A long, long time ago (eight years, to be exact) I wrote a story for kids, about a girl who finds a feather from an angel’s wing, plants in in her front yard, and grows a tree filled with miracles. I had very little idea of where the plot was going when I started; it was really more about the whimsical idea of a tree that brought the townsfolk’s deepest wishes to bear (pun intended) in the Roald Dahl/Louis Sachar tradition, with a touch of Kate DiCamillo thrown in for good measure. But as Emmaline Starfire Donahue’s adventure unfolded, I realized there was something more real-world pushing the plot beneath the goofy charm and magical realism. You see, her momma disappeared not quite a year before the story begins, and she’s still incredibly sad about it. The disappearance became the framework, with the miracle tree becoming a vehicle for Emmaline’s healing. Suddenly, the story had more going on than just its original contemporary fairy tale leanings.
WHOA! So serious for a children’s story…
Actually, it’s a blend of everything: clear-eyed humor and wistful sorrow, goofball wit and heartbreaking loss, life-altering sadness that doesn’t seem to want to go away and cheerful good hope that things can always get better if you believe they can. And above all else, the notion that even those who leave you behind are never further from you than your own heart allows them to be.
And so, here she is, after some careful reconsideration, a solid clean-up with some greatly-needed help from the brilliant Clayton Smith, and a cover that only took eight iterations or so before it finally became “the one”: Starfire and the Miracle Tree, now available in electronic form at Amazon.com, with paperback soon to come. Click on the cover to be magically transported to the storefront. For readers age 8 and up…back to my storytelling roots!