Pssssst! Want to Know The Inside Scoop About The Cutest Fairy Book Around?
By Amy Despain
Want to know where the Hair Fairies came from? Well, we did too. So, we went straight to the source and discovered some interesting details, rooted out some fascinating secrets, and even uncovered some exciting news.
The original Hair Fairies children’s book came out earlier this year, but its actual launch celebration didn’t take place due to the pandemic. Amy Despain, the author, was disappointed but not deterred from continuing to reveal more about the fairies and their mischievous mishaps while they tackled their hairy jobs each night.
Amy first discovered the fairies when her girls were young and would wake up with messy hair. She had to explain that the Hair Fairies worked hard to help them get a good night’s sleep, and the best indicator of that was their crazy hairdos in the morning. Time after time her girls would rise having evidence of the fairies’ visit visually displayed on their heads. And day after day, she’d need to disclose more and more about the fairies and their important work. Her husband told her to write the stories down. She did, and a rhyming cadence naturally suited the stories best.
Now her girls are grown, and her granddaughters are getting to hear the stories their parents grew up knowing. One of the fairies we learn more about in Amy’s second book, Tangled Trouble, has some serious similarities to one of her granddaughters, even going by the same name: Trudy. They both also have a love of food that causes some problems (as you’ll discover more about in the book). There are a few other interesting familiarities as well. Amy has grandparents with some of the same names as a couple of the fairies, namely Mildred and June. (Interesting coincidence.)
Once Amy signed on with Lawley Publishing, it was time to look for an illustrator. But she knew right away upon seeing Savannah’s interpretation of her stories. Amy said, “Savannah just caught my vision.” (We’re suspicious that Savannah also knows all about the Hair Fairies and their crazy, yet helpful, nightly antics and that’s why it was so easy to paint them.) They collaborated on the illustrations and have enjoyed working together so much that . . . well, we’ll tell you more at the end.
Savannah Whetten, the illustrator of both The Hair Fairies and Tangled Trouble, has been illustrating since she was young. When the opportunity arose to illustrate for Amy, she was ready and anxious to get involved. She was thrilled that Amy picked her after seeing a small sampling of her vision. Savannah worked closely with Amy in the development of each page through brainstorming, sketching up ideas, having discussions to see where things needed tweaking, and then drawing a final sketch. Once the sketch was just right, she would redraw it, add extra details, and then paint it. Savannah said, “I get a lot of ideas about the details while I’m painting.” So occasionally, these ideas have been the cause of her starting over, but the results have been worth it.
Each piece of art can take between one to three hours, depending on how long the sketch and adjustments take. Savannah enjoyed illustrating both books but says that the second was a little different. “I relate with Trudy,” she said. “We both like to eat, a lot.” (Spoiler: the second book deals with quite a bit of food if you haven’t gathered that already.) And what was the hardest thing? Savannah struggled with keeping some of the characters consistent—specifically Priscilla and Marjorie. (So maybe she hasn’t met those particular fairies yet. But we still think she’s too good to not be in the know.)
Both Amy and Savannah love to read as well as write, and both have different styles; Amy writes a lot of poetry, where Savannah writes and illustrates her own graphic novels. (This just reiterates that it doesn’t matter so much what you read, but that you read, and to read what you enjoy.) And both of these wonderful women are in school; Amy is the librarian at MacArthur Elementary school in Mesa, Arizona, and Savannah is an art major at EAC in Thatcher.
And before we keep our promise and give you a little insider information, here’s a few other fun tidbits that you can look into the next time you read the Hair Fairy books. When you spy a cat on the colorful pages, just know that it’s based on Penelope, Savannah’s boyfriend’s pet. The illustration where Trudy steals Santa’s cookies is one of her last-minute ideas and was different than the original art. There’s one family that makes an appearance in both books. And lastly, see if you can spot which one of the fairies got a change of clothes.
The best news of all is that there are more Hair Fairy adventures to come! And soon! So, don’t pull your hair out with worry, keep the treats away from your bed, and don’t fret if you wake up with an extra special hairdo in the morning because Amy and Savannah have more fantastic Hair Fairies children’s books on the way!
And if you haven’t read them yet, both books are available where online books are sold!