Oliver’s Surprise: The Story Behind the Story
The project started off simply enough; a Christmas story for my nephew about a 12 year old and his skiff. They stumble back to a simpler time just before the hurricane only he knows is coming.
Once it was finished and presented, I couldn’t let it go. I wanted to share it with a larger audience, so I decided to self-publish and asked Laurie Cronin if she’d do a few illustrations. She quickly sent some first drafts, including my first lovely view of the schooner Surprise under sail.
Then she broke her leg.
At the time, this delay seemed like an obstacle. In hindsight it was the best thing that could’ve happened to the project (if not to Laurie). For the next two months I continued to edit, gradually digging out the real story which was about a boy and a schooner. I also found a publisher, GemmaMedia, who not only provided the “weight of an imprint” but also helped me create a more professional package. Thanks to Laurie’s broken leg and the patience it forced, Oliver’s Surprise is a book that will stand the test of time.