Today, I realized something about children’s books: they don’t have an acknowledgments page.
While I understand the probable reasoning behind this (simpler format, less clutter, etc. etc.), I also feel that, as an author, writing the acknowledgments for a book is a really important part of the process. It forces me outside of myself–and if you are a writer, you know how easy it can be to live like hermits inside our own heads.
Voyage was such a labor of love and, in many ways, such an emotionally heavy project, that I’m only now remembering to stop and recognize all the things that other people did to get this book out there. And those things–those people–are HUGELY important to this book. Without many of them, the story simply would not exist in its current form.
Yes, I wrote the story out in its entirety, so yes, I’m the author. But there were so many other people who contributed to this project! So let’s get to it, shall we?
Frazer and Dana Gieselmann. If these amazing people hadn’t been brave enough to let us tell their story in allegory form, none of this would have happened. Their willingness to put themselves out there astounds me. And while I know it’s hard for them to read their own story (but hopeful… but hard, and then hopeful again, over and over), they have always expressed their desire to see God’s truth spread throughout the darkness. All of this starts with them. It starts with their “yes” to the question, Can I write your story? (If you haven’t yet read their story, you can find it here.)
Amy Grimes. You know her as the brilliant illustrator of the story’s vivid images, but did you know that most of the ideas for the story came out of her head? Without her (divinely-given, I believe) inspiration for the images and ideas in this book, it would have turned out very differently. Also, did you know she has written another book of stories and mixed media paintings? If you love the illustrations in Voyage, you’ll flip over this book! Check it out on her website here.
Russ Grimes. A book without a graphic designer to make it beautiful would be a sad thing indeed. Russ did so much for this project, I truly wish we had put his name on the cover, too! (We did put it on the title page, which is something…but I’m not sure it’s enough.) Russ took on the design and formatting for this book in addition to his regular work at Arrowhead Creative, and he ended up finalizing the cover and interior files during an incredibly busy week at work. I don’t even want to know how late he stayed up to get everything done.
Emma Patterson. Did you know that my wonderful agent helped A TON with this book? She gave input on an appropriate target age group for the story, she helped me whittle the word count down to an acceptable size (because guess what? When you’re used to writing 90,000 word novels, writing a 3,000 word story is NIGH IMPOSSIBLE without some very good help), and she took the book on submission for several months. Emma doesn’t usually represent children’s books, but she took this one willingly and gave it the very best shot at traditional publishing that she could. (If you’re looking to query her, you can find her info here.)
Sophie Hudson. Even though it didn’t work out, Sophie was so kind to mention our project to her people at Tyndale. In a business where personal connections can go a long way, this was a huge offering of valuable help on her end! Oh, and did you know Sophie has a super popular blog and two published books (here’s one… and here’s the other) plus a third coming out in June? Well, she does. And you would do well to read all of them!
Okay, and now we’ve reached the point where I’m terrified I’m going to leave someone out. There were so many people who read this story at one point or another. A few of them stand out in my memory (like Rob Riley, who read probably the earliest version of the story; Ben Burgess, who threw out the idea of angels surrounding us even when we feel alone, which led to the scene with the host of Angelfish around the girls’ boat; also Margaret Pless, Riley Kross, Tim Wortman, Cally Burgess, Lauren Beck, and Kendra Knowles, who read the story in its infancy and gave great feedback; my sister Laura Balzer and my parents Bruce and Barbara Capitell, who I know read it at some point and told me how it made them feel, and Jeff and Dawn Cwynar, who read the story early on and made sure I had all the details about the girls correct), but as I was looking through my old emails to find all the people who gave so selflessly of their time, I found that most of those records are gone, and I was sooooo sad.
If you read this story for me at any point, please know you played an invaluable part in this process, and please don’t hold my Baby Brain against me. I cannot remember what I’m wearing unless I look down. Your input was important and valued; my memory is faulty and my email doesn’t save things forever, apparently.
So, as far as I can tell, that’s that.
Thanks to all of you, and thanks to everyone who has bought a copy of Voyage since we released it Monday night (all 1,216 of you!). Your support is a huge, massive, ENORMOUS part of all this. We are so grateful for you!