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Dorsey shares plan for twelve book “I Remember” series

Jason Dorsey’s new children’s picture book, I Remember Running Through The Woods, is coming out in January. At Sunnyshore Studio’s “Christmas in Miniature Show” a poster displayed Jason’s projected books in this 12 book series.

We caught up to Jason this week. Here is our interview with the author/illustrator of the ambitious I Remember children’s book series.

Sunnyshore Studio: When did you first dream of the I Remember children’s picture book series?

Jason:  Our family moved to Indianapolis, IN in 2002. In 2003, I must have been missing my dad and the fishing waters of the Puget Sound, so I began to sketch a draft of what became I Remember Fishing with Dad. Being who I am, it was not long after those early sketches that I conceived of a twelve book series with each book starting with I Remember.

Sunnyshore Studio: I Remember Fishing with Dad wasn’t published until October of 2015. Why did it take so long from conception to publication?

Jason: Mainly because I had no idea what I was doing. I had never written a children’s picture book before so I had a lot to learn about storytelling and illustration. I went to children’s book conferences, hired children’s book coaches, and submitted the manuscript again and again. In fact, by around 2013 I had given up. I still view it as a minor miracle that an old friend named Shelley Huston, who ran a small publishing company, reconnected with me and published the book. I tell this story in my post “A Tale of Many Rejections.” 

IRFD Cover

Sunnyshore Studio: What is your vision for this series? 

Jason: I want to tell stories that both delight and instruct. I want children and adults to enjoy the stories and the artwork that goes with each story. But they are more than just a collection of stories about a boy growing up on an island. Each story explores a universal theme, and, I hope, provides some insight to it. I Remember Fishing with Dad explores the significance of the father-son relationship. I Remember Running through the Woods, uses the ever-changing woods to talk about how to deal with change.

Sunnyshore Studio: Why do you start each book with “I Remember”?

Jason: Because I want to emphasize how very important the memories of childhood are and because I want to encourage the making of “sacred memories.” In our childhood time moves slow and the memories we make go deep into who we are, shaping us, and even, as the Russian author Fyodor Dostoyevsky puts it in The Brothers Karamazov, the “instrument of our salvation one day.”

 “Let us never forget how happy we were here, when we were all together, united by such a good and kind feeling…My dear children, perhaps you will not understand what I’m going to say to you now, for I often speak very incomprehensibly, but, I’m sure, you will remember that there’s nothing higher, stronger, more wholesome and more useful in life than some good memory, especially when it goes back to the days of your childhood, to the days of your life at home. You are told a lot about your education, but some beautiful, sacred memory, preserved since, is perhaps the best education of all. If a man carries many such memories into life with him, he is saved for the rest of his days. And even if only one good memory is left in our hearts, it may be the instrument of our salvation one day.”

These lines have been an inspiration for this series from the beginning.

Sacred Memories

Sunnyshore Studio: These stories are about a boy growing up on an island. Camano Islanders will recognize the island as there own. Why did you choose to base the stories on Camano?

Road to the State Park

Jason: I believe place matters. Since most of my “sacred memories” took place on Camano, I’m basing the stories in my place (though I never mention the name of Camano). The story lines are built on memories that other northwesterners share: like salmon fishing, playing in the woods, bringing in the hay, picking wild blackberries. In fact, a few weeks ago at the “Christmas in Miniature” show, I had a long conversation with a couple who grew up blackberry picking like I did. It is amazing at how similar our experiences were. The same can be said of fishing, and so on. Yet, even though the story is based in the northwest, the themes are universal and, I hope, accessible to everyone.

Plus I like maps in stories. So this gives me a chance to put maps in each of my stories.

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I hope by celebrating a specific place, I can encourage people to value the places in their lives too!

Sunnyshore Studio: One of the special aspects of this series is that your dad partnered with you to illustrate the first two books. Why did you choose to do this?

Jason: For the first book, I Remember Fishing with Dad, I thought it would be cool to have my dad illustrate the book with me since it is about the father-son relationship and since he lived the story with me. Plus, I really wanted, and needed his help to make great illustrations. In 2006 we spent a week painting what would be the first round of illustrations for the book. We had to redo many of these in 2015. So it was quite a process.

