I met Mindy on Instagram. This sweet young woman has a heart of gold and is not only a fan of Christian fiction, but from her little sunlit studio in Japan, creates beautiful, modern calligraphy.
I have had the privilege of teaming up with her for a very special purpose. As most of you know, I’ve been Indie publishing these days and while I enjoy the process immensely, there are a few little things that I miss about having a traditional publisher. One of those things is the feeling of having a team to work with. If you need something? You just ask and someone points you in the right direction. You need bookmarks? No problem! For This Quiet Sky, I printed some homemade postcards (right off my computer) and they didn’t turn out so great, so I never did much with them.
Now – Indie book #2 – I’ve been dreaming up a way to do something just a wee bit better. There are lots of places that will print your book cover or design onto a postcard, but I wanted to do something a little different than the cover of the book. There is a quote from the novel that I have been dreaming of using for this very special purpose, and a few week ago, that dream became a reality thanks to a sweet young woman named Mindy Sato.
A work in progress
After seeing the beautiful work Mindy did for books she had read like Laura Frantz’s The Colonel’s Lady and my own This Quiet Sky, I knew I was witnessing something special. I sent her a message to say thank you and a few more messages sailed back and forth and soon, I asked if she would be interested in helping me out with creating those postcards. I asked Mindy if she might be interested in writing up the quote (which is half in Hawaiian and half in English) in exchange for a paperback copy of To Get to You from my home to hers.
Her answer was the most enthusiastic YES and boy did her heart shine through in every word. We dreamed and planned and soon, not only was the quote in process, but I had made a friend that was just a few weeks away from bringing me to tears of the most joyous kind.
Mindy asked more about the story so she could know how to design the piece. I shared that in the book, Riley’s dad is Hawaiian and when he abandoned his family to pursue his surfing career, Riley’s mom didn’t allow the language to be spoken in their home anymore. Of course, there’s a long story behind what happens next *wink wink*
Mindy asked amazing questions and expressed that knowing the story would help her create the piece. Worried that I wouldn’t explain it well in summary, I thought about offering her the book, but it was still unedited and I’m squeamish about people seeing my work before it’s primed and polished. Exactly this time, Mindy dashed me some images of her work-in-progress. Ideas on colors, letter shapes and textures and wanted to know what I thought. Not only did my jaw drop for the beauty of her artwork, but I realized that the very fear I had (letting someone see my rough draft) was exactly what she was doing – offering me her rough drafts. Her ideas.
So I bundled up the unedited version of To Get to You and sent it to her as “my book idea”. She was going to see mistakes and errors. She was going to see things that would eventually need to be trimmed and refined. But sometimes God leads us to do things for a very particular reason.
Most Precious Treasures
Mindy read the manuscript not once, but twice (I was a tiny bit thrilled to learn that she teared up at the hair salon!) And from those readings, she came up with a design that not only fit Riley and his dad, but fit the heart behind the story. Her desire to honor the Lord through her calligraphy was a treasure from the start and shone through in each part of the journey, including the finished product. Seeing it for the first time was a JOY!
In the story, my hope is that these words in both Hawaiian and English will show the healing that can come from a broken relationship. We both thought an arrow would be the perfect graphic because of the way it reflected the title and the different journeys. And would you like a sneak peek at the interior?
As you know, most books have a flourish – a tiny artistic touch. As Mindy worked away on the Hawaiian quote, I asked what she thought about designing an arrow that could be for that purpose. It would make her art a part of the physical book, tucked there in the pages. There truly couldn’t have been anything more fitting than something drawn by this young woman.
A Sweet Surprise
What began as a small project turned out to be quite a journey for each of us over the last few weeks. Mindy asked me for my mailing address and I sent it along – not thinking anything out of the ordinary about it (I can be this dense. 😉 ) and soon, she hinted that a surprise was on it’s way – the original art piece of the Hawaiian quote.
Be still. My heart.
Mindy’s package from Japan arrived just a few days ago. The large, padded envelope seemed a little lumpy for a single piece of paper, so after leaving the post office, I sat in my car and tore inside. The first thing to come tumbling out were little pens for smooth and silky book signing and Washi tapes. I had been eyeing Mindy’s collection on Instagram and her enthusiasm for these colorful masking tapes is downright contagious, so this was a delight!
There were also small envelopes that I made myself wait to open (one said “open this last” and was sealed and stylish with Washi tape so that helped 😉 ) There was also the large portfolio with the finished art piece. I couldn’t wait to see it in real life!
But what she sent brought me to tears. This was more than a single quote. This was more than a single piece of paper..
This was her way of saying “I saw…”
These weren’t the typos that I was worried she would see. Not the mistakes or the rough spots. She saw the story. She saw the hopes I had for a book that I couldn’t help but write. This young woman from across an ocean saw me.
About a dozen tissues later, I was able to get home and get out of my car. And now I get to write up this post and share with YOU, dear readers, that whether it’s a review, or a message or simply stopping and talking with me at church about something that I wrote and the way that it moved you, I hear those words… “I saw…”
Know that I see you. Each of you. We’re not here to do this alone – we’re here to lift one another up. A special thank you to Mindy for lifting me up during this season of preparing To Get to You for readers. If you end up with the paperback after release time, will you say a special prayer for Mindy and her calligraphy when you see those arrows?
A gift for you – from Mindy and Me
That first, original image has been scanned and the postcards are being printed and shipped. If you would like one, just send me a 4 x 6 SASE, I’ll seal it with a pinch of Washi tape, and send a postcard your way! I would love to give you one (or several) as a thank you for being part of this and for simply being here. When it arrives, may you feel that same blessing. That blessing of knowing that you’re not alone… that there are others out there who see.