I am so pleased to announce that I have a new, illustrated version of “Sania and the Bee” on the Free Stories page (click the English link). This endeavor was part experiment for the writer turned publisher, and part labor of love to satisfy my conviction that more fiction should be illustrated, even if the work is aimed at adult audiences–although this allegorical tale is intended for pre-teens and older youth.
The story was inspired by real events reported at the beginning of the war in Syria. Sadly, the war is still going on, and things are not getting better. I cannot even begin to understand their suffering, but anyone who cares to pay attention can see that every day the Syrian people are fighting indiscriminate bombings, hunger, and violent extremism in addition to the mind-numbing grief of losing loved ones and seeing their country destroyed. It is no wonder that we see the millions of people on the move now.
I wrote a happy ending for the story’s protagonist because I couldn’t stand to make the story as bleak as the current situation, especially not a story that might be read by young people. My efforts are really quite inconsequential, I know. But other writers, like Neil Gaiman, Patrick Ness and John Green are also trying to help the Syrian people, and I feel that we all must do what we can.
The fabulous illustrations in this version of “Sania”are courtesy of Zelde Grimm, a talented artist who resides in Vermont and is not related to the famous Brothers–Wilhelm and Jacob. Finding the right artist to illustrate this story took quite some time. I looked at lots of artists’ work on several different websites before I found Zelde at Hire an Illustrator. I was impressed with her whimsical pen and ink style and felt it fit this story. You can learn more about Zelde in an earlier post here, and see her portfolio here.
In this process I also learned a little more about the nature of illustrators’ contracts and rights of use. The experiment was a success, and I couldn’t be happier with her work. I hope you’ll like it, too.