After writing, producing, composing and collaborating in the world of musical theater, I thought writing children’s books would be refreshingly simple. Reality … it is anything but simple, and it is extraordinarily fulfilling.
At a musical theater workshop that I attended with the famous Broadway composer/lyricist Stephen Sondheim (Sweeney Todd, West Side Story), Sondheim said: “God is in the details.” That has been my mantra as I have pursued my dream to publish my own line of children’s books.
As I launched my new company Booksicals in 2008 and found myself as author of my debut picture book Too Many Visitors for One Little House and also editor, design director, marketing manager and publisher, I kept Sondheim’s words prominently in my head.
First came the details of character development: the long conversations with illustrator Veronica Walsh, the multiple drafts of character illustrations with decisions about facial gestures, body positions, clothing worn, etc. And with every draft the ever-present doubts — will anyone really notice this detail? Will anyone really l care? Yet with Sondheim’s words reverberating in my head, I forged ahead revision after revision.
And now as I near the end of this wonderfully collaborative and creative process, once again I face the challenge of deciding when is the project finally done. As draft after draft from the printer comes back with a shade of a page too dark, a font that does not italicize nicely, an illustration slightly off center, and other endless details, I ask myself again — will anyone really notice? And just as I’m about to let something slide, I remind myself of Sondheim’s words: ” God is in the details.”