“Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.” John Lennon
Ensconced in her car seat, Olivia stared out the window. “Tell me a story?” she asked, eyes pleading in the rear-view mirror.
How could I say no? I thought. Clearing my throat, I struggled to remember a story.
“Once upon a time. . .” I began, not realizing that with that tired phrase, I was starting a very a unique journey.
“I’m no story teller,” I told my wife later. “I’m just an engineer.”
She smiled, “Did she like it?”
“Yes, I suppose she did,” I had to admit.
“Then I suppose you are a storyteller.”
It was late 2009; my son’s medical residency schedule prevented him from making biweekly trips to pick up his daughter. I eagerly undertook those two-hour commutes, happily accompanied by my five-year-old granddaughter, Olivia. I would retell stories from my youth, books I had read, and movies I had seen. Olivia was always eager to hear new tales. Thus, the journey to Olivia’s Story began. As a way to entertain a 5-year-old on a long drive.
Eventually, I exhausted my memory of stories. In desperation, I made up my own, with Olivia as the heroine. Often she would direct where the plot would go. At times, she would take over and tell a portion of the story. Soon we had developed a fantasy world of good and bad fairies and the fairy protector Olivia. Each trip produced a new tale, more complicated than the one before. However, every story began the same.
“Olivia was preparing breakfast,” usually blueberry pancakes. While she cooked, the room glowed with that familiar blue light, and the blue fairy would appear with a mission for Olivia. Usually, there was an evil gray fairy creating a problem somewhere in the world. Olivia would run out to the dog pen, sprinkle blue fairy dust on Ariel, and fly to the rescue.
Soon Olivia was in school. To help her practice her new reading skill, I would type these stories and mail them to her, a chapter at a time. Our correspondence continued, and in several months, I had produced the first draft of Olivia’s Story. I had also exhausted the fairy storyline, so I set it aside, and moved to short stories, again sending them to Olivia,
I had never pictured myself as an author. My previous experience was writing dry engineering reports, not fiction. Nevertheless, Olivia enjoyed the stories. Later, looking at my body of work I wondered if it was any good, so I contacted an old English teacher who agreed to look at my stuff.
“You definitely have talent!” he replied. “Send your writings to possible publishers and don’t get discouraged. It can be fun collecting rejections. LOL”
Then I discovered Lulu.com and decided to self-publish four of the short stories as Bugga’s Tales. Then a ghost story became Who’s in the Lighthouse.
The following summer, Olivia and her mother traveled to Wyoming and worked at the Diamond 4 Ranch. That fall, I wrote a story inspired by that summer experience, again mailing a chapter at a time. It became a short chapter book – The Last Chore.
With these works of fiction for children and young adults under my belt, the draft of Olivia’s Story called to me. I could resist no longer, and pulled it off the shelf to re-read. With growing confidence, I finished Olivia’s Story: Protector of the Realm, sending it to Lulu to edit, illustrate, and prepare for publication.
I hope you enjoy this work of children’s fiction as much as I enjoyed composing it.
David L Dahl.
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Read more about Olivia’s Story here – http://www.buggasbooks.com/book/olivias-story/
Read about my other books here- http://www.buggasbooks.com/other-works/