Before I knew how to hold a pencil, I was writing stories. I dictated them to my mom, then drew pictures in the open spaces. In kindergarten, things got legit. I joined a critique group: My grade school’s Young Authors Club. (See below: diagonal stripes and pigtails.)
Eons later, when I was in third grade, I went to my first writing workshop, representing Bethany Grade School at the Young Authors Conference at Illinois State University. This event, now in its 45th year, is designed to encourage young writers to develop their storytelling skills. I think there’s a reason why I kept this super soft Snoopy T-shirt, all these years…
While I’m no longer young… I am now an author! After three decades of writing and working on my craft, I have news to share! Fall 2020 will bring the publication of my debut picture book, DANCING WITH DADDY. It will be illustrated by Ziyue Chen and published by Two Lions. Here’s the announcement, as it appears in Publishers Weekly.
Publishing a book for children is my oldest, biggest and wildest dream. But my debut is especially meaningful because DANCING WITH DADDY is inspired by my family. The main character, Elsie, has Wolf-Hirschhorn Syndrome - just like my eldest daughter. I can’t wait to see how illustrator Ziyue Chen breaths life into this story. (Ziyue is incredible! Check out her portfolio here.)
Writing can be a solitary act, but it isn’t when you have an amazing community alongside you. Here are a few special thank yous:
To Geneva Public Library, for lending me HUNDREDS of picture books over the past few years
To Stephanie Hansen, my literary agent, for believing in my work and in this story
To Kelsey Skea, editor of my debut, for embracing DANCING and helping to make it sing
To my critique partners for their constant support:
Heather, Chaz and Kate of PV Write Club
Rosie and Jen of JARLit
Barb, Danny, Alison, Lauren, Hannah and Clo of West PBCG
Ana, Elizabeth, Dawn, Jenny and Kathleen of YCC Chicago
To Dan, my girls and my family, for supporting my writing - even when I sneak down to the dining room table, or out to the patio, or into the car, or into a closet (you get the picture) to write
To my daughter’s friends and to children with disabilities who might relate to Elsie’s experience
To everyone who has encouraged me along my journey as a writer, and more importantly, as a parent
The next year will bring lots of exciting moments, as DANCING WITH DADDY begins to take shape and as publication day draws near. I’ll be sure to keep you posted along the way!
Until the next update, I’m sending along this message to say that dreams do come true and that prayers are answered, in God’s time and for the good of His name.