Last year I was inspired by something said by the host of Chai-y's funeral, which prompted me to rewrite my granny's story. Because of the story's narrative, I even invited the sons of my colleague Emily, Liang and Yo, to illustrate the story together with me. I didn't spend much time making the book since it had been a story that I wanted to tell all these years.
This was a very special experience because it was my first time doing collaborative work. In the beginning, I wasn't sure if the plan was feasible. I hesitated at first for I felt a great sense of guilt in not being able to let Liang exert his creativity. However, thanks to Emily's determination and persistence, we gradually found ways to collaborate. In the process, I gained much strength from my partners, and this was what I couldn't imagine when I worked all by myself. For example, we would share what we had done with each other on a regular basis. Our mutual encouragement made me feel that I could go on and finish the project with ease.
Liang and Yo had to redraw the same pictures several times before the final version. My thanks to them are really beyond description. The design and arrangement of the images also surprise readers when they open the book.
Though I wasn't even shortlisted this year in the picture book award of the picture book competition held by Hsin-y Publisher, I bounced back soon after taking my time to get over the frustration. I guess constant failures have turned me into a very powerful person. Fortunately, friends gave me great feedback regarding how to revise the story. The best advice is that I should try to tell the story from a child's perspective and give concrete imagery especially when it comes to a difficult issue like death. Meanwhile, I remind myself that I should write out of joy and constantly consult my young readers.
This week I finally got the printed version of the book, and there are only three copies in the world. I will definitely transform the story into another one when I feel ready. Then, the books I have written along the way will be amazing when they are juxtaposed together!