It was August of 2013 when I sat down to write the story “Earnest the Writing Mouse.” It’s a children’s story about a little mouse who wants to become a writer, but finds out that writing a good story is much harder than he bargained for. After writing a story that none of his friends like, he feels like a failure! But instead of giving up, the mouse finds the determination and doubles his efforts, working harder than ever before. In the end, Earnest succeeds at writing a great story that captures the imaginations of all his friends. Earnest the Writing Mouse is a story about the importance of hard work and learning through our failures that both children and their parents can enjoy. But perhaps more profound than the meaning of the story itself, is where it began in the first place. This is the story behind what became my very first finished manuscript and soon to be my first published book.
In June of 2013, I was visiting family in California for a wedding. It was a happy time with families coming together to enjoy the special occasion. However, there was one particular afternoon that was not quite as happy. That afternoon I recall a rather frustrated 7 year old girl. My cousin’s daughter had tried and failed to draw something and was a bit upset by it. Like I imagine anyone else would, I told her that if she kept working hard at what she was trying to draw, she would keep getting better. But instead of accepting my advice, she stubbornly insisted that there was no way she would get better and that it was a lost cause. After a short back and forth in which neither one of us backed down, I left the room laughing to myself and unaware that the encounter would be the inspiration for my very fist completed manuscript.
The idea for Earnest the Writing Mouse came to me a few months later and when I was finished, I was elated that I had completed a task that I had dreamed about doing for years. Holding my very own manuscript in my hands for the first time was quite surreal. However, like any book for young children, words are not enough. Since I am not an artist by any means, I soon began looking for illustrators that could bring Earnest to life. I talked to people I knew and explored a few options; but for one reason or another, nothing panned out. After about a year or so of trying to get someone to illustrate my book, I shelved the project and resolved to move on to other things. While I brought the story out from time to time to get it edited and to entertain prospective illustrators, Earnest the Writing Mouse would largely remain stagnant since the day I finished writing it in August of 2013.
It wasn’t until this last weekend that things finally turned around. I was once again in California to visit family. On Saturday afternoon, I saw a particular 11 year old girl drawing at her grandparent’s kitchen table. I walked by and upon seeing what she had been drawing, I immediately asked her to draw me a mouse. She had never drawn a mouse before, but began to fulfill my request. While I may have asked her to draw a mouse for me, I didn’t need to see it to know who would be illustrating Earnest the Writing Mouse. I was already powering up my laptop to print her a copy of the manuscript. Indeed, it was the very same girl that had argued with me more than 4 years ago that she would never get better at drawing—the same girl who had given me the idea to write Earnest the Writing Mouse in the first place.
So it is with great pleasure I announce that after more than 4 years of hopelessly searching for the right person, my cousin Hannah will be the illustrator bringing Earnest the Writing Mouse to life. In the coming weeks and months, I am sure there will be many more posts and announcements about Earnest the Writing Mouse. Right now we are eying a spring release, but it is still too soon to set a definitive date. While I always saw myself as a science fiction author, perhaps I’m destined (against all odds) to write Children’s books. The only thing I do know is that there will be much more to come.
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