Books And Gardens

When I’m not writing, my favorite thing to do is to garden. I inherited this love of plants and planting (and even weeding) honestly from a long line of fine gardeners on both sides of my family. As my husband will attest, I can spend hours happily looking at plants and flowers in a garden nursery…which is actually where we met!

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The back yard of my new home has nothing but grass, so I’m itching to begin digging in the dirt to create a flower garden. I’ve chosen a spot and made a rough garden plan but haven’t yet had the free time to get started outside.

My great-grandmother’s gardening book. It was published in 1960.

The parallels between my two favorite pastimes have not escaped me. Both writing books and planting gardens involve creating something new (and hopefully, beautiful) out of nothing but ideas and inspiration. I like this kind of challenge because it’s exciting to begin and not know where the journey will take me or even what I will have at the end.

Garden plans are a lot like book outlines. You begin with an idea and start working and new ideas evolve as you go. Often, those ideas turn into something even better than you originally imagined.

When I was turning my first story, “The Button Box” into a book, I had a hazy picture in my mind of how I wanted it to look. As I worked with my friend and illustrator, Vicki Guess, on the book, the picture gradually came into focus. At one point, I told Vicki that I saw realistic pictures in the original crayon colors for my story. I even gave her a box of the basic eight at one of our monthly work meetings.

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As the book progressed and I began working with the graphic designer on the layout, we tried different fonts for the story until we found the one that seemed to fit the best. The original checked background on the book cover was actually in blue, but we decided it wasn’t quite right. I think the tan check is the perfect background and actually highlights the pictures.

In June, Vicki and I will begin work on our fourth book together. I’m currently writing two stories but neither one is finished. I’m not sure yet which one will be the next book, but that’s part of the fun of the process!

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As winter comes to an end and we are on the threshold of spring (at least in Texas), I feel the seeds of ideas that I’ve been tossing around since the fall, begin to take shape. Spring reminds us that each ending is a new beginning. It’s seems appropriate that it’s springtime…the season of hope and rebirth…as I prepare to create both a new book and a new garden!

Happy Easter!

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