Making it their way

A local author and a local illustrator will discuss their recently published children’s book today at Kendall Young Library.

Linda Fortune, who teaches preschool in Fort Dodge, has always enjoyed children’s books. That enjoyment eventually manifested itself as “Make Way for Rodney.” The process of creating and publishing the book took about a year.

The book is illustrated by Tim Janicki. As a studio artist, Janicki said he often works with soft pastels. That work lead him to illustrate his first children’s book, “The Three Techno Pigs and the Not So Bad Wolf,” which was published in 2012. Janicki and Fortune met when he gave a presentation at her school, and they began working together shortly after.

Janicki taught art in Fort Dodge for 30 years and now resides in Arizona. As such, Fortune and Janicki worked together online. They would exchange thoughts on sketches and illustrations by email, which wasn’t much of a challenge for either of them.

“Working with Tim was the easy part,” Fortune said.

“Working with Linda was the easy part,” Janicki said.

What was more challenging for them was the publishing process. Fortune said she wavered between different publishers, considering reviews and weighing her options. Once she chose her publisher, XLIBRIS, she found that communication was difficult at times. After working with project managers, consultants and publishers through many steps, “Make Way for Rodney” was published.

The books tells the story of a very curious, adventurous boy, Fortune said. One day, Rodney decides to find out what would happen if he moved his family’s pets into new environments, much to his mother’s dismay. Fortune also included lesson suggestions for other teachers to use the book in their classrooms.

As Janicki was illustrating the book, Fortune asked him to hide clues in the images. Each page contains a hint as to what animal will be featured on the next page.

“It gives the kids a chance to understand the illustrations and that you can understand a lot of the story through the pictures,” Fortune said.

Janicki said his focus while illustrating the book was on the animals and not the boy. While he’s in some of the illustrations, the animals being in places they shouldn’t be are the center of attention.

Both Fortune and Janicki will discuss the process of creating and publishing the book today at 6:30 p.m. in the meeting room of the Kendall Young Library in Webster City. Even though the process of getting the book published was difficult for her, Fortune encourages those looking to get their work published to stay strong.

“Always believe and be positive because it will work,” Fortune said. “If it’s really something you want to do, always believe you can do it and don’t give up on those dreams.”