November 19, 2012

The Idea Behind The Story - Clara Bowman-Jahn Author Of Annie's Special Day

Happy Monday Everyone!

One quick thing before we get to our post: for anyone who participates in Perfect Picture Books on Friday, I know this is a busy week and lots of people (including me) will be busy with family Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  PLEASE don't feel like you have to participate this week if you're too busy!  I have a feeling a lot of us are going to be in that boat, so have fun, enjoy your families, and don't feel like you have to show up if you're having a little time deliciously free of the internet! :)  We'll all still be here next week :)

Okay!  That's the business.  Now for the fun :)

Today we have a special guest post from Clara Bowman-Jahn.
Author Clara Bowman-Jahn
She is doing a mini blog tour, posting on different aspects of the writing and production of her debut picture book, Annie's Special Day.
Annie's Special Day is available at eTreasures and Amazon
And she's going to share with us where she got the idea for the story!

So without further ado, here's Clara!


How I got my idea: from idea to story.
I was lying in bed one day in May with a terrible fever, but the sounds of the birds were ones of beauty and magnificence.  From about four AM to Seven AM the birds just blew my mind. It seemed like every hour some different bird sang their song. Singing back and forth while courting their mates is so melodious and awe-inspiring I still get up and don both my hearing aids just so I can hear it.  And it was in all around sound. One further away would sing to one closer in and back again.

I wanted to record them somehow. I didn’t have a tape recorder. I thought of the character Annie and how a little girl heard something beautiful every hour like I did with the birds. First the crows then the more musical birds come, like chickadees and warblers, the smaller ones. They were right next door in the trees near my bed. I could hear them through the open window.

I figure it was one of the harder things I’ve done in my life to write down what I heard every hour that morning while sick and feverish, but it turned into a children’s book. And that is something pretty terrific.

The specific words “Annie heard (something) every hour” has been edited out of the book. The editor thought it slowed down the action and that it was passive writing so now there is just an activity, an adventure, every hour that Annie sees and does. “Annie’s Special Day” is a basic concept book about time and clocks with Annie having a birthday slumber party and staying up all night. It’s about family and friends. "Annie's Special Day" is a cheerful read without much plot but a book of recorded enthusiastic activities and fun.

That fall I took a writing project class and finished my book. But the main person I can say supported me and taught me how to revise and rework my book was my kindergarten teacher sister.  She read over more rewrites than I can remember and showed me how to make something out of the book. Then the next person who made the book a beauty was my illustrator, Claudia Wolf. She really took the character of Annie and made a little girl from her. She brought the book to life.

Then the whole other story of what came after I got that contract was my husband who finished what the publisher couldn’t. Because when you are the first children’s book in a small press the story doesn’t end there. The entire format, the text embedding, and the size of the book have to be done for them.
My husband, my hero, did all that. He enlisted the help of a writer friend, who also holds a print shop, Sue Walls, to show him what needed to be done and which computer tools he needed, and he did it. He transcribed my e book to a print one. If anyone is interested I’ll send his written explanation of all he did to you. To me what he did is no small miracle.

And along with being my biggest support he does the grunt work for me. Without his effort there would not be a print book. And when he asks if it were worth it? He easily says yes. And so do I. I love my book and am having fun marketing it.

What has your process been? From idea to story? I would love to hear in the comments.

Thanks so much, Susanna for inviting me to be a guest on your blog. This post marks the end of my blog tour hosted by my blogging buddies. 

And I know you won't want to miss any of the other posts, so... :)

At Pat Tilton's Children's Books Heal: a book review and Q&A with Clara about “Annie’s Special Day” on November 12th
At Joanna Marple's Miss Marple's Musings: the illustrator story from Clara’s side on November 14th
At Stacy Jensen's Writing My Way Through Life: author Clara Bowman-Jahn’s publishing story on November 15th
And finishing up on Clar's Blog: a post from “Annie’s Special Day”  illustrator, Claudia Wolf on November 20th 

Annie's Special Day is available at eTreasures Publishing and Amazon.

Thank you so much, Clar, for joining us and sharing your inspiration.  Readers, if you have questions or comments, I know Clara will be checking in and will be sure to respond!


Author Clara Bowman-Jahn

Clara Bowman-Jahn worked as a registered nurse for thirty two years finally trading that job for her true love, writing. Clara’s short  stories have been published in the anthology of the “Campaigner’s Challenges 2011” Book.

When Clara is not writing, she does volunteer  work for a local elementary school and her church. She also likes taking long walks with her husband, blogging, and reading books. She is a member of the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Pennwriters, Bethesda Writer’s Center and Round Hill Writer’s Group. She lives in rural Loudoun County, Virginia with her brilliant husband, and two cats. She is the proud mother of two wonderful grown sons and a grandmother to a delightful grandson. 


Reactions:

48 comments:

  1. Congratulations, Clara! I love how you got your story idea! Isn't it neat how one things turns into another? Voila!

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  2. Loved hearing how this turned from experience to that aha! moment to a picture book. Congratulations, Clara!

