Throwing Stories off the Cliff by Julie Falatko, illustrated by Tim Miller
Snappsy the Alligator and His Best Friend Forever is the first book I wrote where I knew who the illustrator was going to be. I usually don’t imagine what the illustrations are going to look like while I’m writing, but this time I did. And I usually don’t include art notes, but I had fun writing notes to illustrator Tim Miller in the margin (“Tim! Draw a conga line of bugs!”).
The other thing I did was write scenarios I knew Tim would have fun drawing. Anyone who has read our first book, Snappsy the Alligator (Did Not Ask to Be in This Book) knows that Tim does an amazing job with fun little details. I love the jungle, the grocery store, and the party scene (that hippo! those mice!). When I was working on the sequel, I couldn’t help adding in a library, a big store, and a lot of very silly situations that I knew Tim would like. I bet when you’re reading it you’ll be able to guess which ones I put in to make Tim laugh.
It’s a funny thing, making a picture book, if you only write the words. You do your part and shove it off a cliff, and then you wait to see what happens, and you hope a lot.
You hope the person who holds up half of your book will understand what you’re trying to do with it. You hope the illustrations will make the book whole. You hope you won’t have to sigh and say, “Isn’t it great?” through gritted teeth.
I certainly got all I hoped for and then some with Snappsy the Alligator (Did Not Ask to Be in This Book), but I didn’t know when I threw the book off the cliff that I’d also make a friend. So when I finished the second book, I didn’t toss it off a cliff, but happily sent it Tim’s way, knowing in advance that whatever he does with it will be amazing. (True story: once I sent Tim a package of homemade brownies via overnight mail. They took six weeks to get to him. And when he finally got them, he still ate them. And lived. That speaks of true devotion.) (True devotion to me or to brownies, I’m not sure.)
So, in the spirit of finding bookmaking friends (and food), I give you the cover of Snappsy the Alligator and His Best Friend Forever (Probably).
Julie Falatko writes from her home in Maine, where there are plenty of picturesque rocky cliffs from which to toss manuscripts. She is the author of Snappsy the Alligator (Did Not Ask to Be in This Book), illustrated by Tim Miller (Viking, 2016); the upcoming Snappsy the Alligator and his Best Friend Forever (Probably) (Viking, 2017); The Society of Underrepresented Animals, illustrated by Charles Santoso (Viking, 2018); The Great Indoors, illustrated by Ruth Chan (Disney-Hyperion, 2019) and Help Wanted: One Rooster (Viking, 2019). You can find her on Twitter @JulieFalatko or at her website http://juliefalatko.com.
Tim Miller is an author and illustrator of children’s books. He is the illustrator of Snappsy the Alligator (Did Not Ask to Be in This Book) and Margarash; He is also the illustrator of the middle-grade series Hamstersaurus Rex. Tim’s debut picture book as author & illustrator, Moo Moo in a Tutu, will be published by Balzer & Bray in April 2017. He is currently based in NYC and can be found on Twitter @TM_Illustration or at his website https://www.timmillerillustration.com/.
Julie, this is so great in so many ways 😊 Congrats on the new book and it’s cover. And congrats on having made a friend with your talented and comedic illustrator. Perfect pairing 🌼 And the brownies… hilarious 😂
Thank you, Jeanne!! Yeah, and I really did not mean for those brownies to turn into the huge debacle that they were. I sent them overnight and then for some reason the post office refused to deliver them to Tim and held them in a far-off warehouse for six weeks. I still can’t believe he ate one!
I love this!
You are welcome, Julie
This is wonderfully charming. The brownies. Oh my! Will be smiling all day about those.
I’m still cracking up about it, two years later. The whole point of sending them was to fuel Tim so he could finish the drawings. Didn’t quite have the same impact as a package of old brownies six weeks after the deadline.
Just read SNAPPSY again last night and I’m looking forward to this new adventure! Congrats, Julie!
Oh, thank you so much, Penny!
I’m so glad they have a second book. Can’t wait to see it.
Wonderful! I love watching you both work from the sidelines!! Go go go!!
This is such a fun post. I can’t wait to read both books! The part about the brownies was especially illuminating! 🙂
I feel like the brownies were somehow literally illuminating to Tim, like if you eat six-week-old brownies lasers will shoot out of your eyes and you’ll start to hear colors.
What the world needs now is another Snappsy book by these two very very funny people. And more importantly, they bring the silly which is so desperately needed. And I would totally eat a six week old brownie. Considering where Julie lives, it could have been lobster. Although a lobster lost in the mail might make an awesome picture book, as long as it was done by these two!
Oh, Denis. Thank you. I am not going to make you lobster brownies, but thank you anyway. (What’s that? That’s not what you said at all? I’m quite sure it was. Plus something else about a lobster who has a hat made out of chocolate and gets a discount fare to NY via a lobster-shipping freight box.)
Congratulations on book 2! How fun. Thanks for sharing how you two work together on this book.
Thank you! I have such a good time seeing what Tim does with the words.
Um…. I’m wondering what was in those brownies? Must have been some ninja preservative to keep them edible for that long. Or maybe Tim threw up after eating one and didn’t tell you… Whatever the case, huge congrats to you both!
Isn’t it so weird! They were just regular brownies! Well, they are actually AMAZING brownies (these: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/fudge-brownies-recipe) but there are totally ninja-preservative free.
I absolutely LOVED Snappsy! The narration in last years Snappsy was so clever and fun!
Thank you, Nat! I hope you like the new book too!