A year and a half after signing my contract with my publisher, the release date for Seeing Cinderella has finally arrived! I spend my days using words to craft stories, hoping that I can somehow make others see the people and the places in my imagination. But there aren’t enough words in the English language to accurately describe how crazy, awesome, cool and terrifying today feels. And I’m so incredibly grateful to all of my friends and family who have walked with me through it all this past year. (Especially to my sister Lisa, who fearlessly spammed almost every single one of her facebook friends to tell them about Seeing Cinderella.)
Several years ago I came up with the idea for a pair of magic glasses that could read people’s thoughts. That was the easy part. The more difficult task was deciding which character to give the story to. What girl needed those glasses? Initially I set out to write a story about an aggressive eighth grader who didn’t always “see” how her actions affected others. But it didn’t stick. Sometimes we choose our characters, and sometimes our characters choose us. So instead I ended up with Callie Anderson, a shy seventh grader who’s terrified to start middle school because she’s certain everyone will laugh at her and think she’s a nerd.
I’ve blogged before about how my friend Cara gave me a mailbox with a letter inside. It was written to me from Cara’s seventh grade self. This is part of what it said:
“Your book inspired me to be a better person. Thanks for using your God-given talent to help me see the “Cinderella” in me!”
Now, Cara hasn’t read my book (because I’m just evil like that, and have made my friends wait), but as I’ve reflected on her words it has reminded me of a few lines in Seeing Cinderella. There are several passages that I like, but this one is by far my favorite:
At that moment, I figured out my favorite part of Cinderella’s tale. And I realized it wasn’t the pumpkin carriage, the killer dress, the Prince, or even the ball–magical as that all was. No. My favorite part was when Cinderella chose to step out of the attic. When she walked down those stairs to the Prince’s men below and showed everyone her true self. When she chose a future different from what she’d always believed was possible. (pg 201)
I guess when I think about who I wrote Seeing Cinderella for, it was for the girls who don’t see the Cinderella in themselves. And by “Cinderella” I don’t mean a girl who needs a boy/prince/man to rescue her, but a girl that deserves to be treated like the amazing, image-bearing person she is. The girl that stands in the shadows and wonders if anyone will ever see her. It’s my greatest hope that girl–and those like her–will read Seeing Cinderella and go forth and choose a future different, and better, than what they’ve always believed was possible.
For those of you that choose to read Seeing Cinderella and meet Callie in the coming weeks and months, thank you. I hope you like Callie.
Because I certainly do.
*And, if you’re not sick of me yet, here are some other places I’ll be hanging out today.
Over at Laura Pauling’s blog I discuss why I write upper middle grade.
Over at the Lucky 13’s blog, I discuss my sleepover superstition.
Over at Saundra Mitchell’s blog, I take the 9 Spot Challenge.