Thursday, December 29, 2011
Circling Around to a Dream by Kiki Howell
When I was a little girl, I used to write stories in my head as I fell asleep. As I grew, I started composing children’s stories, envisioning the illustrations and everything. I also wanted to draw as well as write. Growing up in the 80’s, I was raised on After School Specials, and soon the stories I dreamed up were like those, longer, but still with a point, a lesson to teach. Eventually, I went to college as planned to become an English teacher, thinking it an wonderful job for a reader like me that would leave me time to write.
But, life had other plans for me in the years to come. And soon I found myself a wife and mother who had not written a word in over a decade. Don’t get me wrong, these were dreams as well, they just came with snags, and life changed course for me. I did however get to live that dream of being a stay-at-home mom thanks to those snags.
As you would assume, eventually, my boys started to grow up, and there became a space in my life again to write again, well at least to realize that I missed it. When I did get back to writing, you know after I exhausted all the fears and excuses, life had tossed me into a very different type of writing than I had imagined when I was little. Then, three years into being a published author writing paranormal adult romances, I found a children’s story writing itself in my head. Having been a kid - and still an adult - with many fears, of course that was to point of the story, to help children overcome their fears.
In keeping with life, the story took many twists and turns before it became a reality. In fact, in the original story, the main character was a cute little monster, furry, pink, horned, adorable. She came close to reality, but again, well life! LOL The story got set to the side a few times. But, it persisted in coming to my mind often. Then one day close to Halloween, we were laughing about how our nearly 100 lb dog was afraid of children in costumes – and, thus the whole story changed once again. I decided to go with photo realism, using my own dogs as characters as well once the story started to change, and did illustrate it myself. The way it fell together really proved to me that this was the way the story was meant to be. Life, with all of its snags really did know best leading me into this new direction.
But, once the publisher, Dancing With Bear, accepted the story, pics and all, I saw my dream of writing a children’s book finally come true. More importantly, it had a very important message to convey to parents and children alike, one about how to overcome one’s fears with games and laughter. I’m just thrilled today to be on tour with my picture book, What Are You Afraid Of?