The Author and his Princess
The origin of this story begins with a night time road trip. It was late in the evening and I was driving my family home from visiting my parents. It was Fall and the sky was darkening.
My daughter Katie, stuck in a car seat with little to do, wanted nothing more than to fall asleep. Something she simply could not do without a bedtime story. As you might imagine, reading a story while driving was not an option even if a storybook was within reach. So, I did the next best thing… I made something up.
As I started, the words flowed easily. I remember not really having to think too hard about the next line or even where the story was going. It just happened. Speaking the story to my daughter, I did various voices for the gardener, the court jester and the rest.
She laughed, settled down and fell asleep.
Over the next few years, Katie would often ask for “her story” before bedtime. She would dismiss any number of children’s books in favor of the one I made up. The one with the little princess and the servants who talked funny.
It never occurred to me until several years had gone by that I probably ought to write the whole thing down. In the telling and retelling of the story, details were added and subtracted. Character names were given then taken away. It was my hope to put together the absolute best version of the story.
One of those versions I wrote out and had put into a picture frame with the idea that I might give it to Katie as a gift. I found it months later, reread the story, and tossed it as unusable and, frankly, pretty pathetic.
The older Katie became, the less she wanted “her story.” She found her own stories in various book series and didn’t need Dad to read her a bedtime story anymore. So, the little princess and her funny servants simply sat in my head. I didn’t know it at the time, but the story was percolating subconsciously. It needed some refinement and wasn’t quite ready to come out again.
A year or so back, an idea occurred to me that a story about a princess going to bed might work as a children’s book. If I could just find an awesome illustrator to help pull it all together, I could give that book to Katie as a gift. If anyone else wanted a copy… well, I could make that happen too.
The lovely and talented Kelli Roos was on board and she started doing preliminary watercolors and drawings. I started working on crafting the best version of Goodnight Princess (It finally had a title other than “My Story.”). The characters started taking shape. The look of the interior pages started coming together. The story was finalized and I was happy with the result.
The path to publication went through many ups and downs, but ultimately the product you have in your hands is the definitive version of my silly little princess story I made up on the fly during a road trip to try and get my kiddo to fall asleep.
I could not be any happier. I hope you like it. Although, to be honest, I think Katie misses me doing the silly voices.