This month, I’m hosting Day 1 of the Virtual Book Tours for all
the children’s book authors/illustrators who are part of the
November Showcase at the National Writing for Children Center.
Today, I’m pleased to be hosting Day 1 of the tour for author J.
I fell into writing for children accidentally. I
never planned to write professionally. After my
bills became manageable a few years following
college, I researched graduate schools for a
master”s degree in history and a teaching
credential. I had narrowed down the schools in
which I planned to apply, but my situation
In 1998 I caught spinal meningitis and had a
stroke due to complications due to the illness. I
became a ventilator-dependent quadriplegic and
there was little I could do physically and
independently. I have always worked (since I was
ten years old) and was a bit of a control freak.
It is ironic that I became almost completely
dependent on others. For six years I completed
eight hours or more of therapy daily in an
attempt to get some function to return. When I
wasn’t doing therapy, I watched hour after hour
Life became a monotonous bore. I asked myself,
“Is this all life has to offer?” Through the
hours of therapy, I had regained partial use of
my left arm and hand. I started playing games on
the internet, but remained restless. My brain was
itching for something to do. I found an online
class, “Write Your Life Story.” That was the
beginning of my writing life.
Since childhood I had kept a diary. When I was a
little girl, I wrote stories and illustrated
them. After the class I discovered writing
provided a distraction and renewed a childhood
hobby. From this class I continued to take others
on writing and read blogs, newsletters and e-
books. I decided to stop all day therapy
sessions. I had one arm and hand and that was
enough. I took my writing seriously, and decided
to pursue a writing career.
After completing my twelfth online writing course
an artist contacted me with a picture book idea.
I tried to write the book. I researched writing
for children and took a few courses on the
subject. Writing for children looked easier. In
actuality it was more difficult, but I loved the challenge.
The most intensive and best course I took was
through the Institute of Children’s Literature
(ICL). I had enjoyed success writing Christian
and inspirational essays and articles for adults.
Many were published in magazines, newspapers and
five were published in the popular Chicken Soup
for the Soul anthologies.
Writing for children was more fun and challenging
than writing for adults. I loved dreaming up
characters in which children could relate. I
loved to laugh and tickle other people”s funny
bones. There were few sounds that I enjoyed more
than the laughter of a child.
The idea for any single picture book, comes from
many places. Klutzy Kantor was a mixture of ideas
that had nothing in common. A riddle, Pegasus,
klutziness, apples, a rainbow and a leprechaun
joined to make what I believe is an original and
The riddle in the book was shared with me by my
respiratory therapist from India. She told me how
the riddle perplexed her uncle. He was a
mathematician. Mathematical formulas were tried.
He wrestled with the riddle for two days and
found no solution. When he gave up, she told him
the answer. I shared the riddle with many and no
one has solved it except Kantor.
The main character, Klutzy Kantor, was a Pegasus.
I have read and adored fantasy fiction since
childhood. That influenced my selection of making
the main character a Pegasus. He was not only
clumsy. His intelligence was shown with his
riddle solving skills. One of my sisters is a
complete klutz and shared his intelligence. My
sister is Kantor in the form of a male Pegasus
that loves apples and solving riddles.
The remaining elements came from a tool I learned
in a writing class. I brainstormed for five
minutes and wrote anything that popped into my
head. Odd phrases appeared and I bundled them together.
When I dreamed up the second and third books in
the series, they were constructed in the same
way. The second book in the series, “Cobblledom’s
Curse,” showcased an elf cursed with insomnia.
Kantor and the elf wash Cobbledom’s dingy rainbow
in exchange for a wish. The third book, “The
Itcha Itcha Goo Goo Blues,” centered around an
elf that lost her hair to cancer. Kantor used
Cobbledom’s jealousy of his brother to convince
him to grant the elf’s wish for hair.
Each book endeavored to incite laughter, shared a
character building lesson and attempted to be
enjoyable to reluctant readers. In an effort to
get kids to dance and sing I co-wrote a song with
LeFerna Walch of the Character Studio Dot com.
For a review of my book I offer a free MP3 of
Kantor’s song., “Go Me!”
Follow all 7 authors on their 5-day Virtual Book Tours and leave
comments and you could win the Giftbox Giveaway from the
National Writing for Children Center. Click here to keep
following the tour for Day 2 at http://terri–