When I was on maternity leave with my second child, I had a creative boom. A big boom. More than a burst, this was creativity born from within. With a baby in my left hand, I used my right to paint, draw, write, and create. I filled my dining room wall with studies on color, character expressions, stanzas and snippets of ideas. I had more ideas than I had time.
I eventually went back to work and I brought a few of the manuscripts that I had written. At first I pursued an idea called "Scowl the Owl". After a lot of editing I started to do my research and found out that an Owl named Scowl was a Disney Character. That scared me off enough to move on, although I may revisit it another day.
The idea behind Zoo of Emotions had been kicking around for a while but I didn't have the thread that would tie it all together. One night, while laying in bed, it hit me. "It can be laid out in alphabetical order! An emotion and zoo animal will be tied together by letters and will be laid out following the entire alphabet." I had my work cut out for me but I could not have been more motivated.
I edited and edited and edited, and then I asked other people to edit. Then I kept editing.
When I was ready, I hired Amy Churchwell to create the illustrations, and Chris Jones to do the Book Design. I had my team!
The book took about 15 months from inception to publication and was well worth the time. It is truly the highlight of my creative career!