The Closing Chapter: Finishing a Project 10 Years in the Making
10 years in the making is, in fact, a bit of an exaggeration. It's true that I started this project 10 years ago but it was nearly completed over the course of one summer. That was the summer between high school graduation and freshman year of college.
Even at that young age I had my sights set on either becoming a book illustrator or a graphic designer. I had dabbled in illustration ever since I could pick up a crayon, but this was my first concerted effort to illustrate an entire book.
Both me and my mother worked on the general plot of the book (she ultimately wrote it), and we didn't have to look far for inspiration. A few years prior we had "adopted" several chickens. They were hatched during Furman University's spring semester for use in a simple psychology demonstration. After the demonstration was complete, there were literally hundreds of baby chicks that needed homes. Noting that my dad not only taught at the university but was also friends with the psychology professor, we happily obliged to take on several chicks intending to keep the best two or three in our backyard. The rest would be given to a local farmer. We did just that, and ended up with one rooster and two hens named Sweet Pea and Cookie. The rooster was a joy to keep, until one day he grew dangerously possessive of the hens and so he too had to be given up. However, the hens remained and continued to be fabulous pets for several more years each with their own distinct personalities.
It's these very different and unique personalities, so unexpected in animals we normally just think of as being deep fried and battered, that inspired our story. Many hours and over 30 illustrations later, it was complete. But shortly thereafter, college started and the project was placed on the back burner. After I graduated college and started my first graphic design job, I pursued getting the book published only to be given the run-around each time.
Finally, after several years, my mother and I arrived at a solution: Amazon self publishing. And in a matter of weeks, the book was made live. Give it a look.