By Bianca Schulze, The Children’s Book Review
Published: December 1, 2010
TCBR: Andrew’s Wish is a new Christmas book written to touch the hearts of young and old alike, and inspire us to believe in miracles. Can you tell us a little about the story and the main character, Andrew?
J & J Publishing: Andrew’s Wish is a story that begins in Santa Village on Christmas Eve as a reindeer named Andrew, who has overslept as Santa departed, wakes up to find a box filled with gifts Santa has forgotten. The reader follows Andrew on his journey over the snow covered hills to the Elf Kingdom as he makes sure the gifts arrive by Christmas morning. Andrew is a modern reindeer whose courage and thoughtfulness inspires kindness in every reader, as his heroic wish leads him on an adventure that represents the very best of the Christmas spirit.
TCBR: Is there a particular message in the book that you hope readers will grasp?
J & J: There are several positive and uplifting messages in ANDREW’S WISH including the joy of giving, rising to the occasion, how thinking of others brings good things to everyone, the value of compassion, clarity and courage. They are all delivered in a fun and entertaining journey.
TCBR: I read that Andrew’s Wish began as a story poem that followed Jason M. Leen from a dream. Would you share Andrew’s journey from dream to published book?
J & J: The journey involved several years due to the fact that the first draft of Andrew’s Wish sat for a few years waiting for the right moment. Then it became clear that even though we were planning it as an animation project, it would make such a beautiful book. Jan and Jason worked on the final version for the book and contacted Gary Lund to illustrate the story. Jan guided Gary through the story, describing each passage and together, they created a basic flow for the art. Then Gary went to work, creating his inspired images which graphically reflect Andrew’s journey. As Kelsey Grammer added the perfect narration the book came into focus and completion.
TCBR: So, Jan collaborated with Jason and added essential passages throughout the book and oversaw every aspect and detail of the book layout, color, and design. Were their any challenges while creating the book?
J & J: ANDREW’S WISH seemed to have a life of its own, so we were all excited to share the creative process. Our biggest challenge was getting the end result of the colors in the printing process to be the most beautiful, but with the extra effort we succeeded.
TCBR: Throughout the publishing journey of Andrew’s Wish, which one experience stands out to you as the most memorable?
J & J: The most memorable moment would have to be when we held the printed book for the first time. All of the initial hopes, the months of hard work, the long hours of discussion, all of the necessary input that Andrew’s Wish required and deserved… in that moment all came flooding back in a single wave as our dreams were realized.
TCBR: Gary Lund is an Emmy Award winner and Academy Award nominee, and the artist behind the illustrations. Can you tell us about the creative process behind the images?
J & J: As an author it is always much easier to have a direct connection to the chosen artist. As the publisher of Andrew’s Wish it was very important to choose an artist who could really capture the heart of the story. Through the brilliance of Gary Lund this heart to heart connection took place. Jan layed out the verses for each page and a brief drawing or description for the artwork on that page. Gary worked his magic and brilliantly executed the story in a manner that truly brought Andrew to life.
TCBR: Each copy of the book comes with a CD of the text narrated by Kelsey Grammer. How was he selected to do the narration?
J & J: We knew Kelsey from another project and knew the softer tone that he was capable of from our time together. We sent him the text before the artwork was finished. Based on the lyrics alone, he found the story and the rhyme of the verses so charming that he said he would love to read it for us. The CD in the book was recorded at a studio in Malibu.
TCBR: Grammer was seen talking on Jay Leno’s show with a copy of Andrew’s Wish. What kind of response came from such great publicity?
J & J: Wonderful; the response came from every part of the country. We were delighted and amazed when Kelsey decided to tell the country about the book in this way. He continues to be a great fan of ANDREW’S WISH and was the first person who suggested that the book was for ages 5 to 100.
TCBR: Do you hear from your readers? What kinds of things are they saying about Andrew’s Wish?
J & J: We are very fortunate in that the response has been so positive. People love the story, the fact that Andrew is a non-violent hero, the fantastic artwork and Kelsey’s reading to top it off! It has been compared to THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS and families tell us they are planning to read it together every year, as it brings to life the Spirit of Christmas.
TCBR: It’s officially the holidays. Do you have any special holiday words you’d like to share?
J & J: That Andrew comes with a special message of love for every reader no matter our age.
MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM J & J PUBLISHING and please visit our site to see more pictures and details about the book: http://www.jandj-publishing.com
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