About the Author and Illustrator
If there is one word that describes Diana’s interests, it’s eclectic. She was an honors physics student, practiced large, small, and exotic veterinary medicine, and led a Web and documentation team at the San Diego Supercomputer Center. She managed the aquatic plant section of a tropical fish wholesaler, bred giant toads from the Amazon rainforest, co-authored an academic paper on how tree frogs stick, and wrote the screenplay for a science fiction movie.
She loves nature and has shared her home with squirrels, opossums, snakes, turtles, frogs, lizards, cats, dogs, birds, and fish. In her professional role, she has performed surgery on a piranha and helped to rehabilitate a moray eel with a broken back.
Misho of the Mountain is her debut children’s book. She and her wife live in San Diego surrounded by pets, plants, and computers.
Teri Rider is a graphic designer specializing in book design and illustration. She discovered her love of books when she began illustrating for a well-known publisher of special education material. She authored, illustrated, and collaborated on hundreds of books during her employment there.
Teri now owns her own graphic design studio where she assists authors to self-publish their works. Her primary interests are illustrating children’s and young adult books and book cover and interior design for all genres.
Traditional publishing requires the author to accept the illustrator that the publisher provides. But Diana wanted someone who could care about her characters on a personal level and bring them to life on the page with delicacy and empathy. Having worked with Teri on an anthology of short stories in the past, she chose Teri to illustrate her book. The decision to self-publish was born.
Save a Tree, Save a Child
“Misho of the Mountain” evolved over time. Their weekly meetings over two years allowed them to fine tune the textual story as the illustrations defined the visual story. But the project always rested on their core values.
Diana was ecstatic to work with someone with a shared reverence for nature and our legacy to future generations. They both believe that preservation of our forests is fundamental to a healthy planet. They hope that children will learn to cherish our wild places more readily because they identify with a single tree, our protagonist, Misho. And on a very personal level, they want Misho’s story to help nurture tenacity and resilience in a changing world.
Believing in the synergy of words and images, Teri and Diana decided to break from conformity. At 64 pages of color illustrations and 2000 words, “Misho of the Mountain” straddles two children’s book genres. Traditionally, picture books are around 32 pages and contain no more than 500 words–sometimes no words at all. Books at the Early Chapter level are longer but far more sparsely illustrated. But Misho’s adventure needed a big canvas. Like Misho, they decided to “go out on a limb,” to take a risk by combining color illustrations with chapter-level text. They both adored illustrated books throughout their childhood and continue that love to this day.
Life can be unpredictable, despite our best plans and most hopeful dreams. Misho’s adventure is about that unpredictability and how important it is to persevere, because you never can tell when you might meet someone who will enter your life for a day or a lifetime and affect your future in profound ways. Some of the most auspicious collaborations spring from random chance. Teri and Diana both feel fortunate, indeed, to have joined forces for “Misho of the Mountain.”