Enjoy these interviews with the “dream team” that brought Toni McCarty’s wonderfully researched and written biography Queen of Montana Beach: The story of artist Fanny Y. Cory to completed form. It will be released on Saturday, October 14th at Sunnyshore Studio, Camano Island, WA.
Interview with Toni McCarty, Author
Sunnyshore Studio: Toni, how does it feel for you to have Queen of Montana Beach about to be released in a few months?
Toni: It’s the fulfillment of a dream to have Fanny Cory’s intriguing life story available to today’s readers.
Sunnyshore Studio: In our shooting of the documentary of Fanny’s life, I came to the conclusion that her story is worth telling. In your own words, why do you think that is?
Toni: Cory was one of the most sought after and highest paid illustrators in the Golden Age of illustration. However, when she moved to Montana to marry rancher Fred Cooney—and to raise three children—she fell out of contact with publishers back east. Eventually hard times fell on the ranch, forcing her to find a new way to support the family. She came up with the idea of creating cartoons and comic strips and soon became one of the first women to succeed in the male dominated field. She was nationally syndicated until her retirement in 1957.
Always devoted to family, she valued her role as mother above her worldly achievements. Her strong spirit and sunny disposition served her loved ones well–and pulled her through her own personal tragedies. Fanny Cory claimed, “There’s nothing you can’t do if you set your mind to it.”
Sunnyshore Studio: How was it for you to work with Sharilyn as editor? Tell us something about the editing process you worked with Sharilyn on?
Toni: Working with Sharilyn was a dynamic and rewarding experience. Her strong skills and infinite patience helped recover “lost” chapters and wayward citations, and her thoughtful suggestions were certainly appreciated.
Sunnyshore Studio: How do you feel about the “look” of Queen of Montana Beach now that you’ve seen it in its final form?
Toni: I was thrilled with the look of the book when I saw the handsome layout created by Jason Dorsey (with help from his son Jacob.) Fanny Cory, an accomplished artist herself, would surely be pleased with the final product—and she’d be extremely proud of her great-grandson for bringing her story to life!
Interview with Sharilyn Stachler, editor
Sunnyshore Studio: Sharilyn, tell us something about yourself? Who are you, and how did you get started as an editor?
Sharilyn: I am a reader! I taught myself to read before kindergarten ever started, and have been reading ever since. I love words that evoke images in fresh ways, and I love beautiful language. A few years ago I offered to help a friend by editing blog posts for her business. Then her husband started a publishing company and, when he needed more editors, I was delighted to become part of that team. As an editor, I love to organize and order words, while keeping the author’s voice intact. I was privileged to help Jason publish a pair of art books recently, and he asked me to help with Queen of Montana Beach.
Sunnyshore Studio: You played a pretty big role in giving Jason the “green light” to do the book. He trusts your opinion, and when you said it was a good story and worth being published he decided to move forward with the project. Why did you think the book should be published?
Sharilyn: While any manuscript is rough on the first read-through, it doesn’t take long to get a feel for the ideas and the language being offered. Toni’s narrative voice is lively and engaging, and I knew it would be an interesting and appealing read. And of course, who better to publish the story of Fanny Y. Cory than her great-grandson, Jason, and Sunnyshore Studio.
Sunnyshore Studio: How would you describe this book? Why does it matter? Why are you excited about it being published?
Sharilyn: The more I read this book—and as editor, I’ve read it many times!—the more I admire Fanny Y. Cory. She was an amazing person who lived with intention. And through it all, she had fun. Whether Fanny inspires you to live better, yourself, as she does me, or you simply enjoy reading about her storied life, you will not have wasted your time reading Queen of Montana Beach.
Sunnyshore Studio: What was it like working with Toni and Jason on this project?
Sharilyn: Jason is fun to work with on any project. He has so many ideas, with so much enthusiasm and energy to throw behind all of them. I am truly flattered by his confidence in my work; when we faced some hiccups on this project he simply said, “Then I’ll just trust you.” And Toni gave me a huge amount of trust as well. It’s a painful thing to let somebody alter your hard work! She was amenable to almost any change I suggested, and quick to respond to anything I asked of her. In the end, I think we’ve created a book that anyone will thoroughly enjoy reading.
Interview with Jacob Dorsey, Graphic Design
Sunnyshore Studio: Jacob, tell us a little about yourself.
Jacob: My name is Jacob Dorsey, oldest son of Jason and Jenny Dorsey and great great grandson of Fanny Y. Cory.
Sunnyshore Studio: How did you get involved in this project? Was it planned or spontaneous?
Jacob: Near the middle of August, I took a vacation from schoolwork and my summer job during a week and a half vacation in Redmond Washington once my summer class ended. Originally, the book was of secondary concern to me, as my father wanted me to work on an animated logo for Sunnyshore Studio. This changed, however, once he asked me to do some of the technical grunt-work of copying over the 34 chapters from the final draft of FYC’s biography.
Sunnyshore Studio: What did your dad – Jason – ask you to do on the Queen of Montana Beach?
Jacob: The finer details of arranging the chapter number in the correct location, changing the style to drop capital for the first letter of each chapter, and making sure that the font was uniform in style were also part of my contributions to the book.
Sunnyshore Studio: Jacob, what did you enjoy about this project? What do you have to say about Fanny Y. Cory?
Jacob: I have heard tales of FYC throughout the years, most vivid of which are her marriage and of how she went door to door to different publishing companies in New York looking for illustrating work, and I especially enjoyed learning new bits and pieces about her life as I read through a few of the chapters.
Interview with Jason Dorsey, Artistic Director
Sunnyshore Studio: How did Sunnyshore Studio decide to work on this project?
Jason Dorsey: In the winter of 2017, my wife Jenny suggested that Sunnyshore Studio do a show to honor the artistic legacy of my great grandmother, Fanny Y. Cory. I began to look at dates for that show, and noticed that her birthday was in October (October 17th). I figured out that October 2017 would be the 140th anniversary of Fanny’s birth and we decided to do a show then.
I had heard about Toni McCarty and her book on my great-grandmother. So I contacted her and asked if she would be interested in letting me read it to see if Sunnyshore Studio would be interested in publishing it. She sent me her draft, I read the first few chapters and liked it a lot, but wanted a real professional’s opinion so I sent it on to Sharilyn. Sharilyn said that it was a great story that would have a wide appeal, so I was sold on the project from that point on.
Sunnyshore Studio: What has been most enjoyable about the project.
Jason: It’s been fascinating for me to get to real dive into Fanny’s life. I knew some of the stories but I had no idea. I mean, this woman was being written up in the gossip column of the New York Times and other major newspapers regularly. I had no idea how famous she was, nationally and even internationally. But what I enjoyed most was being able to see some of myself in her. It was like discovering a part of my story.
Sunnyshore Studio: What do you see of Fanny in you?
Jason: Her determination, and she was very results oriented, fast-paced, a mover and a shaker, but all the time she had a deep love for her family and a loyalty to her friends and loved ones. I hope that these things, to some degree, are characteristics of my life too.
Sunnyshore Studio: What was hardest about the project.
Jason: It was super great working with Toni and Sharilyn. They are both amazing and did a great deal of work without me in the loop at all. What was most challenging for me was just creating the basic design of the book and the cover graphic. I know my family paid a price for the stress I was under. But at the end of the day, it was just a joy, a pure joy to be part of this project.