Meet The Writer
Born and raised in Edina, Minnesota, Laura Lee Scott checks in with over 20 years of experience as a professional writer. Although The Santa Switch isn't the first children's book she's written, it's her first "solo" project as a children's author. Says Laura, who now lives in West Linn, Oregon with her family: "My hope is that this unique book -- and the subsequent series that's currently in the works -- will bring a modern Jessica Claus to life, and, in so doing, create a strong, positive female role model for children. I think the time is long overdue that Santa's wife be thought of as an icon to admire, know, and love, alongside her world-famous husband. Fortunately, I was lucky enough to find Cheryl to help me bring her to life. I can't imagine doing this book series without her!"
In addition to writing The Santa Switch, Laura also creates and publishes memoirs and other literary genres for clients from all walks of life. "Everyone has a unique, fascinating story to tell," adds Laura. "It's a real honor to work closely with them to help them bring their story to the printed page." In her spare time, Laura enjoys writing poetry, renovating furniture, painting, playing the piano, and (last, but most importantly) spending time with her husband of nearly 17 years and two, school-aged sons.
"My kids were the inspiration for The Santa Switch," Laura says. "One night two years ago, we were talking about Santa and Mrs. Claus, and I realized that I didn't even know Mrs. Claus' first name, let alone if she had one. That seemed a little unfair, since she has to be working hard alongside her husband. In fact, if she's like most women, she's probably the one doing the majority of the preparation! I was proud of my boys, because they also wondered why she didn't receive much love at Christmastime. Without their input, I really doubt the idea for this book would have ever come about."
Meet The Illustrator Seasoned children's book illustrator and mom of three, Cheryl Crouthamel, originally hails from the south shore of Long Island, New York. Now residing with her young family in Northwestern New Jersey, Cheryl, who spent six years working as an NYPD police officer before taking on full-time motherhood and, eventually, also starting Cheryl Crouthamel Illustrations, says: "I love the combination of collaboration and also having some creative freedom with this book. Also, who doesn't love Christmas? I can't imagine not wanting to draw great characters like Santa, Jessica, or some goofy reindeer practicing how to fly!"
Bringing a book to life is always a lengthy, painstaking process, but fortunately, The Santa Switch has been a labor of love for the bi-coastal, collaborative team. "The story sets the pace and mood for the illustrations," explains Cheryl. "We begin with Laura's ideas and sketches and lots of discussions. Then, I create my own sketch from that, to make sure we're 'on the same page'. After that, I ink the illustration with black marker to bring out the drawing and erase the pencil lines. Depending on the page, I either physically ink it the old-fashioned way or scan it in and ink it in Photoshop. Either way, they always end up on the computer, and jazzed up in Photoshop."
When Cheryl isn't creating vividly colorful, inarguably beautiful illustrations, she's a busy mom and wife (to a fellow police officer and former NYPD colleague, no less), who loves to garden, cook, and bake. "I've seen pictures of the cakes she's created for her children's birthdays, and they are utterly amazing," adds Laura. "Cheryl could definitely start a career as a cake decorator -- but I hope that never happens!"
Fortunately, Cheryl is passionate about illustrating children's books . "I love what I do, and I really enjoy working with Laura," Cheryl says. "It's always great to connect with a talented writer, and be on the same journey through the creation of a really well-written tale. I was really sad when The Santa Switch's production stage was complete. . . Although, I know Jessie and Santa will be setting off on more fun adventures soon!" In fact, look for the first sequel A Trip for Mrs. Claus, slated for publication in early summer of 2014.