This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will award one randomly drawn winner a $25 Amazon or B&N GC via rafflecopter. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.
Midnight and Illustrations
Writing is one of those art forms that don’t require you to have great interpersonal or collaborative skills. It’s mostly you, your thoughts and the characters. But fortunately for me, my beginnings in film—a completely collaborative art form—have added a pinch of balance to my natural leanings toward being a total recluse. (Not that I mind, lol)
When I first began writing the Midnight Series in 2002, I knew exactly how important it was to get Midnight’s appearance right. I described her as having “the richest, blackest skin with the richest, blackest hair and the richest, blackest face you ever did see…eyes so deep that when she opened them, night fell.” This was in direct response to my young students’ disdain for their dark skin and tightly coiled hair. Their hair and skin were perfect and precious, just like their little hearts that I had been trusted with.
The first versions of the Midnight Stories were booklets copied at Kinko’s and sewn together. The images were minimal, because I was doing the illustrating, with the thought in mind that I wouldn’t be illustrating the books when I “did them big” like I envisioned. My father is a wonderful visual artist, and going to art school didn’t hurt me, but I hadn’t mastered perspective. Every character would be standing face-forward, hands behind their backs, and feet out to the sides. While that would definitely tickle me, it would not serve the magnitude of the series.
In 2012, both my parents and my college writing mentor, Stewart Lindh, encouraged me to publish the stories, in particular my most recent manuscript at the time: Midnight and the Man Who Had No Tears. I knew that this time, I’d want to do it right (read: traditional publishing). I looked for both agents and publishers, and when it became clear to me that with traditional publishing I’d lose the ability to choose what Midnight looked like—the most important part of the series—I couldn’t stand for that. So, I decided to publish independently.
The good news was that it wasn’t 2002 anymore. Times had changed and technology had advanced. There weren’t going to be any runs to Kinko’s, and not just because there weren’t any Kinko’s anymore; my books were going to be real books on real bookshelves. I found CreateSpace, a very reasonably priced printer, for the books. The only thing left was to find my illustrator.
I came across an image browsing the internet on 5/22/12. It was the first time I had seen ADOFO’s work, from his Neverknots comic. It was like the sky broke open and the angels sang. In his piece “Nehjerjohn Morning Ritual Sketch” he had unapologetically captured the spiritual essence of what I knew the Midnight illustrations needed to possess. I contacted him, and less than two years later, we started working on the vision for the illustrations.
ADOFO lives on the east coast, and I’m on the west, so most of our exchanges after an initial phone call were via email. What I came to respect about his artistry was the way he approached his work. It is a spiritual unfolding for him, and he takes great care in bringing his meditative discoveries forward into the images.
The images that he came up with would often move me to tears when I saw them. He had figured out a way to capture with as much love, care and creativity what I had envisioned and well beyond. His images matched my words, and it made the work that much more powerful. Regardless of how much of a lone writer I am, I am glad that this was a collaboration. It makes the series that much stronger.
I definitely encourage you to check out his work: www.adofoillustrations.bigcartel.com
Thanks for taking time to learn more about my work, and for opening your heart to it.
In the magical land of Shina, Midnight is the Keeper of Dreams and Protector of Children. On her nightly journey down the river of dreams, she meets the Red Family, whose child is going with Midnight for the first time.
The dark cloud of sadness that consumes their house confuses Midnight, and the entire family must embark on a journey to find out why an angry father can show no kindness to his only
There is a land called Shina so far away that the only way to get there is to close your eyes and dream. It is a land where magic’s mystery makes itself known. Where the light of LIFE, the gift of the MOST HIGH, burns in everyone’s eyes. Where the Spiritfolk live and walk amongst the peoplefolk, and it is where you can find Midnight, the Keeper of Dreams and Protector of Children.
Now, everyone agreed that Midnight was the most beautiful spirit to ever be born to the land of Shina. She had the richest, blackest hair with the richest, blackest skin, and the richest, blackest face you ever did see. And without a question, she had the richest, blackest eyes known to her land. Eyes so deep, that when she opened them, she eclipsed the sun, calling forth the richest, blackest night. And when her work was done, she rested her melanin-filled eyes, letting the sun once again shine brightly on the land.
Now Midnight, just like everyone who lived in Shina, had a job or a duty called upon her in order to keep the land in balance. Midnight’s job was to guide the sleeping children down the Ndoto River, the river of dreams, taking them to Asili, the most mystical part of Shina—where rainbows were made, where stars got their tickle, where butterflies got their colors, and where each child was blessed to enjoy the magic of childhood, a marvelous gift from the MOST HIGH.
About the Author:
Writer/Director Tiffany Golden was trained in Motion Picture Production at the Academy of Art University. She has worked creatively with school-aged youth for 15 years in an effort to support their voices being heard and shared. Her work with young people has led to dozens of her students being published, having their films featured in festivals, installations in major museums, and the highlight of many community-based events.
“I have worked with children for a long time, and I have witnessed firsthand their magic and resilience. I wanted to create a legacy that holds them sacred, reminding us all of the true gift that they are, so they may be cherished. This story was channeled out of complete love; inspired by individuals, and written with an open heart for the collective ‘we’.”
Buy the book at Amazon