It's been a tough year: one of financial and health struggles, sobering realizations and transitions.
My Bully by Laura Langston has been cancelled by Fitzhenry and Whiteside. Last year the company fired its publisher and editor and hired new people who decided My Bully wasn't the right book for them. It had been a massive project for me and the final line drawings and text and layout design completed when the book was put on hold and finally dropped.
I did manage to finish Fred and Pete at the Beach, I want to Go to the Moon, and Somebody cared for a Flower in the last year and a half. I spent the last 6 months on the latter two, as well as working hard on developing the 3rd Mister Got to Go. I had to borrow
money to keep going because the advances were so low or delayed in coming. At the end of six months, I ended up in emergency with an inflamed neck disk from hunching over art and the computer, plus the stress of the deadlines, no money and Emma's kidney failure. My doctor and my physiotherapist said there was no way I could go back to working like I had been in order to complete Mister Got to Go Where Are You? by Sept 15, 2010. When I phoned Orca to tell them I couldn't finish by the deadline and wouldn't know for a month when my back would allow me to resume working, they cancelled the book. It's too bad - the roughs had just been approved. I think it was Lois Simmie's best Got to Go story. What's also hard is that Orca wants their advance back.
I started to realize last fall that I couldn't go on trying to complete illustrations to deadlines that were too demanding for me while not earning nearly enough to live on. So after some exploration, I've decided to go back to school and do a Masters of Children's Literature at UBC with the hope that I will be able to find a faculty position at a college. MACL at UBC has been very welcoming to me which has been such a pleasant surprise. I start this September.
So, fingers crossed.