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Going back, but somehow starting something new.
It’s Junior High Audio Book release week! Very late in the process you and I brought up the idea of recording an audio version of Junior High. We had no idea how much it would entail, but having done an audio version of High School we knew how important it was to have an audio version out there. Actors were hired, a director was tasked with adapting it, and we agreed to narrate it! Before we knew it, we were in the studio recording our parts, and doing a really fun interview with Tillie Walden who illustrated the book. There’s even music!! I can’t believe it’s finally out there in the world for everyone to see and hear!
Did a little time travel in honour of the release, I went back into our emails to see what our first emails to Tillie Walden read like. The first email was on September 10th, 2018, with one of our then editors, Melissa, writing about securing an artist to draw Junior High. Melissa had written suggesting Tillie might be a good fit. The two of us were both very excited about the idea.
We heard back on October 22nd, 2018 that the deal with Tillie was complete and we were moving ahead with her as the illustrator. See the below email! from Melissa, at FSG:
We were in the middle of writing High School, so we didn’t get started on Junior High for a while, as you know. We finished High School and published it in the fall of 2019, went on tour with Hey, I’m Just Like You, and then started 2020 with a plan to begin writing Junior High in the spring. Then… Covid. With no touring on our calendar, we went straight to work on writing the script for Junior High. After a few versions and many edits, it was passed on to Tillie. We were very nervous about how Tillie would react to the script (it was very long) but we were assured everything was going well. Then our editors Wes and Melissa sent along some sketches of characters to us in October 2020.
We were very excited.
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It was fun to go back and see those early conversations, and the excitement and nerves we felt. It’s wild to see how long of a journey it really was. 2018, to 2023! I remember at the time thinking it was going to be so much work, but the work was spread over so many years, it didn’t feel too overwhelming. Working with Tillie was such a dream. I can’t wait for people to read the second book next year. I’m just so relieved people are liking it. Let’s hope they love the audio version as much as the physical book. Also, you did a great job recording Climbed Up On A Rainbow for the audio version of the book. Little T&S would be proud.