Jason and the Crawdad King is a magical adventure unveiling the wonder of creativity. JASON, the young explorer, adventures down a river of wonder in his beautiful wooden boat. While floating along, he saves a frightened CRAWDAD tangled in a fisherman’s line. Surprisingly, the crawdad turns out to be an enchanted KING. In return for his kindness, the king gives Jason a magical reward, by opening the doors to his exceptional imagination—a gift he will treasure for the rest of his days!
What main themes do you write about in your books?
Primarily, I write about what goes on inside of children—their emotions, dreams, ideas, intuition, imagination, hopes and desires. I also try to help them have their own inner experiences, by reminding them of who they are--priceless gems.
What is the premise behind writing about children’s inner worlds?
There are two, 1) the evolution of the humanity and 2) genetically inherited memory.
* Evolution of the Humanity
Humanity is in a rapid phase of evolution, as evidenced by the rapid advance of our technology. Technology happens in our outer world. However, there is also a parallel inner world that mirrors the advancement of technology. It goes beyond the five senses. That’s why things like yoga and mindfulness are becoming so popular.
* Genetically Inherited Memory
Science has shown us that memory can be passed down through our DNA. In animals, we call it instinct. The same principle applies to people. However, with the rapid evolution of humanity, children are inheriting their parents learning. In other words, some kids coming in now are more advanced. I’m trying to write to help guide their advanced spirits.
What was your motivation behind writing Jason and the Crawdad King?
In August of 2015, I found a crawdad tangled up in a fishing line while I was whitewater kayaking. My wife Tamara and a paddling friend of mine both said, “That would make a great children’s book.” The next day, I wrote the story on the back of a few napkins while sipping tea at a coffee shop.
Why don’t you illustrate your own books?
Besides being an author, I’m also a visual artist. I’ve had my pictures hung of the walls of galleries in New York City, Boise, ID, Bellingham, WA and Spokane, WA. It’s all been abstract art and woodwork. I couldn’t draw my way out of a wet paper bag, if my life depended on it!
Plus, I’ve always worked alone. It gets lonely. With children’s books, I wanted to collaborate with someone else and get beyond myself and my secluded little studio.
How did you and illustrator Lili Avakem meet?
Lili and I met via the modus operandi of the 21st century…the Internet. I was hoping to find an artist who was exceptionally talented, in love with illustrating, relatively unknown (like me), and hadn’t reached their full potential yet (hopefully like me too!). In short, I was hoping for an enormous stroke of good luck.
I held a contest on Freelancer.com, searching for samples from illustrators. Lili beat out 25 other entries. However, to win the contract to illustrate the entire book, I asked Lili and another artist from Thailand to submit one more illustration. I took one glance at Lili’s second submission and my jaw dropped to the floor in utter disbelief. I realized the enormous stroke of good luck I was hoping for had actually arrived.
As I sit and write this, I still haven’t met Lili face-to-face. All of our interaction has been via email. I eagerly look forward to the day we meet. I hope she's not a computer!
How long does it take you to finish a book?
From the time I scratch the first draft on a napkin, until the day I receive a final illustration, the time span is about eight months. It 's a lot of back-and-forthing via email, and one heck of a lot of fun. Every time I open a new illustration, I feel like it's my birthday.
What is the hardest part about creating books?
Quite honestly, I’d have to say nothing. Books are the only projects I’ve ever worked on that are an entirely positive experience. It's an absolute act of creative joy. I wish everyone could have an experience like this in creating something they truly love.
What’s the old saying? “If you do something you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.”
What are you working on next?
Release of the Diamonds, Kid Awesome Can Dance, and Two Golden Hearts. They all touch the realms of children's inner world, giving them inspiration to be who they are meant to be. I also have over 20 more books waiting to be illustrated.
Where can we get your books?