This is actually the first book I wrote, so it holds a very special place in my heart. I started writing The Nightmare Bug in July of 2014, and the first iteration is very different from the end result. Through all of the edits and rewrites, this book came together out of my own experiences. I suffered from terrible nightmares when I was younger to the point that I would take my favorite pillow person “Punky”, and a blanket over to my parents room on a regular basis. In fact, it was so frequent my parents were never surprised to find me on the floor beside their bed several mornings a week.
My nightmares were always so vivid and so realistic which probably helps fuel my creativity as an adult, but as a child made sleep very scary. Knowing my parents were by my side made me feel safe enough to eventually go back to sleep. However, the idea that I may slip back into another nightmare was always there. So, when I finally found the time to sit down and write, nightmares were an easy topic to start with since I had had my fair share over the years. Recalling my own experience with nightmares made the idea of The Nightmare Bug come together quickly; creating a rhyming scheme and relatable experience was another story.
As I’ve mentioned before, rhyming books are tricky to build, even when you have a great story idea. When writing this particular book, I had all of these ideas in my head that I wanted to put into the story, but the story didn’t always flow well, or have a good cadence when reading it aloud-two very important things when writing. I have 12 different versions of The Nightmare Bug saved on my computer. It’s fun to look back through the different versions to see where the book started and how it grew into the final version it is today. Of course along the way I had help and input from many trusted sources, including my husband, parents, my brother, my sister-in-law, and my trusted kindergarten teacher Cathy Gust.
With this being my first attempt at writing, it was extremely scary handing over my manuscript to those trusted readers, even though I knew they would support me. It’s one thing to write for yourself, but completely different to put your work out there with the possibility that it’s terrible or people won’t like it, especially after all of the hours I put into creating something so meaningful to me. Of course, the first version they read was probably version 8 or 9 for me, but all of them came back with wonderful suggestions and words of encouragement to follow my dream. This fueled me to keep editing and pushing myself to make The Nightmare Bug a story worth publishing.
However, getting published is not easy. I drafted query letter upon query letter to book agents, each one responding with a pass. Of course, with all of the rejection, it gets harder to put yourself out there each time, but it also makes you stronger and helps build character. I believed in this story so I kept tweaking it to make it the impactful story it is today. My hope is that children who suffer from nightmares on a regular basis see themselves in this story and realize they have the power to get rid of their own nightmare bug.