In 1996, way back during my first year of teaching, I had the opportunity to attend a presentation by award-winning children’s book author Robert San Souci. Held at a local elementary school, Mr. San Souci spoke about the various illustrated books he’d written, his writing process, and what inspired him to write.
Sitting in a folding chair in a crowded multipurpose room that evening, a fire was lit inside of me. I remember walking away from the event thinking I want to do that. I want to write a children’s book.
So the next day I sat down at my computer and embarked on a writing journey that, though I didn’t know it at the time, would end up spanning over a quarter century. My goal was to create a fictional adventure for young readers, a story that could one day be published as an illustrated book. I had no idea where it would go, but I decided to just start writing. I was newly married and teaching full-time, so time was at a premium. To say my writing sessions were sporadic would be an understatement. As life happened and my family grew, I’d often go several months if not an entire year or more between sessions. But the fire never went out. It was just a slow burn.
After about a decade, I finally had a completed rough draft (emphasis on the word rough). I occasionally revisited the project over the next few years to revise and tweak the story, only to put it back in a digital drawer for later.
But the dream of publishing the story was still alive. The fire was still there, if only embers buried beneath the busyness of life.
Then last summer I made the decision to seriously pursue publishing the book. I dove back into the story, completing multiple rounds of edits and revisions. Choosing to self-publish, I also needed to find an illustrator who could take the story to the next level through pictures. I prayed to be connected with the right partner for the project, and my prayers were answered in the form of Johnny Davis. For the past year I have worked with this uber-talented friend and artist, and during our virtual meetings it was a joy to see him consistently produce my imagination in his artwork. Folks, his illustrations are going to blow you away.
So what’s the book about, Brent?
Set in an imaginary land of castles, kings, and queens, it’s the story of Quinn, a twelve-year-old orphan whose life has been one heartbreak after another. But when an unexpected visitor arrives in his village, his life is about to change. It’s a tale of adventure that will test Quinn’s courage and prove that good things come to those who persevere.
It’s not a typical picture book where each page contains an illustration and only a sentence or two (e.g. If You Give a Mouse a Cookie), but it’s not quite a full-blown chapter book either (e.g. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe). Targeting readers ages 8 and up, think of it as a bridge between beginning chapter books like The Magic Treehouse series and young adult chapter books. The book is 8”x10” with full pages of text and full-page illustrations on every second or third page. I’ve also included discussion questions at the end that teachers and parents can use to reinforce the values presented in the story.
I’m over the moon to announce that it’s finished and now available on Amazon! Click here to order your copy.
My dream has come true. It took over 25 years, but it's been realized. I’d love for you to pick up a copy and pray that you and your kids enjoy the story and are encouraged by the message it contains.
Below are the front and back cover for you to enjoy!
Brent has worked in the field of education as a teacher and administrator for 25 years. He is currently Principal of Alta Murrieta Elementary School in Murrieta, California. Read more about Brent here.
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