From Idea to Bookshelf Part 1: Love Can Come in Many Ways

Idea and Inspiration

I’ve never written an “idea to published book” account so I thought this would be great time to start! My first novelty book, Love Can Come in Many Ways (Chronicle Books), is coming out October 20! (to preorder, click HERE).

So! Let’s start with the idea because all stories begin with a spark. Sometimes the spark is like a tiny spark jumping off a flint stick and other times it’s a roaring fire. Either way, inspiration comes, and when it does the idea doesn’t let go. It burns in my mind until I get serious and sit down to write.

In “Love’s” case, the spark came in early 2017. I, like many others, were coming off a challenging 2016. Our country, one way or another, was dealing with the outcome of the 2016 election. And in early 2017, I found myself feeling increasingly disturbed by the way people were treating each other.So much unkindness, nonacceptance, unwillingness to listen. None of it being what I try to live my life by—love, compassion, acceptance, and kindness.

So one day, as I sat pondering over how to deal with all the negativity, it occurred to me to write a book about love. Now, being a writer for young children, I didn’t want to just write about love, I wanted to write about…

But how, I wondered, could I present love in a kid-friendly way that didn’t seem like I was hitting them over the head with a heart- and glitter-filled stuffed bunny?

Animals! That’s how. I’m a huge animal-lover and have been since I was a kid. I mean, what kid doesn’t like animals? So, I now had a theme (love) and a main topic (animals). Next I thought about how to present the story. Because I wanted love to be the focus of the book, I wondered about how animals express love and affection to each other? To get ideas, I went to the internet. Here are a few photos I’d saved…

I couldn’t get over this giraffe image, and as I was perusing through so many heartwarming images, my opening line came to me…

Nose to nose,

Gaze to gaze,

Love can come in many ways.

I didn’t necessarily start out wanting to write in rhyme, but like much of when I begin writing for younger children, the rhyme just happens. And once I had what I thought was a perfect opening, I knew I had my rhythm pattern for the remainder of the book.

So, that’s how the idea for Love Can Come in Many Ways came to be. Next post, I’ll talk more about the actual writing process of this piece. But for now, I’ll leave you with a few more inspiring photos.