It's been some time since my last blog entry, and several months since my debut picture book was published. I've come to realise that I have never told the story behind the story. Today, I wanted to catch up and share how the inspiration for writing this picture book came about.
A few years ago, my son and I were taking a stroll along our favorite East Coast beach in Singapore. It turned into a routine during the COVID lockdowns. It became our form of meditation. One day we were collecting seashells, each one unique in its shape, color, and the occasional broken edge. At one moment my son stopped me and pointed out I have overlooked a few on the way, and I was assuming he wouldn’t want those in the collection. He taught me a lesson when he shared a thought, saying, "Mom, just like these shells, people come in various shapes and colors, and sometimes they have broken edges, but that's what makes them unique and precious."
His words resonated with me deeply. It was during this moment that an idea began to root in my mind. This idea took me on a journey to create a picture book celebrating and embracing differences.
The two years were an adventure of highs and lows, stagnation, and motivation. The journey truly tested my perseverance and creativity. One of the most challenging aspects was attempting to illustrate the story with mixed media which is something I truly enjoy doing in my free time. The demands of daily life, which included caring for a baby and a teenager, left me with little time for such an intensive task but I was determined to see my vision through. I conducted some research and came across an illustrator, the lovely young and talented Maria Flo from Argentina. We began a year-long collaboration that brought my words to life with vibrant, enchanting illustrations that captured the story. Maria’s work on the illustrations, the back and forth communication throughout the illustration phases motivated me to revise the story drafts and finalize the story.
Next step - publishing. I went through some obstacles as every author would during the process of publishing but I was lucky to meet an enthusiastic agent from a local publishing house in Singapore who liked the story and the illustrations and it all went smoothly from there. Finally, after two years of hard work and dedication, I held in my hands a my first published picture book. "The Seashell Collector" is a book that celebrates and embraces our differences. My hope is that this book will inspire children and adults alike to celebrate and appreciate the unique qualities that make each of us who we are.
In the end, it was a journey worth taking, and I'm grateful for every step of the way. On to the next one! Stay Tuned!