On October 15, 2012, I put my middle child, Natalie, to bed in my usual nighttime routine: snuggles, kisses, and blanket tucks. I then gave her hopes for a great sleep, prayers, and more kisses. It was getting late so I didn’t read her a book, but she asked me to talk about my childhood. Being tired, I couldn’t really think of a single story to tell her, at least not a new one.
So I leaned in close and whispered her a story that came pouring out of my mouth—a character was developing, there was a plot, a conflict. As the story progressed, my eyes started to well up. I was amazed at what was transpiring. The story ended and Natalie looked at me with wide eyes.
“Is that a true story?”
“No, I just made it up,” I replied.
“Well, that was the best story I’ve ever heard,” she said, sweetly.
It wasn’t until the next morning when I thought this story might have potential. It was a subject I knew something about. I’ve heard time and time again to write what you know. So I fleshed it out over two years. Since then, I’ve been editing, writing more stories, editing some more, researching, receiving feedback and critiques, attending writing conferences, and working toward publishing my first picture book. This whale might give you a little hint on what one of my stories is about. Spending time in Hawaii where these beautiful humpback whales live, inspired me to write an adventurous tale.
There have been many, many drafts of this story. I’m so grateful to my critique partners for molding this story with me!