Once upon a time…

in a land not so far away, a KSC owl embarked on a literary journey

Publishing books is generally something that happens for writers once completing college, but for KSC junior Margaret Raymond, becoming an author came before becoming a graduate.

On October 10, 2015 Raymond’s book, “The Buttercup Adventures Volume One The Glass Frog” will be on the shelves for all young readers. As a Psychology major and Writing minor, Raymond will already be publishing her first book prior to receiving her degree.

According to Raymond’s website, “Buttercup is a princess who would rather wear pants than a dress. Hector, her easily frightened friend, is simply the castle’s stable boy. Their lives are about to change when a secret is spilled. Together, they leave the only place they’ve ever known to search for powers Buttercup never knew she had.”

Raymond explained that her idea for the book came from when she was a nanny for a young girl two summers ago.

“The little girl didn’t want to go upstairs to get ready for bed and I was beginning to get really frustrated with her because she was being really lazy and sitting on the couch staring mindlessly at the TV,” Raymond said.

She continued, “I decided to tell her that if she got upstairs and got ready I would tell her a story once she was all ready for bed. I went up with her and made sure she did everything. She then hops into bed and goes ‘okay story time’ and I thought to myself, shoot I don’t have a story.”

Raymond then said how on the spot she made up a story within 30 seconds and later realized that story was the first chapter of her book. She also added that the young girl wanted to hear the same story the next time she babysat and with the same exact characters.

“On the third night of telling her stories I began recording the story on my cell phone and I’ve always loved writing so I decided I would see where it would go. When I went home I would listen to the recordings and type them out,” Raymond said. From start to finish, Raymond said the book took about a year to complete.

When asked what the process of writing a children’s book is, Raymond said,

  COntributed art by Margaret Raymond  and Graphic Illustration by George Amaru / Art Director

COntributed art by Margaret Raymond and Graphic Illustration by George Amaru / Art Director

“That’s kind of funny because, I don’t really know, I’ve never written a children’s book before and I just based my story off of what I would have wanted to read as a child.” She continued, “Saying the stories out loud, listening back to them and then writing them is a totally different technique that I have never used before and it really struck me how the way you tell a story to a child is in its own category. When you say a story out loud compared to when you write it is totally different, not just with grammar but really how you phrase things. With certain children they can pick up on what you’re telling them and you don’t have to describe further but with others you have to extend it a little bit for them to really know where they are in the story.”

Raymond had said that her book is written for children probably between the ages of four to nine years old.

The writing comes from Raymond, but the pictures come from her colleague and friend Amanda Coakley.

Coakley is a junior at KSC and a Studio Art major. This was her first time ever illustrating a book. She said she became the illustrator because Raymond had asked her to last year when they were roommates.

“The hardest part of illustrating is mostly picturing what Margaret intends for the characters to look like. I am always going back and asking her for better descriptions or what she intended for the scene to look like. We work back and forth with each other, she tells me what she’s looking for and I read the story for a better understanding,” Coakley said.

To illustrate a story, Coakley explained that she does plenty of initial sketching and then gets confirmation from Raymond that the drawings are what she wants. “Originally for the first book I did traditional drawings, we then scraped that idea after we didn’t really like the look of them and then rendered them digitally. I have a drawing tablet that I put my drawings into the computer and do the illustrations that way,” Coakley said.

Once the words are written, and the characters are visually being developed, KSC junior and English major, Liesl Miller came in to do the final touches as the book’s editor. Miller said she has known Raymond since their first year at KSC and that they had Creative Writing together.

They swapped papers in class regularly and learned about each other’s writing. Raymond had proposed the idea to Miller and Miller agreed to give a shot at editing the book.

Miller then added that she has never edited anything like this before.

“My job changes every draft I get, at first it’s mostly story and character development along with making sure everything is fluid and not choppy. I make sure the story makes sense and that people would enjoy reading it. As it goes along it’s minor details like grammar and making sure everything is organized,” Miller said.

Miller continued, “A lot has changed from the first draft. Mostly just the way the book looks. The first draft that I read each chapter sort of was a different story, as Margaret continued to work though she really brought everything together and connected all the ideas to make it a singular story that people would want to read.”

Raymond and her team worked together to bring this story to life. According to Raymond they will be working together once again to bring sequels also. It will not be long until the children’s book hits the shelves.

Emma Hamilton can be contacted at ehamilton@kscequinox.com

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