I always wanted to create a book along the lines of Where’s Waldo? or Richard Scarry’s Busytown. It was thrilling to look at those books and see all of the intricate details. You could find something new each time you read them.
In 2005, I started the process, and immediately fell flat. My brain could not wrap itself around all of the moving parts and how to make all of the ideas feel cohesive.
So I worked at my writing. I kept raising my family and focusing on managing my house and my business. I got better at keeping a lot of things going at once, becoming a master of time management and my calendar.
Fast forward to 2016, when I finally had the guts to sit with Happy County and make a real go of it. I took all my experience as as a writer, illustrator, designer and funny-guy and channeled it all into one series. It was exciting and challenging! I worked on the book dummy for an hour a day until it was complete. It took a couple months.
My agen, Paul Rodeen, pitched the Happy County concept and dummy to 15 different publishers. Many of them passed on it. After 6 months out in the world, Christy Ottaviano at Henry Holt & Co. in NYC. made an offer on it She has been exactly what this book series needed and I am grateful for her support and encouragement.
Happy County: Hello, World! will be available in Winter 2020 and its follow-up book, Happy County: Sun and Moon Take Turns, in Fall 2020. The marketing and publicity machine will be in full swing. We’re also throwing around ideas for multiple books and Happy County spin-offs. Time will tell how those play out. Stay tuned! :)