“MUS, where are you?”
“Up here.” The mouse called from the hayloft ladder.
“MUS, you need to quit chewing on the old walnut grain box.”
“It’s not me. It’s those squirrels looking for handouts. They think the wood tastes like nuts. They’re a bad bunch.”
“We need to tell our people what’s going on.” Replied the cat.
“How are we going to do that, Buttons?”
Smirking, as only a barn cat with attitude can. “Miss Ann!”
“Yes! Her pen and imagination can make this happen!”
I am their creator, yet it was Steve who encouraged me to open the barn door to write children’s books. His stories from their family ranch about the barn cat with attitude are the backbone of the BCB Series. .
Like an actual trusted animal sidekick, the BCB animal characters are as comfortable with me telling their stories as I am wandering through corrals and pastures to capture inspirational moments. They trust me to tell their stories, get them out of predicaments, teach them right from wrong, and make them as endearing to those who read my books, as they are to me.
I will be honest, it is hard to keep their stories to a length that would be enjoyed by a child. The journey of the book starts with a thought, then pages of raw writing - longhand. I include some side notes for the illustrator as I write the longhand version. This is helpful when I bring the words to the computer. It’s where I condense the thousands of words in my journal down to hundreds to match what I am hopeful the illustrator will create.
The thing that isn’t hard when it comes to me writing children’s books is once there is a thought, an idea, I can produce a penned rough draft in a few hours. The BCBMPK book started while I was flying to a writer’s conference. The next morning, there were a few hours until the first workshop; I found a comfy chair and finished it. That afternoon, I met a lady who was a published children’s book author. Our conversation skirted my first attempt at writing a children’s book. She wanted to read what I had written.
Anyone who has written any kind of book knows this is where the work really begins. The process of edits, rewrites, interviewing illustrators, publishing and printing all came together a year later.
Are there additional BCB Series children’s books in the plan? Absolutely! Some have had their longhand version written, but that’s where they sit. Others are a few lines of notes in my journals with a flag attached to the page to remind me I need to revisit. Then there are a few that could possibly be made into two books. And on, and on it goes