What if YOU were the Magic

Let me tell you a story.

It’s the story of how this book project came to me, and it’s one I think about often. It’s a story that inspires me to never give up on myself or my dreams, and an example of how if you believe you’re made of magic, you will create magic.

So here we go!

The year was 2014. I was a stressed out and struggling mom of a 1.5 year old. In between nap times I would be studying to become a holistic nutritionist. I had decided to put my illustration career on hold while I studied. We were living off of one income and still in debt from the business I ran before I got pregnant. One day I got an email from my current agent – she wanted to represent me. I signed with her while still studying nutrition. Upon signing the contract, my agent sent out a welcome email to all the editors and creative directors on their list to introduce new artists they have signed.

The day Christy (my amazing agent) sent the email was a hard day. I was feeling exhausted and alone and listening out for the glorious sound of my husband’s key in the door. As soon as my husband walked in through the door – I threw our son at him and escaped to the bathroom. The only room in the house where I knew I wouldn’t be disturbed. I hadn’t been in the bath for more than 10 minutes when I screamed like a banshee, ran out of the bathroom waving my phone in the air, dripping wet and leaving puddles all over our apartment. My husband couldn’t understand a word I was saying. I eventually gave up and just let him read the email I had just gotten. The email that changed my life forever.

This life changing email was from Christy. You can read a bit of the email below. This email gives me goosebumps every time I read it.

Within 20 minutes of Christy sending my welcome email out, Harper Collins reached out. They were offering me a two book deal!! With a very sizeable advance. An advance that would change our lives. I was a newbie. Nobody in the publishing world knew my name. But Margaret Anastas from Harper Collins vibed with my art and took a chance on me. When she offered me that two book deal, she didn’t even have a manuscript for me. She wanted to sign me before someone else did. It actually took two years for her to find the perfect manuscript for me to illustrate. And that manuscript was Dear girl.

The Life Changing Deal

The advance from that deal bought us our first home. And it was in our new home that I found out I would be illustrating a book written by the amazing Amy Krouse Rosenthal – who is dearly missed. I knew who she was. I knew she was a big deal. My life had changed two years ago when I signed that contract. And now, it was changing again. All of my little girl dreams were coming true. I’m sobbing as I write this. Every time I tell this story, I turn into a mess of tears. Happy tears.
Nine years later, I am still so very grateful. I am so grateful for my agent. Without her, my art wouldn’t of gotten in from of art directors. I’m so grateful for Margaret. She took a BIG chance signing an unknown illustrator to such a big contract. And I am so grateful for my husband. He allowed me to chase my dreams. Not once did her ever tell me to “get a real job.” He let me take risks. He let me focus on my art. He’s the one that worked a regular 9-5 office job to support us. He let me be me. This book…it rescued us from our debt. It bought us our first house. It gave me the freedom to focus on illustration and it made me a #1 New York Times Bestselling illustrator.

Dear Girl: The Phenomenon That Is Changing the Way We Talk to Girls Around the World

Dear Girl was first released in December 26, 2017. It’s been five years since this powerful little book came out and it still sells thousands of copies a week. The thought that hundreds of thousands, if not millions of little girls around the world have read my book – I can’t put into words the emotions I feel. Dear Girl is so much more than a book. It’s all of my little girl dreams and big girl dreams coming true. It freed me from debt. It stopped us from living pay check to pay check. It catapulted my career. It gifted us our first home. It lead to the second book in the series – Dear Boy, which lead to the third and fourth books in the series; Dear Baby and Dear Teacher. It has led to other merchandise like pyjamas and dolls. It has been tattooed on people’s bodies.

It made me believe in myself again and is my daily reminder that I can create my own magic. Do you believe in magic?

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Tom Lichtenheld

    Thanks for sharing your beautiful story and congratulations on your well-deserved success. This really is a business of connections and, like you, I was lucky enough to connect with one of the best; Amy Krouse Rosenthal. Also like you, I am forever grateful to her. Keep up the great work.

    Reply
    • Holly Hatam

      Thank you for your lovely words!! My son has read your books over and over and over again!

      Reply

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