Illustrator at work

One of the most wonderful things about writing a picture book is seeing what the illustrator brings to life. It's the most exciting sense of anticipation... what will my main character look like? Where will she live? Will she be made of delicate water colors or carefully cut paper, or combinations of art supplies that only illustrators and art directors know how to talk about?

My manuscript, Big Cat Pepper, is in the hands of illustrator Lauren Castillo. Her drawings are delicate and whimsical and touching all at the same time. She's posted a few incredible cat sketches on her blog as she finds her way into the manuscript. Which one will turn into my beloved Pepper?

People often don't realize that the editors get to choose the illustrators. There are a lot of good reasons for this. Editors see lots of portfolios, know who is fun to work with, who gets their work in on time, and all kinds of things I know nothing about. But if you are really, really lucky, your editor will ask you how you feel about someone they are thinking of approaching. When Jill Davis told me she was considering Lauren, I went to her website and starting shouting, "Yes! Yes! Ask her!"

And Lauren said yes, and here I am, eagerly waiting to see what Big Cat Pepper looks like, where he lives, and the boy and his mom who love him.