My writing life abruptly changed a few months ago one night at the Dunkin Dounts in Crestview. Robin Wiesneth and I had planned on hitting a poetry slam there and we’d missed it.
We decided to drown our disappointment in crullers and coffee. I may be remembering it wrong, but the pivotal moment comes back to me like this:
Robin: You should try writing a children’s book.
Me: (munch, slurp, munch) Yea, sure. If I have any ideas I’ll let you know.
Robin: Cool, do that. (munch, munch)
A few nights later an idea did indeed surface, and soon after Robin and I were collaborating on Baa Baa Yaga, an impending work of dark whimsy and bad knitting. Robin had awakened a monster in me and I found myself reluctant to work on my ‘adult’ projects.
Not long after Baa Baa was conceived and developing, another midnight idea went traipsing through my mind, scaring away sleep and giving me fits until I finally relented and scribbled it all down. I showed it to an illustrator I had recently met, Mary-Anne Leslie, and she said she wanted to illustrate it. Monsters Are Everywhere began it ascent from the depths of dark imagination to show itself to decent folk.
Both books are going to be brilliant and I can’t say how honored I am to have two such talented artists agreeing to bring my words to life on the page. I’m new to this children’s book thing, but without images such as these two ladies are producing, I think my words are going to fall flat. One thing I love about kids, the only thing they sugar coat is their cereal. If the book doesn’t enthrall, they will cry, yawn or ignore. Their honesty is beautiful.
Anyone who knows me also knows that once I get something in my mind, I start to obsess and I have to try every aspect. Last week I received an email from Amazon about their new Kindle Kid’s Book Creator. I wanted to try it, but with both my favorite illustrators busy on other projects, I had to be innovative.
I’ve been learning a lot about photography on my job at the newspaper, and I’ve always thought virtual worlds like Second Life are an untapped resource for images. All the stars lined up, I wrote up another story and hopped inworld to collect images. The result, What Did the Cat See?, is available exclusively on Kindle at the moment. Starting at midnight tonight, I’m offering it free! The free price will end at midnight Sept. 18.
I’m excited by this new genre I find myself in. Kid books are refreshing, humorous and there are few taboos. Imagine a paragraph about farting in your typical vampiresque novel and you catch my drift.
I hope my old fans have all had kids by now and will follow me along a new path. This one will still have dark corners, creepy scissors and monsters, perfect for your children, I promise.