Sometimes things in this business are really hard. They're full of obstacles and complications, difficult decisions and frustrating turns.
Sometimes, they're so simple and easy that every step is a pleasure.
The latter was the case with Calista Brill and TUGBOAT BILL (which happens to rhyme).
Calista, who is a senior editor at First Second, the graphic novel imprint at Macmillan, reached out to me in the spring, seeking an agent. It just so happened that she did so during a week when I was visiting New York for meetings. It just so happened that I would be in the Flatiron, where her office is, the next day, and it just so happened that I had an unexpected opening in my schedule, and she was free during that time.
So we got together, and we hit it off, and before I headed home to Arizona, we'd shaken hands via email and decided to be a team.
Calista had an adorable picture book about a tugboat named Bill and his best friend Mabel (a barge), who ply the waters of the Hudson, and what happens when a kitten falls into those freezing waters. She had shared it with a former colleague, Nancy Inteli, at Harper; they had worked together previously at Disney. It just so happened that I had lunch scheduled with Nancy that very week that I was in New York, on my last day, and Nancy expressed her enthusiasm for the picture book.
Needless to say, the deal wrapped up quickly after that. But we waited to share the news until there was an illustrator on board, too, and so I am very pleased to share the word that the superfantabulous Tad Carpenter, whose most recent books are ZOOM! ZOOM! and NINJA, NINJA, NEVER STOP!, is officially official as the illustrator of TUGBOAT BILL, which is scheduled to release in summer 2016--the same time as the first of six books in Calista's recently announced LITTLE WING series, also at Harper, releases. She's about to get a whole lot busier! Congratulations, Calista!
Set in a future where dragon wars have shaped society, a sevnteen-year-old girl becomes caught in a deadly conflict of loyalty between the dragon resistance and the government forces who are trying to wipe them out. April release.
"Underwood’s ultra-succinct verse hits all the emotional marks that go along with a big transition…Bean, meanwhile, seems to take the topic to heart by moving in a new direction himself. He does wonderful things with light, starting with a gloomy rain scene and ending with soft, welcoming twilight." —Publishers Weekly, starred review. April release.