When Mel and I first talked about collaborating we were on the road, traveling home after visiting my son in Chattanooga TN three years ago. From early on, Mel has loved monsters and creature design. One time, when she was five or six, we were on our way to the drive-in theater. The window in the car was down, and a horsefly flew through the window and either hit or bit her. While we waited for the movie to start, Mel took out her revenge on the abominable insect and drew it with horns, fangs, and a very angry face. From that time on, monsters replaced her drawings of kittens and horses.
On that trip home, driving through KY in a U-Haul van, Mel and I started talking about the Bigfoot short story I had written a few months earlier for her birthday. She said she wanted to put some illustrations with it. We started playing the what if game as we often do on road trips, only our story building what if’s were more like: “What if we wrote and illustrated short stories together?” “What if we combined monsters within real world scenarios.”
At that time, my experience with monsters and cryptids had been little to none. Pretty much what I watched on TV. I’m a real world, general fiction (heavy on the romance) type girl who likes to throw her characters into deep struggles and watch them try and figure their way out. So the question became: “Can we blend the two without making it all about the monster?”
Thus began my education into the world of cryptozoology. This past weekend, three years after our first brainstorming session, Mel and I were back on the road, headed south to our first Cryptid Con in Frankfurt, KY. I found the experience fun and enlightening. I’m a people watcher. I love to study nuances in how people behave, what brings them enjoyment, how they interact with others, etc.
I wasn’t able to contribute much to conversations, but it was fun to watch Mel interact with Seth Breedlove of Small Town Monsters and Linda S. Godfrey, author of Monsters Among Us and The Beast of Bray Road.
I was able to talk to others about their journey and passions. Whether it’s creating stickers and buttons, illustrating comics, making movies, or being a super fan, everyone had knowledge and stories to share. And I did have something to contribute. People loved hearing about the time we got lost in the Pine Barrens while researching the Jersey Devil and what it was like tromping through the Bosque along the Rio Grande in Albuquerque.
As humans, we were created with a need to share with one another. It’s important to be heard and to listen to others. The folks at Cryptid Con understood that perfectly.
Who remembers this?
Since our conversation three years ago, Mel and I have written the books, which we’re shopping around. In the meantime, we’ve been writing a monthly flash fiction story to accompany a creature design by Mel. Her newest design comes out tomorrow. I won’t tell you what it is yet, but it’s a cryptid that flies. Care to guess?
We hope you enjoy our stories. While they satisfy our desire to create, they’re for readers to enjoy.
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