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I tried to illustrate I Remember Running Through the Woods by myself. But I was running out of time, and I asked Dad to help again. He graciously agreed, and really helped to bring the book to life artistically. Here are a few examples of his great work.

Sunnyshore Studio:  These aren’t your normal children’s book illustrations that are more, how should I say it, child level art. These are more serious watercolors.

Jason: Part of my vision was to use high quality, serious watercolors for the illustrations. I hope to inspire a few youngsters to perhaps take up the paintbrush themselves.

Cover - I RTW

Sunnyshore Studio: I Remember Fishing with Dad was published by Just Dust Publishers. Why did you choose to have Sunnyshore Studio by the publisher for I Remember Running Through The Woods?

Jason: A couple of reasons. First, Just Dust Publishers closed there doors. Second, by publishing through Sunnyshore Studio we cut out the middle man and keep our costs down. Sunnyshore Studio has published a number of books over the past three years, and has “cracked the code” so to speak of the editing, graphic design and layout of publishing. So we decided to keep it in house.

Sunnyshore Studio: Since your first sketches (2003) to today (2018), you’ve only published two books. What makes you think you can publish 10 more? And which book is next?

Jason: Well, like I said, we’ve “cracked the code” by publishing the books in-house. This allows us a little more freedom and flexibility. Hopefully we can get on a roll and publish a book a year. That’s the dream at least. And I like “big dreams”, they inspire me. I’m not afraid to fail.

I’m not sure what book will be next. I’m currently writing I Remember Haying at the Farm. This book will explore the importance of hard work, of family members/families working together as a team, and or working on their relationships with each other. The work of keeping up a farm, specifically of the annual summer bringing in the hay ritual, is the context to explore this theme. I have great memories of haying with my cousins.

Sunnyshore Studio: When is I Remember Running Through the Woods going to be released?

Jason: You should know that, since you’re the publisher of the book! The printer tells me that it will be ready to be picked up by mid/late January. If people are interested they can pre-order their copy here:

Store

Pre-order “I Remember Running Through the Woods” children’s book

You can pre-order Jason Dorsey’s new children’s book I Remember Running Through the Woods here:

Store

Start your collection of all twelve of the I Remember series by adding to that order the first in the series, I Remember Fishing with Dad. 

IRFD Cover

All 29 of the original illustrations painted by Jason and Jack Dorsey will be on display at the Christmas in miniature show that opens at on Saturday, December 1st (10am-5pm) and for a second Saturday, December 8th (10am-5pm).

Christmas Poster 2018

Jason Dorsey is working on second Children’s Picture Book in the “I Remember” series

Jason Dorsey is working on the second book in the I Remember series. This series tells stories of a boy growing up on an island (Camano), to explore sacred memories in the formation of children. Fyodor Dostoyevsky says this about sacred memories in his novel The Brothers Karamazov:

“… there’s nothing higher, stronger, more wholesome and more useful in life than some good memory, especially when it goes back to the days of your childhood, to the days of your life at home. You are told a lot about your education, but some beautiful, sacred memory, preserved since, is perhaps the best education of all.”

Jason Dorsey published I Remember Fishing with Dad in December 2015. It was well received and sold briskly.

IRFD Cover

Jason is close to completing the second book in this projected 12 book series. I Remember Running Through the Woods shows that the places we remember are part of who we are today. Jason reflects, “The woods which surrounded me in childhood are a part of me.” In this book, like the first, Jason is working with his father to do the illustrations.

“It’s been fun to go back to the woods of my childhood,” says Jason. “I’ve been trouncing through them to get photographs including photographs of a “scary stump” just like the ones I remember when I was young.

Jason and his Dad, renown Northwest artist Jack Dorsey, are collaborating on the illustrations just as they did in the first book.

“Our painting styles are similar,” Jason says. “I typically get the painting started and then bring it to Dad to finish. I’m able to get a good, fresh watercolor started; and Dad, with his eye for strong values and details is able to finish it.”

