The Only Me - Children's Book

The Only Me — Behind the Curtain

For the first time in my life I went ahead and did a thing that was not perfectly planned or meticulously thought out… one day I opened up my laptop and began writing a children’s book.

Okay, let me backtrack here just a little bit. I guess I can’t say in all truthfulness that it was completely off-the-cuff. I have always wanted to write a children’s book. After all, I am obsessed with them; I am so in awe of children’s book authors who so seamlessly weave important life lessons throughout the pages of their books using very few words, many metaphors and masterful illustration.

My favorite part of each evening is reading to my kids before bed — I love when they pick the picture book I secretly want to read, such as The Rabbit Who Listened by Cori Doerrfeld, or The Invisible String by Patrice Karst and Joanne Lew-Vriethoff.

Oooh those books, with their subtle poignancy and beautiful meaning, really get me each and every time.

Then one day I pitched an idea to my editor at Lucie’s List. It started out as an idea to write about the importance of treating twins/multiples as individuals. So often people lump twins together — even referring to them as “The Twins” as opposed to their individual names — which makes it hard for them to differentiate themselves and build their own identities. But then we decided this concept applies to ALL siblings — not just twins. And thus, my article on the importance of treating each of your kinds uniquely was born.

But, as the parent of a set of verrrry different fraternal twins who are either always being compared (but more often, contrasted… “How can you possibly be twins? She’s so tall, and you’re so small! She’s built so athletically and you’re so dainty!” etc….) , I simply couldn’t get this notion of how crucial it is to treat twins as individuals out of my mind.

And that was the start of The Only Me. One day I opened up a blank Word doc and the story began pouring out of me. I’d be lying (and everyone would know it! 😉 if I said the characters, Stella and Paige, a set of fraternal twins, weren’t modeled after my own pair. And of course my oldest child was most certainly the inspiration for their big brother, Robby. At first it truly was just about the twin dynamic, but over time, and with the help of two fabulous editors — John Matthew Fox and Brooke Vitale — I was able to give more oomph and life to the story, and make it applicable to all types of sibling relationships, not just twins. John was integral in giving me the confidence to actually pursue this story and make it a real children’s book (I believe I initially emailed him the question, “Does this story even have legs? Is it terrible? Should I just give up?!”), and Brooke — a plethora of children’s book publishing knowledge — helped me to truly develop and hone the story and characters until I had a manuscript I was actually proud of.

After editing, editing and editing some more (and sending to beta readers and a few family and friends repeatedly… thank you for still being my friend even after that!), I found an incredibly talented illustrator, Arlene Soto, who is helping me bring this story to life. As the mother of daughters herself, she “got” my story immediately, and nailed the characters and rough sketches right off the bat. I feel so grateful and blessed that I have gotten the chance to work with all these amazing and talented people on my very first children’s book. Wow — they have all played (and still play!) such a big role in helping me fulfill this long-time dream of mine.

Sneak peek! Early sketch of Stella & Paige’s aunt gifting them matching outfits. Illustration by: Arlene Soto

So here we are — just a short time away from publish — and I’m ecstatic to see these characters and this sweet story about a little girl figuring out that even though she’s always being compared/contrasted to her twin, she can still be her own person – and that she’s special and unique just as she is.

I really hope you’ll enjoy reading The Only Me as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it!

Stay tuned for book launch updates, publish date, and where to buy it. And thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for your support.

~ Marissa

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