Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Quacky Baseball- The Story Behind the Story
Peter, you're up!
Back when I was writing the Echo Falls mysteries (a middle-grade series for Harper), I was hit by a sudden and unexpected idea for a picture book. It arrived in the form of the title – Quacky Baseball – grew in minutes to a whole history of baseball starting from caveman times, and culminated in a ninth-inning nail-biter; all the players would be ducks, meaning there’d be cavemen ducks, which I was eager to see. I called my editor and told her the idea. She said it sounded interesting: “Write it up.” I wrote it up that very day – not many words in a picture book! – and a contract was drawn up soon after.
Time passed. My editor left and I began working with a new one. Frank Morrison was brought in to do the art. I checked out his work, loved it. Soon we discovered there was too much story. I cut out everything but the most dramatic and action-oriented component, meaning the nail-biter, Quackers versus Webbies. Those cavemen ducks? They’ll have to exist only in my mind. I came up with names for the players (I’m very big on getting the exact right names for characters in my work) such as the little hero, Thumby Duckling, and his teammates – Flakey Duckstein, Manny El Pato, Medwick Ducky (an inside-baseball joke I’m not sure anyone has gotten yet), and the others, all brought beautifully to life by Frank. My editor left and I began working with a new one. Yes, again: this is the kind of thing you have to get used to in publishing. I made a few last tweaks of the text to better match the final pictures, then put my feet up, smoked a cigar and retired to an assisted-living compound in Florida.
All of the above guaranteed 100% true (except for the cigar and Florida part).
Peter, thanks so much for stopping by!
Visit the rest of the stops on the QUACKY BASEBALL tour.
Comment here, or on any blog stop, for a chance to win a signed copy of the book.