Who inspires you?
Don’t you just love it when you meet someone that really inspires you? Maybe it’s someone famous, but maybe not. Maybe it’s someone from your community, or maybe it’s even someone you work with. But you know that feeling you get, when you realize, wow, this person is pretty amazing and I really admire them and they make me want to be a better person?
Yeah, that feeling. It’s pretty great, isn’t it?
Well that’s the feeling I got when I met children’s book author Drew Daywalt during my recent SoCal visit.
I Found My Crayons!
Drew is the author of “The Day the Crayons Quit,” which has been on the New York Times Bestseller list for, oh I don’t know, TWO YEARS. He just released a sequel, “The Day the Crayons Came Home,” also currently on the NYTBS list. It turns out he’s good friends with my ex-brother-in-law, Jim. Jim invited me to the book launch for “The Day the Crayons Came Home,” which just happened to be the day before I was leaving SoCal. I said yespleasethankyou.
We drove out to Camarillo, which was about an hour away, for the very first book signing, the very first day the book was available, which took place at a children’s / young adult bookstore. We arrived in time to see Drew thronged by small children and “children’s book groupies” (I didn’t know that was a thing! I now have another goal in life – to have groupies). I got to meet Drew, as well as his charming wife Marichelle, and a few of their friends. It was great fun, and as I was standing there with my books, waiting for my chance to get them signed, I realized that wow, this is really something. Here is someone who started out writing screenplays (just try finding someone living in SoCal who HASN’T at one time or another written, or attempted to write, a screenplay), worked hard to find a children’s literature agent, waited 6 years to get picked up by a publisher, then another 2 years for the illustrations to be finished, and then – released a book that’s clever, funny, beautiful and – as it so happens – successful.
Drew was very kind, very funny, and was a real pleasure to meet. As was his wife. I ended up emailing with her once I got back to Tulsa, and she was very kind and gave me some suggestions for getting started in The Game. Oh and here’s one of the coolest parts of the story! It turns out that Jim had given them a copy of my book, “The Thunderstorm,” for Christmas. You know, that book my Uncle and I self-published last year. And they LIKED it! Ooooo! So I really feel I’m on the right track.
Step One: Find Inspiration. Step Two: Do the Work.
I didn’t just fall off the turnip truck. I know that Drew’s kind of story doesn’t happen very often. Nonetheless, it’s a story of perseverance, hard work, talent and patience. It’s a story that reminds me of the most important thing about being a writer: to write. Oh, and getting an agent never hurts.