How It Began
The Misadventures and Tribulations of Princess Persnickety and Stefan the Stableboy was kind of an accident. It began when one very determined 8-year-old looked at the bookshelf where the books I'd written were sitting and realized there was nothing on it that interested her. So she stood in front of me and looked me in the eyes as she said I needed to write a book for her age.
I heard her and made one of those "that might be nice" and "maybe one of these days" type of responses.
But she didn't give up. Just as she insisted on wearing her "golden dress" every day when she was 3 or 4 years old, she continued to let me know that I still hadn't written a book for "her age yet.
Yes, I finally did it. I had hoped to have it finished for her 9th birthday, but I got it done a couple of months later, for Christmas.
It wasn't an actual book, but I'd printed on both sides of regular pages and put it into a special folder that held it tight and had plastic on both front and back. I even gave it a cover that has a sweet princess, albeit a slightly younger one.
And, yes, I used my real name because I wasn't about to publish it.
So everyone was happy.
P. S. I've posted a picture of the 9-year-old who inspired the book. Could you say no to this face?
The Rest of the Story
An unexpected consequence of writing the first book was that I was reminded about how much I love fantasy. In fact, I sort of modeled the book after C. S. Lewis's The Horse and His Boy, which is still one of my favourite novels. I actually didn't discover the Narnia series until I was in third year university, and I loved all the books, but especially that one.
Anyway, I eventually realized two things.
- Since I'd already gone to a lot of work to write the book, I might as well go the second step and actually publish it. (The 9-year-old agreed.)
- I really liked the characters in the book I'd written, and I wanted to know what happened next.
I wasn't able to do anything with them right away. But during the last couple of years when I found writing difficult (thanks to breast cancer, chemotherapy, etc.), I've been able to revise the original book, publish it, write a prequel, and now I'm 25,000 words into the second book.