In the case of illustrating Once Upon a Memory working with the writer Nina Laden has gone beyond a working relationship and gifted Renata with a wonderful friendship. Last week Nina and her equally talented husband Booth Buckley generously shared their lovely home and rich island lifestyle for six amazing days of superb food, drink, inspiring attitude, and creative energy.
Nina is an experienced illustrator and author with a great backlist including the impressive board book, Peek A Who, which has sold over a million copies. A few years ago Renata was honoured to be the first artist that Nina had shared her writing with. Giving up your story can't be easy for any artist. And is particularly challenging for someone so passionate about their work like Nina.
Just writing a book may seem easier – a picture book story can sometimes write itself in a day, where as illustrating a book is always going to take months to do! But writing is a labor of love, and truthfully, rarely does come easily. So giving it to another has to be daunting. But with the right people working together, wonderful things can happen.
Nina's island home is a wonderful place for it to happen. She loves walking the beach looking for interesting stones and letting her imagination run free exploring ideas and stories. Renata loved it too, although she found it a challenge to find a unique rock such as a shiny agate among the multitudes of plain stones on the beach. The process was an apt analogy to writing.
There are lot's of ideas for books but finding the one that speaks to you and is unique is a challenge. Renata and Nina are hoping to find such a story to work together on again. They haven't yet, but if they keep beach combing their imaginations they will find something interesting. In the meantime Nina's next book to be illustrated by another is If I Had A Little Dream which is illustrator Melissa Castrillon's debut book – we've had a sneak peak and it's an impressive debut!