The Beginning of A Crew

Our original set up in my spare room.

I had just finished my first experimental project, Lonely Awake.
The last book was shipped that day, a fun night with my mom packing up stickers and books and taking them to the post office to ship.
And that exact night, I had a dream.
I was wandering around in a dark forest, when I found my husband, Joe. I hugged him and felt relief, as I had been looking for him for a while. But the thing is, when I looked at him, it… wasn’t him. It looked like him, but I knew it wasn’t. I ran away and found myself in an old staged town, full of copies of myself and my husband. On a bench, a large woman in a striped shirt and a trenchcoat invited me to sit next to her. She offered me a clipboard for notes, and informed me that I can’t go home until I find my husband. She helped me narrow down the slight differences between the copies of my husband until I found him. And I woke up.
I immediately and viciously started writing out the elaborated concept from this unsettling and intriguing idea. I spent the next month fleshing out the characters and the story, and started posting the canvas version over 2020.

Through 2020, Nonesuch was barely my concern, because God was preparing my heart for the work He would really do with this story.
The pandemic brought me face-to-face with the evils of the world, quickly building a fighter in me. The anger and loneliness of that season encouraged the prayers and brought me the stories that God would use to show me who He said I was, and to prepare me for what was to come.

God often speaks to me through my imagination. Through little stories I imagine just for me.
But one especially stood out.
I stood on a path, and behind me was something God wanted to show me. He told me to turn around, and at first, I didn’t want to, because I knew what was behind me. I could sense the size… the responsibility. I turned around and wanted there to be simple rabbits, or little animals… but I knew when I turned around, that I would be standing before a pride of lions.
A pride of lions that were following me. No aggression, but ready to go where God said to go with me. Lions I was responsible for, that I answered to. Lions who I would be leading.
I knew so clearly at this moment, God was telling me something big was coming, and soon, and He was going to provide the people I needed to make something big happen.

The pandemic carried on, I uneventfully finished writing Nonesuch, sort of disappointed and frustrated that I made no sales and didn’t have nearly the audience I did with Lonely Awake. But… I felt something so sure about going forward. I still had a feeling that this was all just beginning. It felt strangely easy at this time to have faith, with nothing to lose.

A couple months after I finished the canvas version of Nonesuch, Webtoon emailed me an offer to turn Nonesuch into an Original. I excitedly accepted.

I really had begun to form a pretty strong enmity with the world over the events of 2020, and then I brought my first daughter into it all. A sense of duty and purpose was instilled in me, and I realized here that God had a plan for my stories, to bring His truth into this world that my daughter would grow up in.

During 2020, Joe and I had also moved back home before we had Gwendy. We used to live in Bowling Green, and we were finally done driving back and forth to see our family three hours away, (another large inspiration for Nonesuch) and now that we were settled, we were in the market for some friends.
Jon Mark was a family friend of Joe’s, and an acquaintance of mine from high school as well, so we felt comfortable accepting his invite to join Audrey’s new D&D campaign.

I knew Audrey in high school, and always loved her art. So, naturally, I was elated to get to know her a bit more. When me and Joe showed up to that tiny apartment Audrey and Averi shared, squished on the couch and folding chairs and bean bags around dice and character sheets, we all instantly clicked.

We started meeting regularly. Eventually we started meeting at our house, and we were getting along pretty well.

The time to start working on the new Nonesuch was rolling in, and I had no idea how I was going to find anyone who knew how to use CorelDRAW. I needed in-person people so I could easily train them. It felt obvious that I should ask Audrey. She was already listening to me talk her ear off trying to get the new outline down. When I asked if she wanted to start helping me shade some panels, she was totally on board. I also offered the job to Averi, who seemed interested, but I could tell she held some reservations. I didn’t want to pressure her, but Audrey seemed to. I left the invitation open, when eventually, Averi accepted.

And there we were. Bitsy & Company.