Simple, yet sophisticated writing | Local News

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By Alice Reese

Herald-Banner Contributor

When Peggy Sue Nelson of Greenville learned that she was going to be a grandmother, she had the idea of ​​writing a children’s book.

Although writing a book was a new concept for Nelson, she had been writing poems all her life and had written songs for her husband Ricky, who sings and plays guitar.

“I wanted to have it printed for my grandchild,” Nelson said in a recent interview. “That was three and a half years ago. Now Brynley is three years old and has a published book of her own! By the way, I will be a grandmother for the second time in a few months.

After finishing the book, Nelson wanted it to reach his target audience – the little ones. Entitled “Emma and Jane: One’s Fancy and One’s Plain,” the charming rhyming storybook with colorful illustrations by Greenville resident Carmen Rockett is for very young children who love to snuggle up while mom, grand- mother or maybe Big Sis reads to them.

“It’s a children’s book based on friendship,” Nelson said. “It tells us that we can love each other and be friends despite our differences.”

At first, “Emma and Jane: One’s Fancy and One’s Plain” did not include any artwork.

“When the book was just words, I passed it around to my friends,” she said. “I’ve had some feedback from them. A child sent me a message that said, ‘I want another book, but I want one with pictures! But it turns out I couldn’t couldn’t find an illustrator, nobody could understand the style of images I imagined for my book.Having not found an illustrator, I decided to put the project on hold.

“I had three other books finished when a friend of mine said, ‘If you don’t call a publisher, then I will! Eventually I came across a publisher called BookBaby. I didn’t know what would happen, but I knew a little kid could enjoy the book and tell someone else about it. I like to imagine an adult reading my book to a child at bedtime.

“I posted on Facebook that I needed an illustrator for a children’s book and heard from several people, but Carmen’s depiction of a young girl painting on an easel in a field of wildflowers looked like the look I wanted. I preferred Emma and Jane to look plain and simple, not like computer-animated characters. Also, I knew Carmen from homeschool and from through my photographer daughter, Carmen is also a photographer.

For Rockett, illustrating a children’s book fulfills a lifelong dream.

“It’s now a ticked item on my to-do list,” she said.

Rockett, a longtime Texas resident who grew up in Kadoka, SD, has been an artist throughout her life. When she was in high school, she made a charcoal drawing that won the National Congressional Art Contest and was displayed in the United States Capitol. While in the Navy, Rockett designed her squadron’s logo and ensign.

“I took a 20-year hiatus from my art in order to raise my six children,” Rockett said. “But I was involved in teaching art as well as writing through home school groups. Now that the children are grown, I have resumed my photography and my art. I created album covers for The MacNeills, a gospel bluegrass singing group, and did food photography. A photo was published in Paula Deen magazine.

Rocket is also known for her intricate coloring books.

“A lot of my art is realistic and quite detailed,” she said. “But for children’s books, it’s much more flexible. Peggy wanted Emma and Jane to have a certain look. I took her words and created the pages in my mind, then sketched them out to see what Peggy liked. I would then make a drawing and finally, I would paint with watercolours.

Emma is the “posh” girl, with long red hair in a braid, while “simple” Jane has short brown hair. Although they have different interests, the girls remain “friends from the start, sisters by choice and bonded by heart.”

Author Nelson admits she is the model of the little girl who “played with jump ropes, tadpoles and balls”.

“I was Jane, a tomboy who grew up playing football with my four brothers,” she said. “I was football until my mother intervened!

“Most people know me as Peggy. For some, I’m Ricky’s wife or Jon and Emily’s mother or So-and-so’s friend. Maybe it’s just by Putt-Putt or Sno Cone lady, church friend or high school buddy. Of all the names and titles I’ve had, I never imagined an author would be added! »

“Emma and Jane: One’s Fancy, One’s Plain” is the first book in a series. The second book will be about Emma and Jane at the Texas State Fair, and the third book will see Emma and Jane meet a frog prince.

Nelson’s next children’s book will be “A Crow’s Special Song”, featuring crows Bert and Bity watching over their human friends in the city.

“I’m excited for this upcoming action tale that actually shows locations in Greenville,” Nelson said. “The second ‘Emma and Jane’ book will follow ‘A Crow’s Special Song’.”

“Emma and Jane: One’s Fancy, One’s Plain” can be purchased on Amazon.

Nelson and Rockett are available for signings. They presented a program at a recent Happy Hour Hump Day at the Texan Theater, and Nelson signed books at A New Chapter Book Store in Greenville. Several other events related to the book are planned.

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