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  3. Ideas are such interesting things - where they come from and how they develop! You just never know where one is going to take you! :)

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  4. Don't you love when that happens, Ruth? I hope we all get a great aha writing moment today! :)

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  5. A great blog tour--enjoyed getting to know Clara more!
    Happy Thanksgiving :)

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  6. To you too, Coleen! Please send the recipe for Ye Olde Fried Oreos :)

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  7. Thanks, Tina.
    It certainly is true. I wish that happened more often. :)

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  8. Thanks, Ruth.
    I loved getting that aha moment. It changed my writing life. :)

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  9. Happy Thanksgiving, Coleen.
    Thanks so much! :)

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  10. Wonderful to learn how Annie's Special Day came about! Thank you, Clar, for sharing. Now that I'm home again from "Beth's Special Day" I must catch up on the rest of the blog tour. May many more delightful ideas come your way, Clar!

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  11. Enjoyed learning about the events and inspiration that led to the birth of "Annie's Special Day." So a fever can be good thing. I really enjoyed your book! Wish you much success.

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  12. It always amazes me how God can use our "down times" to foster creativity in our writing. I'm sure, looking back, you can be thankful for that fever. Thanks for sharing your story, Clare!

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  13. From fever to fervor! This is so interesting, Clar. I love how the singing birds inspired your story. Sounds like you and your husband are a great team. Congratulations on Annie.
    I just downloaded the ebook and read it. How cute! And what a great tool for telling time.

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  14. This has been a great blog tour, Clar, with new information on the birth of this lovely book on ever post. Yay too to your wonderful sister and husband for their support. Love this photo!

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  15. Lucky you to have the great support you do! Looks like a bit of illness isn't so bad after all! Good luck with the marketing piece - the cover looks great!

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  16. From what I could tell they dunked it in pancake batter and dropped it in the deep fryer. Art, I tell you, :)

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  17. Great post! I like how you got your idea! I would like to know how your husband did it! :)

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  18. They say everything happens for a reason...and you have proved them right, Clar! What a wonderful end result to being ill. :)

    "Annie's Special Day" is a precious little story...and I'm looking forward to using it on school visits next semester. Thanks so much for sharing with us part of the writing/editing/publishing process...and yes, you are so very fortunate to have such a supportive and helpful husband. :)

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  19. Who doesn't love a story that starts when you're sick and feverish? That's perfect. My publisher was also a very small house, but not as small as yours. I just want to say for the record that illustrators are magical people. In my opinion, they are magic that turns a story into a book. Good luck with Annie!

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  20. Always interesting to gain insight into someone else's process. Thanks!

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  21. How wonderful that you could turn one bad day into a great adventure. Best wishes with the launch!

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  22. Glad if you found it interesting and helpful, Susan! :)

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  23. I know - you never know what experiences might turn out to be useful for writing :)

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  24. No doubt about that! Let's hear it for the people who can draw and bring our stories to life! :)

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  25. And aside from her family, Clar is lucky to have people like you, Vivian, supporting her and spreading word of her book! :)

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  26. One might even go so far as to say genius! :)






























    coleen patrick wrote, in response to Susanna Leonard Hill:

    From what I could tell they dunked it in pancake batter and dropped it in the deep fryer. Art, I tell you, :)

    User's website
    Link to comment
    IP address: 96.228.52.213

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  27. Great story - and I love that the idea came when you were sick. Proving that good things can come from situations that seem bad on the surface. :-)

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  28. Isn't it great when you can turn something bad into something good? :)

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  29. There's something comforting about thinking that something that doesn't seem so great at the moment can help you write a good story at some point! :)

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  30. I like that photo too, Joanna :) And it has been a good tour! Only one stop left, I guess....

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  31. I love hearing how other authors got the inspiration for their stories - you just never know where a good idea is going to come from and how a person's mind is going to transform it into a great story! :)

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  32. Yes, It seemed like it had just sat an incubated. Even to this day I love waking early and listening to the birds. :)

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  33. Thanks, Hannah!
    Yes, it's true this one bad day turned out so well. And I haven't been sick since. :)

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  34. Thanks, Susan. So glad you stopped by. :)

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  35. So true, Jarm! It's like Maria says in the Sound Of Music - when the Lord closes a door, somewhere He opens a window!

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  36. Always so interesting to hear how another writer finds her story :) Hopefully the one after Annie won't require a fever! :)

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  37. I hope Beth's Special Day will result in a wonderful story too :)

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  38. Thanks, Joanna.
    Yes, *yay* to my sister and supportive husband. Without them there would be no book. :)

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  39. Ha ha. I love that, From fever to fervor! Thanks so much!
    and thanks too for downloading the ebook. So glad you liked it. :)

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  40. Yes, that fever did a lot, didn't it. I wouldn't wish it on anyone but it sure worked for me. lol.

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  41. Thanks, Beth.
    ha ha. Yes, a fever in my case was a good thing at that time. :)

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  42. Getting a chance to see your dreams come true is an amazing feeling. I can only imagine that having hubby involved was like the sugar and cherry on top. Congrats on the publication, Clara and wishing you continued success :-)

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  43. I love the hot crazies a good fever can bring on! But having the presence of mind to write those ideas down is lovely.

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  44. I know it! Somehow she managed to be thinking in spite of the fever! :)

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  45. What a wonderful story about life handing you lemons and making lemonade. Congrats on ANNIE's SPECIAL DAY, Clar, and thanks for sharing your story with us. I'm a native Virginian, and Loudon County is beautiful. I can see how it would be so inspiring.

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  46. It's one of the good things about being a writer - turning those lemons into lemonade :)

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