Where do my story ideas come from?
From all over and everywhere. From watching and listening and reading. From memories. Mistakes. Dreams. Ducks . . .
Sometimes ideas creep up on me while I’m writing in my journal — one line leads to another that maybe is the start of something good, and so I follow. But sometimes I know exactly when and where an idea struck me. The word “frogness,” for example, arrived years ago while I was walking through a coastal marsh near dusk.
Frogs, frogs, frogs were croaking, chirping, clucking, burping. The chorus was overpowering — it was SO loud! It filled my head and pushed out thinking, pushed out time.
Frogness. That was the word for this swampy oneness!
Of course, a word is not a story. But “frogness” stayed with me. I thought of it whenever I heard frogs calling. I knew there was something there. But what?!
A few years later, in 2008, I wrote my first draft of the story FROGNESS (Owlkids Books, 2021) — about a child, a dog, a splashy hunt, a head full of frogs. Some “pieces of moon” fell between shadows on the path, rippled over the pond. Where did those “pieces” of light come from? Something my little niece Thea once said. (Thank you, Thea!)
FROGNESS wasn’t the first picture book manuscript I wrote as an adult, but it was the first one that was really good. Still, it went through lots of changes, and then it took its own sweet time finding the perfect, enthusiastic publisher.
At last, at last, FROGNESS is almost ready to share. Illustrator Eugenie Fernandes has created pictures more gorgeous and magical than the ones inside my head all these years. I hope you will love it as much as I do.
FROGNESS will be published April 2021 by Owlkids Books.
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