Color Stories is the literary fiction coloring book for grownups!
It’s “two great things that go great together” (to borrow a phrase from Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups): vivid flash fiction paired with coloring pages presenting lively and evocative drawings, by Seattle artist Sonja Gerard, inspired by the stories themselves.
Iron Twine’s founder and editor-in-chief, Ethan, was inspired to create Color Stories while working on a children’s picture book. “I was working with the author to match illustrations with her text, trying to find drawings that would really deepen the kids’ engagement with the story. It was exciting to think about kids going back to the drawings and enjoying them long after they’d finished reading. It occurred to me, ‘why should kids have all the fun?’ I was editing an anthology of serious adult fiction at that same time. I thought ‘what if we turned this into a picture book?’ it would add even more depth to the experience of these stories. The picture book turned into a coloring book because I wanted people to scribble all over the book and make the stories totally their own. It’s fun and why should kids have all the fun? Did I already say that?”
The stories in Color Stories are the product of a group of innovative Seattle authors. The group meets regularly in Seattle’s Magnolia neighborhood, in an apartment perched on the edge of Discovery Park, “to tell each other stories and inspire each other to craft work that shows something real about the human heart.” The group, comprised of prize-winning authors, including a veteran of the Best American Short Stories anthology series, calls itself the Edge of Discovery Writers, for literal and figurative reasons. They’re serious about their craft. Their new book is seriously fun.
Color Stories is the short fiction coloring book your kids will want to color. But it’s for grownups!
One of the great joys of publishing a book is watching readers receive it. Being in Italy seeing the people Larry wrote his book about receive their copies took that special experience to a new level for me.
Each of the 12 days I was in Italy, Larry and I would drive out in the morning heading for a meeting with one person or another who appears in the book. One day was Pier (The Pavarotti of Montepulciano), the day before was Daniela Borghesi, Administrator of the Seattle-Perugia Sister City program and Daniela Snyder’s namesake, before that it was Primo, and Piero, and down the list.
Larry does a short formal presentation with each of them. He tells them how much they mean to him, he shares with them how they have changed his life. Inevitably, they cry, happily, to realize the impact they’ve had and as it dawns on them that this book is about them.
Then Larry hands them the wrapped book and the magic really happens. They humbly unwrap it and Sonja Gerard’s beautiful cover design comes into view. It features a photograph of the arch at San Galgano, the locals all recognize it. They stop and their eyes go wide, they lose their breath. A moment passes when I can see in their face that the book is exceeding every expectation they had of it. They knew Larry had been writing a book, they didn’t realize he was producing a work of art. They run their hands over the cover, page through the book, marveling at the design, the photos, the Cortonese symbol, the family tree. The look of the book, the feel of the book, its quality and exacting artistry helps them understand the magnitude of Larry’s work before they’ve even read it.
When you produce a book you release it into the world and it is not yours anymore. Most often who receives it and how it impacts them happens out of the publisher’s view. To be present on this book tour to see the book enter the hearts of the people receiving it made my heart bigger and filled me with gratitude.