Thursday, December 12, 2013
By Ray Routhier firstname.lastname@example.org
Jamie Hogan has been a professional illustrator for years, creating pieces for newspapers, magazines and books.
But it wasn't until she had a child -- a daughter named Daisy -- that she began to think about what it might take to write and illustrate a children's book.
When Daisy was young, Hogan attended a picture book workshop at the Maine College of Art in Portland. As part of the course, she did a mock-up book about Daisy and the family's life on Peaks Island.
She continued to work on it off and on for years, finally submitting it to publishers.
Hogan got 10 rejections before she self-published the book in 2009. It then caught the attention of Down East Books, which is re-releasing "Seven Days of Daisy" this spring.
The book is the story of Daisy, around age 4, counting the days until her grandmother would come to visit her on Peaks Island. The real Daisy is now 14.
Hogan lives on Peaks Island with her family, and teaches illustration at the Maine College of Art.
Q: After illustrating other people's books for many years, what prompted you to write your own?
A: Once you start having children and get into that world, you become more aware of children's books. When we first moved to Peaks, (children's author) Kevin Hawkes was out here, and I went to his studio and marveled at the commitment of doing a whole 32 pages. I thought it might be an interesting thing to get into.
Once we had a child, I started scrutinizing children's books, and then I did the (picture book) workshop at MECA. We were encouraged to write what we know, and so I wrote about what my daughter was doing, about small activities that are big for kids. Things like waiting, and trying to understand the passage of time.
After the workshop, I decided to continue working on it. When I started teaching at MECA, I put it off and didn't do anything with it. But then I noticed my students were doing books with an online publisher.
So I took a cue from my students and thought I could do that, too.
Q: Is the story based on a real event?
A: The thing that the story is wrapped around is waiting for Nana, and my mother was coming for a visit.
I wanted the story to be about waiting for something, and I thought that could be a good thing to be waiting for.
Q: Was it tough to write in the voice of a 4-year-old child?
A: I think if you really listen to kids, it's not that hard. Because I did freelance (illustrations), I was able to spend a lot of time with my daughter.
I'm glad I had those moments, because they go by so fast. Just lazy summer activities that end up being incredibly memorable. I would jot down phrases, and being an illustrator, I always have a camera with me.
When I was coming up with the idea, I wanted to make sure I had a lot of things about Maine.
Somebody gave us "Miss Rumphius" by Barbara Cooney, and there are so many wonderful details that make it truly a Maine story.
So in my book, I wanted it to be a child in Maine who is rooted in her activities.
Q: What's the difference between illustration and drawing?
A: A good illustration is a drawing that tells a story. It's important to have good drawing skills and use them to convey exactly what you're being asked to convey.
A good illustrator is a visual problem solver.
Staff Writer Ray Routhier can be contacted at 791-6454 or at: