You are probably very familiar with this amazing lady and her beautiful work, but I needed to give a little shout out to my dear friend Colleen Rowan Kosinski. We’ve known each other for several years now and have been through a couple of adventures together. 🙂 Her immense talent is so very inspiring. Not only is she a phenomenal artist, she is also an incredible writer. Plus, most of all, she and I are kindred spirits because she loves animals as much as I do.
Here is a peek at the book trailer for Colleen’s debut picture book, “Lilla’s Sunflowers.”
If you have not already read or purchased this book, you are doing yourself a dis-service. Look at some of the stellar review this book has received:
School Library Journal – August 2016 Edition
“Many children will find this story helpful if they have parents who travel a lot or friends who live in different locations. An excellent choice for communities with large populations in the military.”
–Barbara Spiri, Southborough Library, MA
I got a wonderful surprise when I opened my copy of “Lilla’s Sunflower” from Colleen. Not only did the dedication make me tear up, but the little packet of sunflowers snuggled my heart. What a wonderful little gift to share the joy that this book brings!
Below is my favorite illustration spread from the book:
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I always wanted to be an artist. Writing didn’t occur to me until after I had my children.
What were you like at school?
I was artistic, took some honors classes, very quiet— yet if you put me on stage I’d sing my heart out. I sang in all the talent shows and was the female lead in my high school musical.
What is the most amusing thing that has ever happened to you?
I don’t know if it’s the most amusing thing that’s ever happened to me, but recently I decided to go swimming in a pool after probably over 10 years. I mistakenly went down the ladder on the deep end. I stepped off expecting to touch ground and sank with my mouth wide open. I came up sputtering, my makeup running down my face, hanging onto the side and pulling myself to the shallow end. It amused everyone else in the pool. My big entrance!
Do you have any hidden or uncommon talents?
As I mentioned before, I like to sing. If you’re looking for something weird-some of my limbs are double jointed. I’m also GIA certified in the identification of colored stones. I did a stint as a jewelry designer after college.
What is your favorite word?
What are you reading right now?
I have a wonderful book called ART BOOK: SONG OF THE SEA. Over 200 pages of the art process in making that gorgeous animated movie. I highly recommend it.
Is there an unusual pet you’ve had in the past or that you would love to have in the future?
I’ve had lots of pets. Besides cats and dogs, I’ve had snakes, an iguana, rabbits, a hedgehog, and birds—including a mourning dove and a blue jay that I raised.
Ice-cream or cheese cake?
Neither, they both bother my stomach. But I do enjoy a nice chocolate soufflé.
Colleen’s Process and Work:
What do you think makes a good story?
For me a good story has to make me feel something. It needs heart.
What is the toughest criticism given to you as an author or illustrator?
Criticism is part of the process. As long as it’s helpful I don’t consider it tough. In fact if it’s tough it makes me work harder.
Which authors and illustrators inspire you?
I adore the work of Nicoletta Ceccoli, Mab Graves, and the Fan brothers.
What is something memorable you have heard from your readers/fans?
That the book has helped them through hard times.
What has been the most helpful thing about marketing or publicity that you have learned that you could share with a new author?
You need to schedule a good portion of time towards it. Having a good social media network is also very important.
What is part of your creative process/support system that you can’t live without?
The technical help from my husband, Chip. Computers and I are often at odds with each other.
What can you share with us about your creative process?
My Process: http://colleenrowankosinski.com/my-process
Do your illustrations come to you first, or do the words?
Depends. With Lilla’s Sunflowers the illustration came first. But other stories the words flow quickly but the illustrations are more difficult to create.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
Never burn bridges, always present well publicly (that means behave on Facebook and Twitter), and never give up. This business is fraught with rejection coming at you from all angles. Eat some chocolate, collect yourself, and keep going.
About Lilla’s Sunflowers:
How long did it take you to develop “Lilla’s Sunflowers”?
I wrote the first version in 2014, revised with my agent and she sold it in 2015. It finally became a real book in 2016.
Which is your favorite illustration in Lilla?
My favorite illustration is the one where Lilla is hanging her head along with the drooping sunflowers.
During the creative process, was there anything that you had to let go when writing Lilla?
In an early version Lilla was given a seed by her grandmother, then the grandmother died, and the seed became a flower and multiplied. I’d meant it as kind of a metaphor of how we as children continue our family line, and how our children keep the seed going and so on… But he idea was a bit too dark.
What do you want your readers to take away from reading “Lilla’s Sunflowers”?
That one kind act can become so much more.
Give us an interesting fun fact about your book
I just found out that the Singapore Library system bought 25 copies.
Any Upcoming events?
December 2nd Outer Banks, N.C – presentation and signing (site to be announced)
How can readers connect with you?
Colleen, I adore you and can’t wait what you come up with next. I so wish that we lived closer so the we could spend more time together. Many hugs to you. T