I’m at the end of the query list for The Sprenkil Adventures, and while part of me is disappointed that I haven’t more to show for my efforts than a few dozen rejection letters, I blink and realize I actually HAVE a few dozen rejection letters. Which means I’ve been doing something, and there is definitely something to be said for trying.
I’m not giving up, not yet. I’m taking a hard look at the manuscript and revising it further. I’m determined to get it under 1000 words, because I feel this needs to be a true picture book.
I’m also going to pursue the smallish list of agents who only want author/ illustrators. I’ve dismissed it from the beginning because my drawing chops haven’t been used since 2002, but the other day I started doodling for inspiration and the thought hit me I’d be a fool to explore all other options but this one.
So I’m going for it!
A while ago I posted a recounting of saving a hummingbird. You can look in the near future for other true animal accounts to appear on the blog! There are many tales from my childhood on the Blue Star Ranch involving llamas, cats, iguanas, chickens, and maybe the occasional snake, just to name a few.
We’re not only about horses here (although we do love them an awful lot)!
When I was 8, I loved more than just horses. I wanted to be an astronaut. I loved space, I loved NASA. It made perfect sense to me at the time to combine my two interests into one story, and to this day the original tale of Sprenkil on the moon makes me laugh more than the others due to its sheer absurdity.
I’m not sure readers are interested in sheer absurdity, however, and since I’m trying to bring some realism to my whimsy, I recently took to researching the current state of space exploration. (As one of my writing instructors said, “NEVER write about something you know nothing about.”)
What a cool age we are living in! Between NASA,SpaceX, Blue Origin, and Boeing, there are all kinds of exciting things afoot! Reusable rockets, private spacecraft, more planned missions to the moon, Mars, and beyond…
This is the question that leads me to hope that Sprenkil might find a publisher. I hear it daily from most of my children (ages 4, 5, and 7), and if the 6 month old could talk I’d probably hear it from her, too.
When I first sat down to re-write the stories (originally created as an 8 year old), I settled on two aspects that I wanted to make the focus: the horses (and Kathi’s interaction with them) and the land around the family’s farm house.
Sprenkil had to be special, and so I thought to fashion the “updated” Sprenkil after one of the most special horses I know–the Lipizzaner. To my mind, you can’t get any closer to a flying horse than a Lipizzaner performing the Airs Above the Ground.
The area around Kathi’s house had to be equally special, since it provides the setting for most of the adventures. One of my favorite childhood memories is camping in the Sierra Nevada mountain range, so what better way to showcase its beauty than to make it Sprenkil’s home?
My intent with the adventures is to incorporate in each book an element of nature learning, or at least nature awareness.* For example, Kathi’s ability to identify animal tracks in My Horse Sprenkil leads to her discovery of the pond where she meets Sprenkil (and the animal she was tracking).
*Understandably, this intent might have to adapt a little for Sprenkil Goes to the Moon.