Friday, March 23, 2018

A Book Is Born

I'm thinking back 8 years ago. I'm just minding my own business in my empty-nester world on the Central Coast of California and all of a sudden these two children enter our lives. Overnight, my husband and I become grandparents....not in the typical way, mind you. We are now foster grandparents.

The little ones come with a box of well-used clothing and a few toys. And they also arrive with some physical signs of neglect, abuse and gaping holes in their spirits from a chaotic world lacking love and security. Our son and his wife welcome them with open arms. "Come as you are" and they do. They come with guarded smiles and a string of adverse life experiences behind them.

They stayed for 14 months and then moved on. That decision was made for them by a judge. But the rest of us were forever changed. The pain of their departure diminishes a little each year and we go on with our lives as new grandchildren enter our world, but we are not the same people for having loved them. And this was the beginning of how my first book came into being.

A series of events...something I read, a recollection from my own childhood, an idea, and somehow a seed is planted. And a story begins to weave its way through my mind. I have periods of frustration along the way. There are many long stretches of time where I don't go near it and am tempted to put the tale aside for good because I can't write an ending I'm satisfied with.

And then, finally, it comes together after a few years and I know the story is complete. It's not a neat and tidy ending because the life of displaced children is anything but neat and tidy.

Once the story is finished I wake up to the realization that this story will definitely need to be marketed to a specific audience. This book is for children, ages 4-8, and focused on those who experience upheaval from being moved from one home to another. Marketing is not my strong suit. But I believe in the power of the story so much, I am compelled to find the trail of their fingerprints and the people assigned to  guide these thousands of children as best they can.

The pencil sketches are almost finished and my artist, graphic designer and I, are on the home stretch with this project.

It's about resilience and hope and it will be published before summer's end. Stay tuned.