“I’m super thankful I have this opportunity to share in the painting of these illustrations with my Dad,” Jason says. “He’s super supportive. I don’t know if I could do this without him.”

I Remember Running Through The Woods is based on my own experiences in the woods that surrounded our little white home on Camano,” Jason says, “including a camping adveture with my friend Tom H. We skipped our High School Tolo to spend the night in the woods. Tom had all of this great Marine Corp gear and I guess we were more into that than girls. It turned out to be a super cold night and we had lots of adventures that night that I share in the book.”

Jason Dorsey and Tom Hamilton 1984

Jason also has enjoyed tying the story all the way back to the early days on Camano Island when loggers felled massive Fir and Cedar trees. I’m enjoying sharing this beautiful place (Camano) through these stories,” Jason reflects.

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He projects that I Remember Running Through The Woods will be (barely) back from the printers just in time to make it under the tree for Christmas 2018.

If you’d like to view the original illustrations they will be displayed at Sunnyshore Studio’s Christmas in Miniature art show that runs Saturdays, December 1st and 8th, 10:00am – 5:00pm.

Looking for a Father’s Day gift?

Author Jason Dorsey teamed up with his dad to illustrate I Remember Fishing with Dad, which tells the stories of a father, son, and grandson fishing (and remembering a special derby day) in the salmon waters of the Pacific Northwest.

This book is perfect for fathers, sons and daughters, grandsons and grandaughters. It explores through story how impactful it is when a dad spends time with his son or daughter. And all who remember fishing with their dad will find it brings them back to those sweet times together.

Over 1,000 people have purchased a copy. If you order yours today we can have it mailed to you in time for Father’s Day, June 18th.

 [shopify product=http://sunnyshorestudio.myshopify.com/products/i-remember-fishing-with-dad]

One last thing. This book is the first of a series of 12 books that will weave story and art to explore the big themes of life. Jason’s second book, I Remember Running through the Woods is scheduled to be published in October 2018.

Start your collection today!

 

Update on my foray into the publishing world

Here’s an update on my foray into the publishing world.

It was fun today (June 27th) to pick up a copy of I Remember Fishing with Dad (IRFWD) at the public library in Redmond. I guess I’ve arrived as an official author since my book is in the King County Library System.

An amazing development materialized out of the blue:

In June dad did jury duty in Coupeville for a couple of weeks  during which he met a woman who owns a Payless in Freeland on Whidbey Island. She is interested in purchasing 100 books for her store at wholesale price and will donate proceeds she makes to charity. I guess there ARE some perks to having a dad who is a Promoter!

We are also taking our show to the streets. Sunnyshore Studio will be setting up an art booth at Art By the Bay in Stanwood over the weekend of July 9th and 10th. We’ll sell books, illustrations, and artwork from family members. If you’re in the area stop by and visit us.

I am going to be doing a book signing at Third Place Books in Ravenna, Seattle in August (either Sunday the 21st at 5:00pm or Monday the 22nd at 7pm). I’ve promised that I can rally at least 15 people to come out for the book signing…and totally stressing about how I’ll make that happen 🙂. Stay tuned for more details.

 

 

It also looks like Island Books on Mercer Island will be selling IRFWD. I want to give a special thanks to the advocacy of my old friend Nancy Axell, the story of which I have told elsewhere.

We sold 40 copies of IRFWD during the big Father’s Day push over May and June. Jenny was the wizard behind the curtain for this push. She asked lots of our friends to share a link to our web site over Facebook. I was so encouraged by how many of our friends championed and celebrated the book by sharing it in this way.

My book is at the following Costco stores. It will only have a shelf life of 4-6 weeks so if you shop at any of these stores you should take advantage of the great price (I think that they are like $15) and pass on this information to your friends:
Lynnwood
Aurora Village
Everett
Sequim
Marysville
Burlington

Costco

Finally, in terms of a BIG FUTURE PROJECT THAT’S LOOMING OVER ME, I have begun to write the text for the Beaches of Camano Coffee Table Book. The text for this book needs to be written, the illustrations painted and the layout formatted, so that it can be published in time for our the GRAND OPENING of Sunnyshore Studio on Saturday, December 3rd!

beaches brochure

 

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