Pictures tell stories. Sometimes, those stories are placed in photo albums. Sometimes, they make their way into family lore. And once in a blue moon, they find their way into a picture book.
Funny how the vision of a story begins, then evolves, and finally arrives at its final form–in unexpected ways. When I began writing my forthcoming picture book, Milo’s Moonlight Mission, I didn’t fully realize the impact my daughter and nephew would have on the story. When I started out, I managed to capture its literal truth—that of experiencing the wonder of a celestial phenomenon (a meteor storm). But at its heart, the story is about something even bigger, as depicted in this photo of Meg and Chris. Here, he is comforting her during a frightening scene in Lady and the Tramp. Having watched the movie many times, he knew this scene scared her, so he scooted over and put his arm around her. Lovely! But what does this photo, which embodies the warmth of a familial relationship, have to do with Milo’s Moonlight Mission?
Chris was sleeping over at our house the night we heard about a predicted meteor storm—hyped as what could be the most intense in decades. We rose at 4AM, trudged outside with blankets and chairs, and watched the sky put on a show, the likes of which I’d never seen. It remains for all of us, one of our most vivid, cherished memories.
Milo’s Moonlight Mission, formerly titled Clear Skies, Storm Likely, began as the story of a family’s witnessing a remarkable meteor storm. Though I didn’t see it clearly at the time, the story was about so much more. Time. Precious time. Time that seems more difficult than ever to harness in our crazy world. In order to spotlight the urgency of time spent together, I decided to make the story about one parent and one child. But for me, the beating heart of the story will never change.
And for that magical night many years ago, spent with my husband, daughter, and nephew, I’m over-the-blue-moon grateful.
Wow. What a beautiful description in the creation of your book. Can’t wait to read it. Love the picture too!!😎
What a backstory! I’ll keep an eye out for the book, for sure.
I am fortunate enough to have watched the progress of this story. And I also have the sweet memory of watching a similar event in the middle of the night with my own kids. Can’t wait to hold this book in my hands! Congratukations!!!
Thank you, my DEAR writing pal! You helped this story, grow, too.
What a lovely story, Kathy!
Thank you, Rose!
Thanks for sharing the story of your story, Kathy. I am looking forward to reading this new book of yours. Many years ago, our family also saw an amazing meteor show in the backyard and I’m fairly certain it had to be the same one.
Jim, what year was it? “Ours” was 2001, I believe.
What a beautiful beginning to a wonderful story! I can’t wait to read Milo’s Moonlight Mission! Congratulations!
Thank you for your kind words, Angie!
Wow! You just brought the magic of that event back and it made me tear up. It was a magical night spent with the kids- family time I wish I could have back. Thank you Kathy. Looking forward to reading the book and creating new memories with my grandchildren!
How wonderful that you experienced it, too, Molly! Congrats on your growing family. Little bookworms in the making!
Oh, I so love this backstory and absolutely the title. I’m so happy for you, Kathleen!
Thank you, Carol! I hope things are going well for you. I, along with the illustrator for MILO, will be guests on Kaitlyn Sanchez’s blog in August. Looking forward to it!
Somehow I missed this post, but am happy to see it today. Congratulations on a PBBC3 win! I agree with Carol, the title is fantastic. And your memories of that magical night are so sweet. Yes, precious time. Can’t wait to get a copy!
Thank you, Carmela! It’s very special to me that this story of my heart was a part of the magic of PBBC3! I hope you are doing well!
Love love love this xxxJY
Thank you, Jane! Miss you!