and so thrilled to be sharing this experience with my son. We’re learning about the process together, and learning to work together as two artists, not mother and son.
So, they grow up, and become their own people, and sometimes, if you’re very lucky, who they are as an individual, and who you are as an individual are able to find a common ground, a special place that the two of you can share.
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