It is said that two heads are better than one. For sisters Sarah and Hannah Dautel, this is usually the case. Living under the same roof allows them to inspirit each other’s work on a daily basis, and they both can attest to how the other influences her artistic ideas.
“There are times,” laughs Hannah, “when I’ll be working on an Ajax illustration, and just can’t get the image in my head onto the page. Sarah will come along and, with one stroke of the stylus, do what I’d been trying to do for an hour.” Likewise, Hannah’s input has been invaluable to the storyline. It was she who encouraged a reluctant Sarah to use major injury as the story’s turning point.
As both siblings and business partners, Sarah and Hannah have adopted a “sisters first” motto for their unique relationship. Though their teamwork usually runs like a well-oiled machine, there are those days when office space is too small, the deadline too short, and the mental blocks too big. “Sure, we get on each other’s nerves. But then we have to remind ourselves: we were sisters before the idea for Ajax came along, and we will be sisters after our final project comes to a close. You have to keep things in perspective.”
Do the Dautels have more in store for Ajax? Yes, sir! “The fun of Ajax is that the series could go in so many different directions. But,” as Sarah jokingly concedes, “we have to keep in mind that we’re writing for children. Sometimes we can have a wicked sense of humor!”
Both sisters agree that Ajax Bound for Glory can stand on its own, which is a freeing thought for them. Though the team has many ideas for future Ajax adventures, they are open-minded about the possibility of entirely new characters and themes. For now, Sarah and Hannah are enjoying the launch phase of their debut book, and will take the future as it comes—one hop at a time.