One of the questions I’m asked the most on school visits is “Where do you get your ideas?”
Ideas come from all around: TV, magazines, memories, grandmothers’ tales, dreams, and even nightmares. In the case of my first children’s picture book, Crash!, about a little boy and his first golden retriever puppy, I was inspired by a sad personal experience. Years ago, we got a golden retriever puppy, which we named Crash. Crash was a sweet, smart, assertive dog, and he stole our hearts from day One. Unfortunately, he was with us only three weeks. Though we didn’t know it at the time, my daughter, who was only four back then, was allergic to dogs. She fell sick almost immediately with a bronchitis that wouldn’t go away and was quickly turning to pneumonia. The antibiotics weren’t working. Finally, the doctor’s words crushed us: “You have to get rid of your dog.” Believe me, those are horrible words to have to hear. It broke our hearts, but only three weeks after we had got him, we had to give Crash up.
It’s amazing what the loss of a pet can do to you. The one who was struck the hardest was my son, who was about eleven back then. He felt betrayed by all of us, but especially by his sister who in his eyes was the criminal. After all, it was because of her that Crash had to go away. Tears were abundant that first month after we gave him up. To top it all, it was December, Christmas time!
The good side of this story is, we found a wonderful home for Crash. The last I heard about them is that ‘They love him to death’.
Right away we knew we had to do something if we were going to have a dog in the future, so we took my daughter to an allergy specialist who put her on a three-year treatment. Three years seemed daunting, especially at that time; but, as you know, time passes quickly and patience pays off. In the end, the treatment worked like a charm and we were able to get another golden retriever puppy. We named him Amigo. Five years old now, he’s our darling, the bell of our hearts. He keeps himself busy chasing the rabbits and interviewing authors for his blog, Pets and Their Authors. You can visit him at www.PetsandAuthors.blogspot.com.
But to get back to inspiration… I wanted to immortalize Crash. I needed to ‘let him know’ that we would never forget him—and what better way than with a book? I dedicated the story to my son, the one who was struck the hardest by his departure.
Writing is a form of healing. A book is a very powerful thing. For me, it was the only way to put closure to a heartbreaking experience.
If you’d like to check out Crash!, visit: http://www.guardianangelpublishing.com/crash.htm