We had the good fortune of connecting with Amanda Wall and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Amanda, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
Becoming a children’s author and illustrator of “Finding Family in a Far-Away Land” was motivated by my family and was an organically evolving project. As a parent of four with our youngest two adopted from India, I sought to find children’s books in which all my children could relate. I came up very short. One day after my youngest daughter, Ari, asked me to recount her adoption story for the 15th time I decided to write it down. As a family, we enjoyed remembering the moment we first met, and the overwhelming emotion felt by all. Our daughter’s hesitation towards us was resolved with giant, sugary gumdrops but truthfully spicy samosas would have been better. We reminisced how our family must have looked like aliens from another planet to our daughters from India. Laughter filled our dining table as we talked about the many firsts Priya and Ari experienced in America. Priya screamed at the sight of a sprinkler system and Ari protected us at the zoo by shooing away the leopards. Writing down my children’s’ memories opened up doors for productive discussion. Creating a picture book helped my kids piece together the puzzle of their lives and feel empowered by their bravery. “Finding Family in a Far-Away Land” was born when I realized our story could help other families and educate all children about a topic often missing from the bookshelves.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Illustrating my children’s book allowed me to accurately represent my children and their memories. Years ago, I practiced as an Interior Designer, so I had ample experience rendering and sketching rooms for clients, but I have never drawn children, or cows or Indian villages! I spent days working on my children’s faces until it accurately depicted them in cartoon form. I have always loved the organic, wistful nature of watercolor so I chose that as my primary medium along with ink and digital editing. More and more illustrators prefer the digital route but I personally love getting lost in my paints and therapeutic practice of the paint brush. My family called me after finishing “Finding Family in a Far-Away Land” and said we didn’t know you could illustrate to which my reply was “I didn’t know I could either!” I encourage others not to be deterred by inexperience because art can certainly be a learned skill with practice and patience.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Now that I’m fully vaccinated, I am itching to get out and enjoy the city! City Park used to be my old stomping ground, so I’d first take my friend to breakfast at Biscuits & Co to enjoy their amazing biscuit sandwiches and mimosas. Then we’d check out the inspiring Van Gogh immersive exhibit as we both appreciate art and technology. Even my kids would love a multi-sensory digital art experience. The Milk Market would be our next stop so my friend could get a taste of Denver as they offer many creative, culinary experiences. Even if we’re not hungry it’s fun to walk around and enjoy the city vibe. The next day, we’d likely want to catch up and relax so we’d go for a long walk on the high line canal and visit a friend’s nearby farm. She grows the most beautiful flowers and tasty raspberries. Afterwards, I’d call up my friend Alex, owner of Overboards Denver, and ask her to bring by one of her exquisite charcuterie boards. To cap off the day we’d invite friends and neighbors over for a backyard bbq grilled by Dae Gee Korean bbq because their flavors and short-rib stew is a must!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would love to give a shoutout to the many organizations who have donated so that I can gift my book to adoptive families and charities around the world. Thank you CMG Companies, Designscapes, Precision Retail, Westside Investment Partners, The Hatch Group and many more individuals for making this desire a reality.