For her high school senior project, Kendra Stefan wanted to write, illustrate, and publish a children’s book, and I agreed to mentor her through the project. As writers out there know, a book is a lot of work. For Kendra, the challenge was over the top. She was suffering from heart failure.
We got an early start, working on the book between her other studies, her numerous doctor’s appointments, and rising fatigue. As we got her story down, her condition declined and her position on the waiting list for a donor moved up.
When the story was essentially done, but the illustrations just started, Kendra got the call. In July, she received her new heart.
Kendra’s work on the book continued while she recovered in the hospital – between rehab sessions, medication adjustments, and the hard and painful work of building up her strength.
When she was released for visits home, we worked on the book. Still unable to return to school, we inserted the artwork. Between her follow-up doctors’ appointments, we formatted. Between her naps, we uploaded and worked through the myriad of glitches that plague even seasoned authors.
And then Kendra hit PUBLISH. Jackie Moves to Bunsvill is live in print and ebook.
If you feel like giving this young writer a big smile, click this global link:
Now back to Kendra. She was kind enough to do a mini-interview with me.
What did you enjoy most about writing a children’s book?
I think the thing I enjoyed most was drawing the characters for the first time and coming up with their personalities and how all of those different personalities would mesh together. It gave me so much creative freedom… there was no limit.
Was there anything that surprised you about the process?
Yes. There was a lot that surprised me. I never knew it would take so much time and so many computer programs. I was surprised by how easily I would make mistakes.
What might you do differently next time besides not having a heart transplant in the middle of the process?
I would work more at lining up dates and setting up plans to do readings instead of doing it at the last minute.
Any advice for other young authors?
As soon as words start flowing through your head, write it down because you can always organize those ideas into stories.
Thanks to everyone for stopping by to learn about Kendra’s journey and her book! I was so honored to play a small part.
Now get busy writing!