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Family works to publish zombie book for kids
APPLE VALLEY • Chris and Amy Hernandez are trying to breath life into an idea sparked by a deep conversation about zombies that came from their 5-year-old son.
"It's a children's book called 'Jack and the Zombie Attack,'" said Chris Hernandez, 35, a freelance illustrator from Apple Valley. “My wife wrote the story and our son, Jack, inspired it, so I guess it’s a family collaboration.”
During their quest to publish the book, the Hernandez family discovered that putting their literary piece of work on a bookshelf will cost them a pretty penny.
“We’re trying to raise money to pay for set up fees, making T-shirts and producing 1,000 books,” Hernandez said.
The family, who is using the project-funding web site Kickstarter, is trying to collect $15,000 in pledged funds by Dec. 27, or go back to the fundraising drawing board.
“Barnes & Noble said they would love to consign the books,” Hernandez said. “Maybe a publisher will pick us up from there.”
After listening to their son’s deep reflection on becoming a zombie, the family did a photo shoot of their little monster complete with makeup and ripped clothes.
“Some of Jack’s deepest conversations have come when he’s in his sandbox,” Hernandez said. “We started a video series called Sandbox Session where Jack interviews different people.”
The family’s love of classic monster movies, with actors such as Bella Lugosi, Boris Karloff and Vincent Price, may have contributed to their son’s zombie interest.
Using various photos and illustration tools, Hernandez went to work as he illustrated the book version of his son.
When the artistic dust settled, Hernandez had captured his son’s childlike passion, curiosity and innocence, but the artist realized that he had a major problem.
“I had the idea, the art and the passion, but no story,” said Hernandez, who was mentored by Disney illustrator Joe Yakovetic. “That’s when my wife, Amy, came to the rescue.”
With her love of children and poetry, Amy Hernandez used her son’s conversation and husband’s illustrations to weave together a children’s story that would entertain the reader and teach good morals.
“I didn’t hold back on the vocabulary, so the story is going to be fun and filled with content,” said Amy Hernandez, who teaches middle-school in Hesperia. “It’s unique and it has many of our family and friends talking.”
After quitting his job of nine years, and driving to Orange County every day for three years to pursue his degree in fine art illustration, Chris Hernandez said his wife was very supportive as he pursued his passion.
“I was raised old school with the 9-5 job attitude, so it was hard to quit everything to pursue my passion,” Chris Hernandez said. “My wife was diagnosed with lupus so she’s not working. Hopefully our journey with zombies can turn things around for us.”
For more information, or to contribute to the book project, please visit www.facebook.com/HernandezDesigns or look for “Jack and the Zombie Attack” at www.kickstarter.com.
Rene De La Cruz may be reached at (760) 951-6227 or at RDeLaCruz@VVDailyPress.com.
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