By Alicia Dziak
Yes, it’s true. Not everyone loves winter. And if you’re one of those people, why not celebrate what’s coming up next—spring? That’s exactly what Ashlee Oakley of Springville had in mind when she wrote her first book, What Will I Do When It’s Finally Spring?
In this children’s book, a little girl and her hair imagine all the wonderful, colorful things they will do once it’s finally springtime.
“I’ve always disliked winter, and I’d always be drawing and reading while other kids were playing outside (in the winter),” said Oakley. “I wanted to turn something bad into something hopeful.”
So, last winter, she began writing and illustrating her first book.
Oakley, a mother of four who still has one daughter at home, while the other three are in school, carved out time by making the process more of an activity than work.
“My daughter doesn’t like to be outside in the winter either,” she noted. “She likes to draw too, so it was more like she would work on her drawings and I would work on mine.”
While it took a few weeks to complete the story and illustrations, getting to a finished product was more time-consuming.
Oakley explained that the most challenging part of the process was “finding a way to publish it that was cost effective.” She said that many of the more popular self-publishing sites, that require a minimum number of pages, don’t work well for illustrated children’s books. After looking into various options, Oakley decided on self-publishing her book through Anything Printed in Springville.
“It’s two minutes away from me and they worked with me (throughout the process),” Oakley said.
Since then, “my husband and I have been selling it ourselves,” Oakley explained, adding that, while making some profit off the book would be nice, “I didn’t do this for the money.”
Oakley hadn’t necessarily planned to create a book this year.
“My favorite thing to do as a child was write out song lyrics and illustrate them,” she explained. She regularly wrote poetry and loved her art classes. “It was just natural that at one point, my writing and my art would come together.”
And so they have, in 20 pages of original illustrations and upbeat, kid-friendly text.
While Oakley dedicated the book to all four of her children, “my daughter Amelia is adamant that the girl in the book is her,” she laughed.
What Will I Do When It’s Finally Spring? is available on Amazon in Kindle format and also directly from Oakley. Interested parties should contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or through her Ashlee Oakley Design Facebook page. (Oakley also noted that the printed version has bonus coloring pages in the back of the book.) Cost is $10 plus shipping, and she’ll even sign it for you!