Molly's Anxiety

Written by Mary Amundsen
Illustrated by Micah Amundsen


Molly really shouldn't have anything to worry about when she goes to visit a lake house for the summer with her owner. However, once they arrive, Molly gets very anxious over a smell she doesn't recognize. How do you explain to a dog that they have nothing to worry about?

Just like Molly, our anxiety can't be reasoned away, but we can employ other techniques to cope with and overcome our fears. Learn these lessons along with Molly in this book which was written and illustrated by a grandmother and grandchild creative duo, based on a true story.

Mary Amundsen (she/her) has a B.S. in Nursing, and a M.S. in Counseling. She had a career in both fields. She has had poetry published in The Cancer Poetry Project; Echoes From the Heart; and Poetic Strokes in addition to essays in other publications. She wrote chapter one for The Mayo Clinic Guide to Women's Cancers.

Mary Amundsen
Author

Micah Amundsen (they/them) holds a BFA in Entertainment Design from University of Wisconsin Stout. Their other works include the queer supernatural webcomic "The Roommate From Hell'' and fantasy adventure graphic novel series "Cursed.'' Find out more about their work elsewhere on this website.

Micah Amundsen
Illustrator

"I enjoy running, barking, and belly rubs."

Molly
Dog

This story was a true occurrence I experienced at a lake house with Molly in October 2020. As I dealt with Molly's anxiety, I realized the similarity it had to the anxiety all of us have experienced with the coronavirus pandemic. As the week went on, I knew I wanted to write about it and give my grandchild, a comic book artist, the opportunity to illustrate the story so it would be an unforgettable read for all ages.
- Mary Amundsen

Q&A

What gave you the idea for this book?

Mary: When we went to the cabin and Molly had anxiety for three days, which was unusual, as I tried to help her I realized it also pertained to the anxiety we had about COVID-19.

Micah: It was Grandma's idea.

What was your favorite thing about working together?

Mary: Reading the story on it's own wouldn't be as interesting to people, but I knew my grandchild could illustrate it with really interesting illustrations to appeal to a wider audience.

Micah: Collaborative projects are nice because there's more creative freedom than something done for hire. This idea was really cute and fun to work with, and it's great to be able to say I collaborated on a book with my Grandma. 

What was one challenge working together?

Mary: Keeping on a timeline without a strict deadline. Also, how to get it printed, but Micah worked that out.

Micah: I don't do well without strict deadlines, haha. I think Grandma was kind of frustrated by how long it took me to complete the artwork

What was your motivation for sharing this story with the world?

Mary: We all deal with anxiety on various levels in navigating the world and getting through life. Anxiety can be a much deeper and long lasting problem that could involve professional help, but I thought that a book like this one might help others with the anxiety of everyday life.

Tell us more about Molly's personality?

Mary: Molly is extremely sweet, easy, and affectionate, and very tuned into my personality and what I'm doing. She gets very tense and anxious around most other dogs. Since she's a rescue dog, I think she wasn't socialized around other dogs very much when she was young.

How did you get into counseling as a profession in the first place?

Mary: Originally I wanted to be a physician. When I went into nursing, I was very interested in counseling, too. I like to solve problems, so I saw it as an opportunity to help others solve their problems.

What are your thoughts on collaborating again in the future?

Mary: I would happy to if we think of anything else. I don't have any ideas at the moment for another theme or book, however.

Micah: I'd definitely do something again if Grandma has any ideas.

What did you learn about writing and publishing for this project?

Mary: Publishing really is a whole other area of expertise, which has changed a lot with the internet and self publishing. It's rather involved.

Micah: I figured out how to make an Amazon seller's account.

What's something new you learned about each other from collaborating together?

Mary: This maybe wasn't new, I was just very impressed with Micah's creativity in illustrating the story. I didn't really give any direction on what particular drawings to do for each page, so I was very impressed with how it turned out.

Micah: I learned that my Grandma has a lot of great ideas, though sometimes they need a little extra copy editing to get the point across.

How did you get into being an artist in the first place?

Micah: I've been making comics since high school, and then I went to college for it. I've self published a lot of my own work and done some freelance work for other companies as well. I always have multiple projects going at once (as you can find elsewhere on this website)

How can you tell when Molly is anxious?

Mary: I can tell from her body, she gets very tense, particularly if I take her for a walk and she sees another dog. 

What are you going to do with the book?

Micah: We're giving copies to our local library and selling at local bookstores. If you aren't in our area, you can order a copy from me directly!

How would you describe the art style?

Micah: I went for something a little softer and more cartoony than my usual work, especially on the last page, which I wanted to feel like a painting. When it came to the character design, I had to strike a balance between making the main character look like my grandma, but also following her instructions of "don't draw me with wrinkles."

How did you make this art? Was it all digital?

Micah: All my work is digital- drawn on a computer with a screen tablet. All the colors were taken from a singular photo of a lake cabin I found online, since I'm not very good at inventing color schemes from scratch. 

Can we follow Molly on social media?

Micah: We're gonna try to teach Grandma to use Instagram, stay tuned for how that goes.

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