My latest book, HALLEY, awarded 2015 Jefferson Cup Honor for Historical Fiction. Available at: NewSouth Books: www.newsouthbooks.com/halley and Amazon
One of the joys of our recent trip out west was our side trip to visit
the artist-illustrator of three of my picture books–Sherry Meidell.
She and her family made my husband and me welcome in their home and
shared a delicious home-cooked meal–chicken soup and amazing
fresh-from-the-garden vegetables. When we sat down at the table with
four generations of Meidells, I felt right at home. Of course, we
talked about our sons–the Meidells have five and we have two–our
daughters-in-law, and our grandchildren. All–ours and theirs–we
discovered, were well above average in looks and accomplishments. Too
bad we didn’t have all those kid present when we lined up for photos.
Sherry and I compared on notes on independent bookstores. She said
her favorite had author signings and launchings all the time. “So
does mine,” I told her. “Capitol Books in Montgomery, Alabama even
smells like old books and waxed wood, and leather upholstery.”
We talked about the joys of writing and illustrating books for
children–and how difficult it can be sometimes. We compared notes on
our long term happy marriages, and our spouses’ creative pursuits. Her
husband was a member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir for more than 20
years, my husband is a photographer and woodworker. Both our husbands
fill the role of best friend and first editor.
Sherry and and her husband shared something else in common with
Benjamin and me: a visit to Peru. They had hiked up to Machu Picchu,
instead of riding up in a bus, as we did seven or so years ago.
On parting, Sherry presented me with a valuable gift: an original,
double-spread illustration from FULL STEAM AHEAD–the second book she
and I did together. It is especially treasured because the home in
the painting is modeled on the actual house that was my great grandparents’
home place in Murray County, Georgia. In front of the house is a more
cheerful version of my great Grandmother and Grandfather Nolan than
anyone experienced in real life (to be fair, my great grandparents had
a lot to be grumpy about). There are also two children, representing
my Uncle Roy Junkins and my Aunt Bert Cox. I gave a family photograph
to Sherry to show her how houses looked in Murray County, Georgia
during the time period FULL STEAM AHEAD was set. Little did I know
she would use more than the house! I now have my painting framed and
hung in an honored spot in our house.
Our journey to West Bountiful, Utah was bountiful, indeed.
Thank you, Sherry Meidell!