GEMSTONE DRAGONS Thank Yous

Chapter books don’t usually have acknowledgement pages, but just like all my books, my new GEMSTONE DRAGONS series wouldn’t be in bookstores now if wasn’t for an amazing team of people who helped me. So I wanted to thank them here.

The main concept for the Gemstone Dragons was not my idea — although I wish I had thought of it! A team at Bloomsbury Children’s Books were brainstorming ideas and thought it would be fun to see stories about adorable dragons who have magical powers that they get from a gemstone. They contacted my agent to ask if one of her clients would like to try out to write it. Lucky for me, that writer was too busy, so my wonderful agent asked me if I’d like to audition for the series. After I heard the basic concept I immediately said, “YES PLEASE!” As soon as I started working on my proposal, the whole world opened up in my mind like an invitation. Story ideas came to me in a flurry, and the characters jumped up to be featured. I knew this world was too special to have just the Gemstone Dragons — although they are very special indeed. But they were just the beginning. This world of sparkles and crystals should also have unicorns, gnomes, fairies and more. In short, as soon as I started developing the basic concept, I fell in love.

So my first big THANK YOU is for the editorial team that came up with that first idea. And I’m so grateful that they chose me to take that idea and create the Gemstone Dragons’ world and stories. These include Claire Stetzer, who’s sadly no longer with Bloomsbury but nevertheless wonderful, and Sarah Shumway, Executive Editor at Bloomsbury Children’s Book, who’s equally brilliant. My partner in sparkly goodness for this series is my editor Camille Kellogg, who has helped me make these stories even better. I’m so grateful for her support, encouragement and wisdom. The books wouldn’t be as good as they are without her.

I want to extend a big sparkly THANK YOU to my fantastic agent, Rachel Orr, at Prospect Agency. Not only did she think of me when the opportunity to work on this series came up, she also helped me make my initial proposal the best it could be. I’m so grateful that she continues to champion my work.

Bloomsbury has done a fantastic job turning my stories into books. Their entire team, from copy editors to proofreaders to designers, have done amazing work. And I couldn’t be more thrilled that they brought illustrator Janelle Anderson into the team. Janelle’s design for the dragons is better than I could picture in my head. She has truly brought the Gemstone Dragons and all the residents of Gemstone Valley to life in the illustrations throughout the books. THANK YOU, Janelle!

When I created a dragon with a limb difference, Janelle worked hard to make sure the dragon’s design was accurately representative. And for that I also want to say a big glittery THANK YOU to Sarah Tuberty and Nicole Kelly of the podcast Disarming Disability. Sarah and Nicole were my expert readers for my middle-grade novel ARROW, which also features a character with a limb difference. They took the time to give reference photos and advice for the dragon Amber that were enormously helpful.

Beyond editorial, the GEMSTONE DRAGONS books have received so much support from Bloomsbury, with their teams in sales, marketing, and more. I’m enormously grateful to all of them. Because of their work, the Dragons will be published in Australia and have been chosen to be carried inside Walmart and Target stores this fall. THANK YOU!

All of my family and friends deserve heaps of thanks for their continued support, especially my SCBWI, Electrics, Zoombies and Masterminds buddies, who always have my back.

And I couldn’t do what I do if it wasn’t for my amazing husband, who gets a super sparkly THANK YOU. He’s always my first reader and I’m so grateful that he’s so supportive and encouraging. As well as helping me brainstorm, Jamie helped me design the fun trading cards we’ve created for the dragons.

The first two books in the series are dedicated to people who are very important to me. OPAL’S TIME TO SHINE is dedicated to my cousin Christine Gonsalves who has more dragons in her house than anyone. Christine has been my hero since I was a kid, and I’m excited that I have a dragon book I can dedicate to her. RUBY’S FIERY MISHAP is dedicated to author and friend Bethany Hegedus and her wonderful son Taru. Bethany has encouraged me throughout my author career, back when I was working on THE BOY, THE BOAT, AND THE BEAST long before I had an agent. Taru even inspired the dragon power stickers I’ve created for GEMSTONE DRAGONS fans. Taru and Bethany read an advanced copy of the first two books, then Taru and his friends started discussing what their dragon power would be. I loved the idea so much, I made it into stickers so that everyone could enjoy it. A big sparkly THANK YOU to all of them as well.

Kirkus Reviews, author Kamilla Benko and author/bookseller Joy Preble took the time to read the books and give them fantastic reviews. THANK YOU!

And finally, when I write stories, they’re not complete until they’re read and seen through the readers’ imagination. So I have a big glittery THANK YOU to all the readers who’ve already picked up these books and the librarians who are sharing them. And for everyone who loves dragons as much as I do, THANK YOU!!!! Here’s to lots more dragon stories. 🙂

More GEMSTONE DRAGONS stories will be coming out in December… I’m grateful for that too!

 

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