Once upon a time there was a little girl who loved to imagine things.
It wasn't surprising, really. When she visited one set of grandparents, she would hear wild tales of a young Indian boy, including the howls of wolves and hoots of owls that accompanied his travels. Or she'd hear about the gypsies who roamed the countryside, waiting to steal away young children who wandered too far from home. At her other grandparents', she would make up stories about what was hidden up the narrow, twisted stairway that was behind the kitchen door. Her heart would beat wildly as she considered climbing to the top to peek at the goblins she knew would be there.
At home, her mother told her stories of little girls who had exciting adventures. Naturally, there was always one named Tina. She was a princess or a dancer or a unicorn trainer. Anything was possible in a story.
When her older sister would shut the bedroom door, demanding that she picked up her toys, the little girl would imagine a crooked old witch, setting a timer and threatening her with dark magic if she wasn't finished in time. Monsters and faeries would battle around her as she worked. Her vivid daydreams were full of brightly colored creatures.
One day, the little girl discovered a story about a mermaid who loved a human. Turning page after page, she came to the tragic end of the story. Tears filled her eyes. It was the first time she understood the incredible power of words. She was seven.
By that summer, the library had become one of her favorite places. It was there that she borrowed every book she could get her hands on, transporting herself to different worlds - from the moors of England to the red villages on Mars - always landing back in the safety of her own room.
And then, she realized that she could tell stories, too.
She wrote story after story over the years, usually hiding them away - keeping her wild imaginings to herself.
Then, one day, as a grown woman with children of her own, she decided it was time to stop hiding her words.
Embarking on a new journey, she started to write a story that she would share. She was excited. And scared. Her words wouldn't be for her own eyes only anymore.
Using every extra (and not so extra) moment, she wrote. And edited. And dreamed of the story she was telling. And when the story was finished, she worked on a way to share it.
And that is where we'll leave her story.
You may ask how this tale ends, but nobody knows. The ending hasn't been written yet. ;)