After writing two books that were in the mystery/thriller/suspense genres, the last thing I expected to write next was a children's chapter book, and to co-author it with my granddaughter, Hailey. It started with an adventure in Illinois one day, as we were trying to find new and different places to explore. Our searches that day constantly included the phrase, "maybe, just maybe." Somehow it evolved into the idea of turning it into a book. Since Hailey was entering third grade that year, we thought it would be fun to create a character who had a lot of questions about this, but one who struggles with asking one at a time. Hence, Kaylee Ann Dean was born in Maybe, Just Maybe.
Since Hailey and I both love a bit of mystery, we created a rather bizarre sequence of events. Kaylee's third grade teacher begins turning greener every day, but doesn't seem to notice. The children are puzzled, and take turns coming up with possible reasons for this sudden change in their teacher.
When I surprised Hailey as the "mystery reader" for her class, I read our story up to this point. I loved the imaginative guesses her classmates made as to what was causing the teacher to turn green, and Hailey loved the attention of her peers begging for the ending of the book. Surprisingly, she refused to tell any of them!
Our dilemma with our joint venture, was how best to communicate since I live in Indiana, and Hailey lives in Illinois. In the end, we discovered there was no one right way, and trying different methods of sharing ideas actually kept us from getting stuck in a rut. We began with snail mail, which I enjoy as a keepsake. Going back and looking at her ideas on paper is priceless. Other times, we utilized Skype or Zoom, video chatted on the phone (my daughter's), texted, and emailed. There were also the occasional visits. We took our time, especially once school started (who knew third graders could be so busy?). However, we both had a desire to see our project through to the end. It was a great way to stay connected.
For me, the most difficult part was the publishing. I'd agreed, along with my daughter, that we would use KDP to keep cost down. The only problem was that this was my first experience with them. Although it was a bit of a struggle, the book finally became a reality. Hailey was flung into celebrity status among her peers at school, and of course was encouraged by her teachers and staff as well. Her grandparents and parents couldn't be prouder (myself included), and she even learned to write her name in cursive in order to autograph her books!
This adventure taught us both an extremely valuable lesson. It involves an inspirational quote we'd heard before, but now had new meaning. "You are never too old or too young to follow your dream." How true! Keep inspiring others, Hailey. I believe in you!
You can find Maybe, Just Maybe on Amazon.com