Saturday, January 05, 2008

Message in a Bottle: Part 2

Once again, I'm sending a message before the typhoon of grad school sucks me in for another semester. I've had a long holiday break catching up on all the things I didn't get done during the semester (bills, correspondence, reading fiction, etc.). And I've received a few emails from readers, one of whom wanted to know how I created a niche for myself as a creative & imaginative writer/artist who specializes in the Inklings (C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, etc.). Here's part of my response:

"I’d say three things have shaped my career so far: First, my undergraduate education at Wheaton College, IL, which houses the Wade Center ( studied under some amazing literature professors & experts on CSL & JRRT, many of whom I’m still in contact with. Second, the Write-to-Publish conference, which is held in Chicago every June, gives attendees the opportunity to meet with editors from various publishing houses ( This is how I met the editor at Tyndale House Publishers who eventually offered me the contract for “Walking with Frodo.” And finally, the Northern Michigan C. S. Lewis Festival held annually in the Petoskey area, my hometown ( I’m one of the founding board members, and through the festival I’ve had the chance to interact with some incredible scholars and celebrities in the worlds of Lewis and Tolkien—including Doug Gresham, Lewis’s stepson & the co-producer of the Narnia films. So those experiences have been vital to my knowledge of the Inklings and my networking with folks in those worlds. I think my current education at Duke will serve a similar purpose in the long-term, though it’s less about the Inklings and more about theology and ministry..."

Meanwhile, I finally loaded Photoshop onto my computer so I could scan illustrations and digitally enhance them, which has been a lot of fun. I also did some research online of various children's book illustrators and resources, and came up with some interesting stuff: e.g.,, (children’s book council). Also, these three artists really stood out:;; and At first I thought they were evangelicals, but then I figured out they’re probably Mormon. Who knew the Mormons had such vivid imaginations? Intriguing...