When I have an idea for a book, I immediately think of the scene in “The Neverending Story” (my favorite children’s book) when Bastian gives the Empress the name “Moon Child”, and by that he saves Fantastica. Then Bastian and Moon Child are standing in the dark and she gives him a bright seed.
Bastian now has to make a wish and a new Fantastica, a new fantasy world, arises. A wish, an idea, that creates a whole world.
“Mademoiselle Loisette” arose as a little spark, as a bright seed in the dark.
My gift for the birth of my goddaughter was a story – children need stories, they dive into stories, live their fantasies and create completely new (fantasy) worlds. But they also find themselves in stories and often identify themselves with the protagonist.
I wanted to write a story about a lovely, cheeky and tempestuous girl.
A little voice whispered to me that the story would be about a „Mademoiselle“ and that the name of the girl started with „Loi“.
So I did some research and found the name “Louisette”. I deleted the “u” and I had a name that started with “Loi”: Loisette!
Mademoiselle Loisette was born and so was Fifi because as soon as I had Loisette’s name, the white, grumpy cat appeared beside her.
So what’s the story about?
„Mademoiselle Loisette was eight years old. In fact, she was already eight three-quarters. “Almost nine,” Mademoiselle Loisette always said when she was asked how old she was. Then she showed five fingers of her left hand, three fingers of his right hand and wiggled the little right finger. The wiggling pinky stood for three quarters.”
Loisette is a special little Mademoiselle, because she has four very special friends: The season winds!
She fights with the autumn wind, goes sledging with the winter wind, laughs with the spring wind and lets the summer wind caress her hair. And her cat Fifi? She pouts! A book for all those who sometimes forget how wonderful and cozy an autumn storm can be, a day in the cold snow or a tickling in the nose in spring, and instead prefer to pout.
(Text: Kiki Kreuder/Illustrations: Israel Hernando Gamborino)
But first I made my way to Canada. Years passed by and Mademoiselle Loisette slept in my drawer.
I found out about Oetinger34 where authors and I thought it’s a great opportunity to get a foot in the publisher’s door:
„Whoever writes or illustrates and is looking for a publishing children’s books texts, this is the place. And whoever likes to proofread texts or likes to read. Because for Oetinger34 we have developed a new software, all creatives can work together collaboratively. We create space for new ideas and formats. On Oetinger34 authors can invite lecturers to work on their project. Illustrators can search for authors whose style suits their own style. And readers accompany the creative process commenting from the beginning. The place for your success: our white space. It offers the opportunity to work on texts and illustrations with the team of their choice directly and (in a) protected (space)” (https://www.oetinger34.de/ueber)
I signed in and was hoping to find an illustrator. But all illustrators I’ve send a message to, were already working on several projects.
Winter 2014/Spring and Summer 2015
I December 2014 I received an email with an advent calendar from a former school friend, Carina. Every day she and her husband Israel sent a calendar page with quotes and illustrations. Carina chose the quote and Israel created wonderful pictures. I was so impressed of his drawings that I asked him if he would illustrate “Mademoiselle Loisette”. He said yes and after that I didn’t hear from him back for 6 months. That was ok for me, I was in Canada and enjoyed my time there 🙂
It was a pleasant surprise when he sent me his first sketches.
I was completely excited about his sketches because I had imagined Mademoiselle Loisette exactly how he had drawn it! But also then not much happened after that. Israel was busy with work and I was in the middle of my immigration process to Canada (which didn’t work out).
Israel had more time to work on the illustrations since spring 2016 and Mademoiselle Loisette and Fifi got more shape on the paper. So far their appearance had consisted of words, now the sparkled in colorful clothes!
Luisa, a junior proof-reader at Oetinger34, joined our project and gave me a lot of helpful feedback and constructive critic what I should modify or change. So far I only had described the autumn wind in detail but the description of the other winds was not enough yet.
Luisa and I did not always agree, sometimes I even had the impression that her amendment proposal would change the basic idea too much. But still it was good for me to look into the text very closely and find arguments why this or that sentence had to be like it was.
A big topic was why Mademoiselle Loisette likes ALL the winds. This point was/is very important to me because it should show that children see something good in every season. We, adults, complain easily and sometimes forget that everything also has a positive side.
And her cat Fifi? Well, she pouts! Some will never be pleased 😉
Israel drew and drew and I worked on the text.
But there was also the “white space” in which we were working…and caused many problems!
I couldn’t just copy the text and paste it in the white space, Oetinger34 doesn’t have this option…for whatever reason…
So I had to type in word for word, very annoying. Israel couldn’t just upload his illustrations and place it over the text. He had to paste the text into his illustration, I had to delete the text in the white space again and he tried to upload his drawings. But again some difficulties occurred, this time with the format.
It’s a great idea that authors and illustrators can work together on an online platform on a project…but the “white space” is a pain in the ass!
Somehow Israel managed to upload everything in the right format and it became serious.
The autumn voting was coming up and we really wanted to participate. We had been working on this project for so long and it was about time to take the next step.
How does the voting work?
The author submits the book project and the proof readers from other children’s and youth’s books publisher who are part of the publisher’s group (ellermann, Dressler, Friedrich Oetinger) check the book project.
So far we had taken our time, but now we had a deadline and Israel worked intensively! We hadn’t have a title picture yet and some of the illustrations had to me modified.
I also send messages to all active readers on Oetinger34 and asked for reviews. But the result was, again, disappointing. Only 2 of about 30 answered and wrote a feedback.
Katja’s and Henrike’s notes (great illustrations, great story, but too long and too many adjectives) were very helpful and I reduced the text again. Yes, after I extended it a couple of months ago, I deleted some of the sentences again…
…which caused Israel some more work on his vacation, because he had to upload the new text version.
And then we submitted “Mademoiselle Loisette”, followed by the stormy autumn wind, the cold winter wind, the lovely spring wind and the peaceful summer wind – and the pouting Fifi 🙂
As you can see, “Mademoiselle Loisette” had a long journey and I’m sure it’s not over yet. I am very excited if there will be a chance to publish it in the next months or if we have to come up with a different idea.
It’s all up to the proof-readers of the publishers. Israel, Luisa and I can only wait, have a cup of tea (or coffee), sit on the couch while the autumn wind is wiggling and jiggling the trees and swirling around colorful leaves.
Wish us luck! 😉
PS: I can’t express my excitement about Israel’s illustrations! He has such a talent! Thank you so much, Isra!! It’s such a pleasure to work with you.
And many many thanks to Luisa! Without you the text would only be half as good as it is now 😉