Making a book is hard. Doing it independently is even harder. These are the stories I want to share behind making "Merry Chrissy and the Naughty or Nice Truth."
Part 1: Meet Chrissy
Today's feature covers the titular character of the story, "Christina Emily Deigh" - Otherwise known as "Chrissy" for short. Throughout the majority of the book, Chrissy is portrayed as a 9-year-old girl who is obsessed with Christmas. She doesn't celebrate it every day, but she enjoys it thoroughly. When it comes to Chrissy, her idea of watching Christmas specials and buying ornaments in July are a great time. However, there are many kids in her school, particularly one girl who bullies her constantly. The girl, named Charlotte Marigold, finds ways to push her buttons and nearly pushes Chrissy over the edge.
Even, when Chrissy is recruited by the North Pole to do a very important task, the magic she's equipped with has it's limits. Even if she bypasses those limits, there are consequences to her actions. That means she can't use her magic to enact revenge on her tormentors. Chrissy's traits are independent, quick witted, focused, naive and tempered at times. She deeply cares about her friends and family and is honest to them...to a point. The Christmas philosophy of being "good for goodness sake" is put to the test for Chrissy. She will make decisions that would instantly put her on the Naughty list, but she makes those choices because she feels it will bring forth change.
Before I took on the hobby of drawing again, I was watching the Super Bowl in 2010 and I thought up some ideas. What if there was someone who enjoyed the holidays, but never turned off the Christmas spirit year round? With "Christmas Creep" coming up earlier and earlier in stores (I saw Christmas Decorations for sale in AUGUST at a Walgreens last year!) and radio stations playing Christmas music non-stop right after HALLOWEEN (like WALK-FM here on Long Island), this ideal may not be so far fetched. I'm sure there are a LOT of people out there that are like Chrissy.
Early designs of Chrissy gave her a more simplified hair style. Her ponytail was basically 3 giant blobs instead of the twisted braid style I have now. The ornament was much larger and I reduced the size since I felt it might've been too unrealistic. From the start, I wanted to give Chrissy a modern, festive look that didn't totally look out of place in July or March. Other than the Christmas Tree, the ornament dangling at the bottom of her ponytail and her brown Mary Jane shoes, her design is largely basic and mostly non-holiday. I absolutely did not want her to dress her up in striped stockings or make her look like she came out of Santa's workshop at the mall. Less is more. Her design is functionally basic that compliments an active lifestyle with a hint of rebel - namely her midriff revealing shirt and left shoulder and the long ponytail that goes down to her knees.
The character design is somewhat inspired by a character named "Edward" from the Anime series "Cowboy Bebop". I initially wanted to make Chrissy barefoot, but having her barefoot wouldn't work in the story. Another wild idea was giving Chrissy a Penguin as a pet...then I researched about them. Trust me, you DON'T want to have a penguin as a pet! There's a reason why they have their own habitat in aquariums. I sticked to a pet mouse named "Stirring" instead.
Merry Chrissy and the Naughty or Nice Truth is a middle-age grade novel designed for ages 9 and up that will be released on December 5th, 2014. Go to www.merrychrissy.com For the latest updates. You can also follow Merry Chrissy on Twitter and Google Plus.