About Jean Daigneau
I love number crunching and anything that has to do with puzzles - especially logic puzzles and jigsaw puzzles. And, I'll admit to playing more than my fair share of solitaire on the computer...which usually warms me up for writing. That led to my interest in writing about secret codes. Besides my passion for writing and, of course, my family, I also do a lot of counted cross stitch. Maybe it's because it involves counting, and I'm a closet math geek, but I find it extremely relaxing. I've done well over 40 baby name samplers for family members and numerous other projects as gifts. The most challenging project I did, a large Santa Claus, took about 200 hours to complete and won a first place award at the Stan Hywet (Akron, Ohio) needlepoint show. I'm very blessed to have a loving family and a great job and great friends. If I could change one thing about my life in general, I can't really think of a thing. Well, okay, I'd like to weigh what it says on my driver's license.
My husband Buzz and I met on a blind date when we were 16. We’d been together over 50 years before his untimely death in 2019. Besides raising three great kids – Tracy, Ben, and Nick — we spent a lot of time cruising in one of our old cars — a 1964 Corvair and a 1951 Chevy.
While raising three children kept me busy full—time, I still enjoyed working from home. I typed term papers for college students and worked for a professional association of architects for over 14 years.
My love of kids and reading took me to my children’s school where I volunteered in a lot of different ways and still do. The library was the perfect spot for me and eventually I took a part—time position as the aide to the librarian.
Selling My First Picture Book
Over 20 years ago, I wrote a rhyming picture book as a gift for my first grandson called Ty’s Ordinary Day. My son Ben illustrated it. Much to my surprise, I sold the manuscript to a small publisher on the West coast within 5 weeks of submitting. I still remember getting off the phone and screaming at my good news. The downside was that they weren’t interested in the illustrations. I didn’t know you weren’t supposed to have your manuscript illustrated, so I had to share that news with Ben, who softened the blow, by assuring me that he’d rather be rock star than a children’s book illustrator.
A Disappointing End
I won’t go into the gory details, but suffice it to say that Ty’s Ordinary Day was never published. When 9—11 occurred, the country was in a tailspin, and the small start—up publisher who had purchased the manuscript (along with a second picture book), was struggling. After about 18 months, it was suggested that I hire an attorney to get the manuscript back. I did. And I’ve never been able to sell the story since.
Never Give Up
The silver lining to that first failed publishing opportunity is that the initial interest by the editor gave me the confidence to believe that I had at least a little talent. Although I’ve got a binder full of rejection letters, I’ve also had my share of successes. I’ve been published in a number of magazines, including My Friend, Clubhouse, Fun for Kidz, and Highlights. I’ve sold several nonfiction articles to Highlights and have sold greeting card text and craft ideas. I’ve appeared on local television and radio and my freelance work has been published in the Children’s Writer’s and Illustrator’s Market and The Guide to Literary Agents.
As a past Regional Advisor and current conference committee member for the Ohio North SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators), I’ve met many wonderful people, made some great friends, and have connected with a number of editors. I’ve learned a lot about writing for children, especially from members of my two wonderful critique groups: the Jambies and the Jemelies.
I’m very lucky today to have a wonderful friend and agent, Vicki Selvaggio, owner of Storm Literary Agency, and I know we’ll have a long and productive journey together. If there is anything I could change about my life, I’d have started writing professionally sooner. But with eight grandchildren – Ty, Aaron, Eli, Simon, Christian, Ryan, Tessa, and June – I have a lot of inspiration for good works to come!