Trucker Kid, my sixth book to come into the hands of children, launches on January 1, 2023. Fans of the amazing Nerdy Book Club will recognize this post from August 31st. But I have been blogging with Writers’ Rumpus for about ten years now and wanted to share my cover reveal here, too!
Nerdy Book Club is where my two passions, education and books, come together with like-minded #kidlit folks. I taught fourth grade for 35 years where everything was immediate – remediation, communication, marking papers and tests. That was important to me. Now I’m in a whole different universe. Everything is slow in publishing…and requires more patience than teaching long division. Trucker Kid will be out ten years after I wrote the first draft. And you’ll see that my two worlds come together in this book. Trucker Kid mostly takes place in the classroom.
Trucker Kid started in March of 2013. I went to visit my daughter who lives in Taos, New Mexico. After a hike and a soak in Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort & Spa, we went to our favorite restaurant, The Love Apple.
Having been a teacher for so many years, when I’d enter a restaurant, I usually chose to sit away from children. But now as a #kidlit writer I’m happy to sit near families and put my author ears on alert. And on this particular night, it was the universe’s design that we were seated next to a family of three, a three-and-a-half-year girl old with her parents. They were having a very sophisticated conversation about a trucking trip little Athena took with her dad. We sat quite close and Taos is a small town and of course, my daughter, who was a midwife, knew this family. As a writer, I had become more attuned to listening, to looking for stories. My writing brain ignited and within a few minutes of sitting down, I knew I wanted to pen the picture book, Trucker Girl. So we chatted, exchanged information, and I began my journey into writing this story. It will be released ten years after the spark of this story began, and the title is now changed to Trucker Kid.
In this publishing business, timing is everything. The manuscript went through countless revisions, picture book revision with Harold Underdown and Eileen Robinson, picture book boot camp with Jane Yolen and Heidi Stemple, and many views by critique partners. It takes the time it takes. This was manuscript number 52 out of more than 120 at the present time. And because of Covid and how trucks showed themselves to be such a vital part of our economy, I dusted off the manuscript and added in back matter about what might happen in just a few days if trucks stopped service as well as an author’s note. Though I am no longer with the agent that sold the manuscript, it helped that someone else believed in this story and that she sent it to the right editor at Capstone. He said “I was really drawn to this story from the moment I read it.” And then there was the brilliant pairing with illustrator Russ Cox. I am thrilled to share the cover reveal here. Its sparkle and power feel beyond perfect. I truly believe in the process and the gift of a writing life with all its mysteries and wonder. What if I had not eaten in that restaurant that night, or sat next to Athena’s family? I am filled with a truckload of gratitude for all who have helped this book come to life. I do not write alone. And to all of you who teach, love books, write and illustrate, and support other creatives – Thank you! You are the people I’m excited to share the cover with now.
Trucker Kid will be out January 1, 2023.
You can pre-order it here.