Meet Micheline Rychman

Author Interview, Bookish Interview

Meet Micheline Rychman.

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The Interview.

Hi Micheline!

Thanks for joining us today. Tell us a little about yourself.

Micheline Ryckman lives with her family on a farm in beautiful British Columbia, Canada. She is co-owner of Whimsical Publishing, and an accomplished artist/illustrator in multiple mediums. The Maiden Ship is her debut novel, the first in an upcoming series. The sequel book, The Lion of the Sea, is already in the works.

What was your very first commissioned piece of art?

Oh gosh, I’m old, so this is really hard to even recall, but I can tell you that it would have been a traditional acrylic landscape painting on canvas. I did those for years before I ever took up illustration.

Can you pick a favorite quote from your debut, THE MAIDEN SHIP?

I have many favourite quotes from TMS but probably this one:

“Do you know why wildflowers are the most beautiful blossoms of all, my son?”

   Dain shook his little head.

Soft waxen curls blew forward in the breeze as she lifted her storm-gray eyes to gaze out over the sea of petals. “Wildflowers are the loveliest of all because they grow in uncultivated soil, in those hard, rugged places where no one expects them to flourish. They are resilient in ways a garden bloom could never be. People are the same, son—the most exquisite souls are those who survive where others cannot. They root themselves, along with their companions, wherever they are, and they thrive.”

What kicked started your illustration career? Your writing career?

My illustration career was actually kickstarted when my daughter was a teen, she always wanting me to join her while drawing and read her books. And I found that I loved the stories and the art so much more than what I was already doing. It quickly became a passion to produce and create work that young adults could enjoy.

The Maiden Ship is my first novel and my firstborn was only three months old when I developed the story. That was twenty-one years ago. The book didn’t get far back then because the demands of a new marriage, a new child, and so many other life callings forced me to set the story aside. It wasn’t until 2018 that I revisited The Maiden Ship. And that decision was brought on by several major life events: a mix of chronic health struggles, my firstborn leaving home for college (don’t let anyone ever tell you it’s easy when your children leave home—it is not), and a severely injured drawing arm. Art has always been my lifeline, and when my arm went, and that privilege was taken from me, a bout of depression inevitably followed. It was a tough season, and I was desperate for a creative outlet. I needed something to keep me sane amidst the chaos and pain.

So, I wrote. Typing with my non-dominant hand took some getting used to. The process was arduous, and sometimes I used dictation when the pain was too severe. Yet, word by word, this book saved my life. This tale gave me a reason to wake up each day; it gave me a purpose. I am so thankful for this story. I poured so much of my own personal life journey and lessons into this novel, and I’m hopeful that the premise and messages in this story will speak to the hearts of those who read it.

Was there any scene in THE MAIDEN SHIP that really surprised you with how it turned out?

Not a scene as much as a couple characters that surprised me, Casper and Lydia. They were meant to be simple background characters and ended up demanding much larger roles in the story. Lydia is fierce that way, and well, Casper could charm the fangs off a snake, I never stood a chance.

What character spoke to you the most in THE MAIDEN SHIP?

Definitely Morgan Crouse, or Mo as we affectionately call him. He speaks to my heart and I loved writing his dialogue.

Do you have any current writing project(s)? If so, can you share anything? 

I am currently working on two projects actually. One is the sequel to The Maiden Ship, it’s called The Lion of the Sea, the second is a full-length novel of my graphic novel, Charting Stars. I was unable to continue this graphic novel series because eof health problems that prevented me from drawing that much, so I’m super excited to continue this story in novel form!

Is there anything else you’d like to share with the readers today?

Just that I’m so incredibly grateful to my followers and those who’ve already read The Maiden Ship, I have been so touched by your kindness and sweet reviews. Thank you all so much!

Meet Freelance Illustrator Nicole Tealdeal

Bookish Interview, Interview

Meet Nicole Tealdeal

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I am a 26 year old teacher,  book-loving fangirl, and now a freelance illustrator. I’ve been drawing since I was a child, and digitally painting since I was a tween.  I use photoshop and a Wacom intuos to paint images from my favorite books and creators. I live in the country, and am astray cat a person. Meaning I snuck into my fair share of pastures to read and eat home-made buttermilk biscuits. I have two dog and a cat and spend what free time I have volunteering/fostering for my local Humane Society.

Social media links
https://twitter.com/tealideal
https://www.instagram.com/blogtealdeal/
https://blogtealdeal.tumblr.com/

 

The Interview

What was your very first illustration? Share with us about the illustrator part of you.

My first illustration, that I can recall, was a graphite drawing of a young  girl with a head-sized pearl leading a giant koi from the Sea.  I had just read the Old Man and the Sea.  I have always had a deep fear of catfish and carp. Giant things that lay in the mud ready to swallow up a young girl with her toes in the slime. (My love of monsters and jewelry has only grown.)

 

What was your first fandom illustration? Share with us about the fangirl part of you.

Oh lord, it was probably Sailor Moon? But, in as far as me spending any real time- I believe it was ACOTAR related. I’d never been a part of a book fandom before that and it was so active. I made it to thank a fanfic writer. I do that often.  I enjoy showering writers I appreciate with fanart ranging from doodles to full on illustrations. I deeply believe in thanking creatives, and in return I always find myself friends with at least a few writers.

 

When did you open your shop? How did you handle the nerves + business side of things?

My first shop was opened January of this year. At the urging of one of those fanfic writers who I had been plying with gifts.  Before then I hadn’t even considered taking commissions let alone selling anything. I’m quite new to all of this.  But, after I made a significant amount of sales at my society 6 shop, I decided to move to Inprnt because the profit margins on prints was significantly better.

I’m still figuring out the freelance business and initially charged far too little. Which is a mistake many artists make starting out. Joining with an online artist/book community helped me navigate how to approach commissions, rights, licensing, etc.

Most importantly to me, is that I have other sources of income that help me keep the freelance pursuit less pressured and more able to be directed my decision instead of desperation. Variety is the spice of my life.

 

Tell us about what an average (or maybe not so average) day of being a freelancer is like.

First thing is walking dogs and answering emails with a strong bit of tea and my cellphone. Then I go to teach.  Something that brings me endless joy. When I get home, I play with the pups again and tidy the house. This helps me clean my head and get some physical activity in before freelance work.  I get some lunch and settle in for paintings and answering emails. I usually have an audiobook playing. This is usually a 3 hours working/ 1 hour walking the dogs/ taking a visual break schedule.  I find that Breaks let your brain do some back-burner processing. Plus my dogs are tempting as sin, and never fell to encourage me into our sunny yard.  I like keeping busy, but I need a turntable of things to rotate through, so I don’t stagnate.

I fangirl over your illustrations ever since I came across your Twitter! Any WIPs that you are able to share?

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What has been your favorite and least favorite experience so far since starting your freelancing and illustrating journeys?

Early on I was commissioned by one of my favorite authors, Rosamund Hodge, to do character portraits for one of her novels. That was hands-down one of the most surreal freelancing moments. One of my worst experiences was brought about by my own inexperience. I did not ask for payment up front and ended up working 8 hours on something that was never paid for. In those moments you feel quite foolish.

 

Is there anything else you’d like to share with the readers today?

Creative community is essential. I talk about pricing, hours/ work schedule, critique and books with my art friends. It’s very relieving and eye-opening.  Please find those in your orbit and unite.  By that I mean, don’t always be looking up at artists further in their careers.  Instead Pull your face down and lift your mutuals up who may very well be wrestling with the same problems as you.