"Writing for Scott has been cathartic," she says.

"At times it has been difficult for other family members because we have different memories of those times. But I understand that it has been necessary for Scott to make sense of his life by writing."

Bruce Bortz, the founder of the Baltimore-based Bancroft Press, points out that it's rare for any author to both write and illustrate his own work — let alone an author who is dyslexic and color-blind.

"I have no idea how he does it," says Bortz, who has published several of Fuqua's novels. "It would be unusual for anyone without his disabilities to write and illustrate as well as he does. He's brilliant at both."

A perk of Fuqua's workday is that he spends lots of time with his kids: Calla, 17, and Gabe, 10. Both have provided an inspiration for the books and served as models for the illustrations.

For instance, when Fuqua was working on "Calvert the Raven," he asked Gabe to pose by pretending to fly through the sky on a raven's back. The boy perched on a coffee table, thrust out his arms and legs for balance, and tilted back and forth.

Now readers who pick up a copy of "Calvert the Raven" will see a drawing on the cover of a lively boy with curly dark hair witnessing the Battle of Baltimore firsthand. There the boy is, astride the back of a great black bird and soaring high above the shark-filled water.

mary.mccauley@baltsun.com

Jonathon Scott Fuqua

Age: 47

Birthplace: Frankfurt, Germany

Residence: Mayfield

Profession: Author/illustrator of 16 books and graphic novels for children and adults; instructor at the Maryland Institute College of Art

Notable titles: "The Reappearance of Sam Webber" (1999), "Darby" (2002), "The Willoughby Spit Wonder," (2004), "Medusa's Daughter" (2008), "Calvert the Raven in the Battle of Baltimore" (2013)

Education: College of William and Mary College, bachelor's degree in fine arts, 1990

Family: Married to Julie Lauffenburger, senior conservator at the Walters Art Museum; a daughter, Calla, 17; a son, Gabe, 10; and two cats, one dog and an aquarium of fish