By Steve Sears
“Never give up on your dreams. I am proof that it is never too late to have your dream come true.” Peggy Recchia
Flanders resident Peggy Recchia is living her dream. She has always wanted to be a writer, and the past 5 years she has written twelve books. “I love children’s books that are educational,” she says, “have beautiful colorful pictures, and are entertaining for adults as well. I found this to be my time to publish when I could combine my imagination with modern graphics technology and produce something worthwhile. Also, when I babysat my granddaughter when she was as young as two years old, one of our activities was creating little original books.”
Recchia also illustrates her own books. “I have always liked to do pencil sketch drawings, paint in oil and acrylics and create fabric art. Now that I have a drawing program on my tablet, the sky’s the limit! I find illustrating challenging, fun, and relaxing. Yes, I believe it is unusual for a writer to do her own illustrations. But, when I am writing the stories, the pictures that should accompany the words appear in my mind and I’m not sure I could explain my vision to an illustrator.”
Recchia’s books, stories told from the character’s perspective, feature cute animals that draw the child in. “It is easier to use animals than to use humans,” she explains. “Bears can be friends with rabbits, or penguins can be judges for the winter games. I am only bound by the scope of my imagination. I want children to see that there is beauty and goodness in the world, which is why my illustrations are printed in full page format and very colorful. I hope that my books inspire friendship and compassion in children along with a little fun.”
Her first book, The Snow Day, just a simple book with not many lines per page, was written for a very beginner reader. “Each subsequent book has become more advanced and subsequently, more interesting. The process has become much easier over the years.” She first does a very rough outline – the main characters, the setting, the problem they need to overcome, and the ending, pencils the story in a spiral bound notebook, then revises and types it on computer. When printed, she divides it into 4 to 6 lines per page and adds notations about what drawing should accompany those lines. “Then, I get out my tablet and draw!” For Recchia, the actual story takes about two weeks to write. Once she begins, she starts thinking in rhymes and the story develops. “The next step,” she adds, “is to draw any new characters that will appear in the book, followed by the actual pages. Lastly, I upload the drawings from my tablet to a book editing program, add the text and I’m done.”
Several of Recchia’s earlier books have been narrated by a voice-over professional, Jeff Krug, and are available for viewing on YouTube.
Recchia’s latest offering is about the butterfly migration phenomenon. She explains her trek in this direction. “Two books ago, I wrote a book about the plight of the honeybees. That book has been accepted by a book publisher, Covenant Books, and will be available through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books A Million, and various other retailers. While I was researching that book, I came across the current plight of the monarch butterfly. We have a country place in the Poconos, and the community there has a great interest in the monarch migration. I am interested in saving the endangered wildlife and, if I can educate children about the problems in nature in an entertaining way, that is a win-win situation.” But, when she started to write Manny and the Great Monarch Migration, it sounded similar to the Bonnie and the Honeybees book, so she halted. In mid-May, after being quarantined for two months, the beginning of the monarch story came afresh to her one early morning at 5:00 a.m. “I started to write, and the story seemed to write itself! I am now working on the illustrations.”
Recchia’s current books and other information can be found on her website at www.crabappletales.com.