In early 2016 Mattel and American Girl expanded their doll lines to include more diverse skin tones. Having bought dolls for my 3 daughters growing up, I was very happy about this. But I also felt frustrated that these companies could see the need for more racial representation while Christians remained in colorblind mode. I longed to help parents have conversations that celebrate how God intentionally made our features. I drew from journal entries I had made during a difficult ministry season, and formed this story.
What was the most difficult part about the publishing process for you?
Learning how to query and persevering after getting closed doors. It was hard to stay motivated after Christian publishers kept responding that there was no market for a book like this. I wanted to yell at them, “Duh, that’s why I wrote it!” I assumed secular publishers would be more open to a diverse book topic; but those doors didn’t open either. For a short time, I also considered self-publishing. Because I wasn’t talking publicly about the book & publishing process, often I was temped to just put it on the shelf. I just kept believing since God gave me this book vision, He would open the right door at the right time.
Did you have ideas about what the illustrations should look like and how did those ideas align with the illustrators, Ying-Hwa Hu and Cornelius Van Wright?
I so wish I were an artist! But I had saved a collection of diverse picture books from my kid’s younger years. In my first editorial meeting I took a few of my favorites that showed the style I favored & the direction I envisioned for ColorFull. That helped us narrow down illustrators and I ultimately choose Cornelius & Ying-Hwa’s style. I am so pleased at how it turned out!
What do you hope readers will gain from this book?
I hope children and adults will feel a sense of wonder that God made so many wonderful colors on purpose, especially all our skin colors. And I hope black children will be proud to see characters that look like them. Representation matters and this is a book I would have loved to read to my kids when they were young!
What is the main concept of ColorFull?
Why be colorblind about our skin colors when we can be ColorFull? Be fully aware and appreciative of all the colors God made!
How did you grow spiritually from this writing process?
As I forged on from closed doors, I found inspiration for more stories. One book turned into a series, which was advantageous when LifeWay’s door opened for me. I saw God’s faithfulness to me and understood the purpose in the process! The refining opened up a treasure chest of writing to share in due time.
What advice would you give to others who hope to publish a book?
As you embark on this publishing journey of faith, remember God’s faithfulness in times past. Believe in the purpose for the words you have written. When needed, reach out for help and support. Walk the race marked out for you, and don’t compare yourself to anyone else!
Is there anything else you’d like to share about this process, being a writer, being a woman of faith?
Months ago I heard a message from Lisa Bevere about how God seeds us with desires and hopes, and dares us to dream. That resonated with me because I know God seeded me with this story, watered it with tears and cultivated something beautiful that will in turn, plant seeds into the hearts of our children. This work is a witness that God can take our pain and use it for His purpose. He’s good like that!
When is the book going to be available, and where can people purchase it from?
ColorFull releases May 1.
Visit dorenawilliamson.com to pre-order, or go to LifeWay.com.
Book two, ThoughtFull, Discovering the Unique Gifts in Each of Us, can also be pre-ordered.