The Next Best Thing

While reading email the other day, I came across a note from Judy Reeves, a blogger and author I like to follow for advice on writing. She was tagged by a fellow author to answer some questions on her latest work in progress in a project called “The Next Best Thing”. As I was reading her answers, I decided it might be time to tag myself and post the answers to the same questions on my own blog.

The questions:

What is the working title of your book?

  • The title of my book is Tommy’s Tee Shirt.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

  • The idea for this book came from a friend, Debbie Post, who told it to her kids while we waited to be served at a busy restaurant in Beaumont, TX. She folded a paper napkin and then told a story about a little boy who went on an adventure in a sailboat. There was a storm, the boat ran into some rocks, a big bird landed on the top of the mast. As each of these events happened she tore a piece of the sailboat away. At the end of the story she unfolded the remaining napkin and revealed a battered tee shirt. The kids were mesmerized as they listened to the story and watched the poor little sailboat being ripped to shreds.  As the years passed, I lost contact with Debbie. She and her husband divorced and she moved to Louisiana and my husband and I moved to Georgia.  I used CopyScape, an online tool, to check for plagiarism and found nothing similar.  So, I decided I would put it down on paper and take at shot at becoming an author.

What genre does your book fall under?

  • This book is a children’s picture book; however, I don’t have any pictures yet. I’ve contacted a few publications to see if they would accept it as is. One said they don’t have an in house artist, and the ones with in-house artists have said they don’t think they can sell the book, so far. I won’t give up until I’ve had a thousand rejections… then I might think about putting it away for a while. I know at least MY GRANDCHILDREN LOVE IT!

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

  • Let me get back to you on that. It would clearly be an animated film.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

  • Bored and restless, Tommy takes his mother’s advice and goes outside to find “something to do” in this story of adventure and peril.
  • How can a sailboat be turned into a tee shirt?
  • more on this later

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

  • I first heard the story 25 years ago. At that time I wasn’t considering writing children’s books at all. I told the story to my own children as they were growing up, but again, I didn’t think about writing it down. Then I started telling it to my granddaughter, and it struck me that this would make a great children’s picture book. I outlined the story in the spring of 2012, and wrote the first draft that summer.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

  • My co-workers and fellow teachers Tammy Askew and Shantel Covington were instrumental in encouraging me to write the story. I also got inspiration from online forums and blogs that I read frequently. I became interested in writing as a career in 2005 as I was getting burned out with being a classroom teacher. I love teaching, I just hate the day-to-day discipline problems that go along with being in the classroom. I’ve been searching for a way to make a living as a freelance writer since then. Now, it’s almost 2013, and time to put that “research” into practice.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

  • Another co-worker, Shelia Holloway, gave me the idea to continue the origami theme in a series of books where a different article of clothing is created from other adventures. There could be hats, pants, socks, any number of items. That will test my writing abilities as I feel the credit for this story should go to Debbie Post. Without her original version, I never would have had a story to tell.