For some people who have known me for a while, this new adventure I decided to take in life (being an author) came out of left field. I had a corporate job with people I loved to work with, but something always felt missing. I was so terrified to share my desire of wanting to write a children’s book that only a couple of people knew I had this dream. This was a “secret passion” because I felt like if I shared it with the world, I was going to be held to a certain expectation. The possibility of failure plagued me and announcing my dream to the world would make it a public spectacle if my story proved to be unsuccessful. If it was a secret, I was free to dream and hide from all the different failure (or success) stories that could happen. However, this same argument held back my dream of it potentially being a success too. So after much deliberation, I decided to take a chance.
In 2016 my husband Robbie deployed to Afghanistan. I was not prepared (nor was he) as we found out two weeks before he was leaving that he was going to be away for nine months. Talk about a whirlwind. When your spouse leaves on a deployment, you have to adapt your lifestyle in order to survive. Luckily I had Monroe – my saving grace.
Monroe was the key player in my day to day life to make sure I did not fall to pieces. Having someone rely on you made it impossible to lay on the couch in a depressed daze while binge watching Netflix and counting the days until your spouse returns. He and I had to develop a new routine and new hobbies to help time pass. On top of the redoing furniture, movie nights, exercise, baking, and more (I could go on with more examples but that risks us getting off topic) I decided to channel my feelings into writing. Children’s books were always near and dear to my heart since all of my jobs I have had my entire life dealt with kids. That is why this genre seemed to come to me so naturally and best fit me.
Some of my hobbies included:
Need inspiration for care packages, deployment walls or meals for one? Visit my Pinterest!
The topic of deployment through the eyes of a dog just wrote itself based off of my life. I had friends whose children had dealt or were dealing with deployment. I would hear stories about how they do not really understand what is going on or how upset they would be with their parent not there. This would break my heart. Deployment is already hard enough if you understand what is going on, but imagine if you had no idea?
Thus, insert Monroe. This pup had no idea what was going on. There was no way to communicate to him in a way he would understand that his favorite belly rubber and wrestle partner was leaving for a long time (even though he is spoiled like a child, he is still a dog). So, I threw myself into his world (with the perspective of a child in mind) to write a story that could explain what so many children in the United States experience – over a million children in fact.
Monroe Tales: It’s Not Goodbye, It’s See You Later was born! I had the story written to completion in the summer of 2016 and had not let anyone read it until the fall. The story was so close to me that if someone did not like it, I knew I would take it personally and be crushed. I finally mustered up my courage and sent it to Robbie to read. I was a nervous wreck and only sent it to him after he begged for weeks to read it.
As the great supportive husband he is, he loved it. My confidence started to grow more with the increasing amount exposure I allowed my story to have. I knew I had to work on my self-esteem if I wanted to have this book be in the public eye. Not everyone can relate to this topic or might like my writing style. What helped me most was when I would think about that one child that would hold my book smiling. That one child relating to Monroe and fully connecting to the story - that is what fully built my confidence. In late 2016 after Robbie returned and I started submitting my manuscript to publishing houses.
By the following summer I found a publisher who believed in my story. I signed on with them to print my tale and I was finally able to gather the courage to tell all who listened, “I am a children’s book author.”
The rest of the story you are seeing unfolding before you. My book is on the verge of its public debut and I am still a nervous wreck. Although I still worry about its success, my ultimate goal of helping children dealing with a loved one leaving outweighs any negative feelings. I am happy I am taking a chance because I never want to (or have to for that matter) wonder, “What if?”.
I knew that I wanted to do something other than just work my corporate job I had been at since graduating college. I knew that I had a bigger purpose in life and prayed about it often. When this idea was thrown in my lap, I knew it was for a reason and the passion that came with it ignited a fire inside me. This was a story I was supposed to tell.
I hope that those who decide to embark on this journey with Monroe find it relatable and can use it as a teachable moment. Whether you are a child of the military, want to educate your child about what others have to go through, have a working spouse who travels, or just love a cute puppy – I hope that this story speaks to you.
What was something that helped you through a tough time or deployment?
Always chase your tales,