As an artist, Christine Waugh-Fleischmann relishes the opportunity to put her creativity to the test. Few opportunities, however, have challenged her abilities in the same manner as her recent collaboration with friend, and first time author, Sandra Callis.

Christine was challenged with bringing to life images Sandra describes of her near death experience in her recently released book, On the Day I died.

“It was quite a challenge,” Christine said. “It really got my creative juices going.”

The short story describes a woman’s transition from life to death, and the possibilities of what awaits us all after we pass.

“As I got to the end of it, I had tears running down my face,” Christine said. “It’s a really powerful book.”

Christine said the story on its own was powerful, but knew it could be enhanced with the right illustration. Coming up with the concepts for each page was an exercise in patience and collaboration. Christine said it took a year to illustrate as she and Sandra worked through ideas of how to bring each aspect of the story to life on the page.

Each illustration was done in watercolor on 20-inch-by-15-inch watercolor paper. Some of the illustrations include portraits of people Sandra and Christine know, some are more abstract.

“The writing is really enhanced by the pictures, and the pictures don’t really make sense without the writing,” Christine said. “I enjoy the abstraction, let’s your mind wander a little further.”

Christine said she and Sandra are already talking about a second book, and she looks forward to another challenge.

An art teach since 1979, Christine said she’s done a lot of illustrative work in the past, though On the Day I Died was her first foray into book illustration.

“When you’re in art this long, you do everything,” Christine said. 

On the Day I Died is available on Amazon, and at Barnes and Noble.