Kelsey, welcome back to Homeschooled Authors! Tell us what you have been up to lately.
Thank you for having me again! Lately I’ve been doing a lot of editing, which is my primary job. Earning income from my love of reading and writing is a real blessing and a dream come true. Unfortunately, it does slice away at the time I have to create my own works, but between editing projects I was able to write, revise, and, in February 2019, publish The Road to Bremen.
Tell us a little bit about the original story The Road to Bremen is based on.
“The Bremen Town Musicians” is a fairy tale in the Grimm brothers’ collection. Four German farm animals—a donkey, dog, cat, and rooster—outlive their usefulness to their respective owners, so rather than be killed, they escape their farms and head to the city of Bremen to seek their fortune as musicians.
What made you want to retell this story?
This has always been one of my favorite fairy tales, ever since I was little. I’d never seen it expanded into anything longer than a picture book. Wanting to try a fairy-tale retelling, I decided to pick this one since it’s fairly well known yet not overdone. I have a soft spot for animals and animal stories, and this tale tugged at my heart because the animal characters are old and considered useless by their owners. I wanted to show them thriving and succeeding despite the odds. Like the original fairy tale, I wanted to demonstrate that creatures (human or animal) we think are weak or useless are, instead, worthy of our care and consideration and also can be heroes themselves.
What did you enjoy most about this story?
The animals and their personalities! I had so much fun getting to know them: Etzel, the friendly donkey who learns leadership; Jäger, the timid dog who learns courage; Katarina, the feisty cat who learns teamwork; and Rüdiger, the intelligent rooster who learns humility. Writing their interactions and watching their friendship develop was definitely my favorite part of the process.
The illustrations are so amazing! Tell us about the process of getting this story illustrated.
Thank you! I’m thrilled with them, too. E. Kaiser Writes is a gifted illustrator, especially of animals. When I set out to write this novella, I had her in mind to illustrate it, and I’m grateful she agreed. First, I decided on the number of illustrations: one per chapter, plus the full-color cover. I chose the scenes to depict, trying for a variety of important characters, settings, and details from the story. E. Kaiser and I both researched reference photos to get the necessary German look and shared a Pinterest board. Then E. Kaiser did even more research, drew those amazing illustrations, and sent them to me as she finished each one. Let me tell you, I was practically jumping up and down as they came in. I plugged them into the formatted book (which actually wasn’t as easy for me as it sounds) and voila! My longtime desire for an illustrated children’s book was a reality.
Where can people buy the book?
The paperback and eBook can be purchased from Amazon HERE.
What’s up for you next as a writer?
I’m exploring ideas for a couple different stories, but I’m not sure which one will win out and be published next: a novel set in Victorian England or another fairy-tale retelling.
Any final thoughts?
Although I directed The Road to Bremen toward younger audiences, many of my readers have been adults who told me how much they enjoyed it. That really warms my heart. I want to encourage all you authors out there who have gotten burned out and aren’t producing books as regularly as you desire—if you write when you can toward a goal and just keep going, you will get there. The results may be even better than you expected. Our time is in God’s hands, and He is an ever-present help when we are overwhelmed!
Their lives are saved by a dream. But only friendship can make that dream a reality.
Once upon a time...
Etzel the donkey is getting old, but he works hard on his farm—until the day Herr Hoffman decides he is no longer worth keeping. With no choice but to escape, Etzel sets off on the road to Bremen to seek his fortune as a musician. On the way, he rescues three other animals—a dog, a cat, and a rooster—who are also old and destined for death.
Will these four new friends find their success and worth as musicians in Bremen? Or does the road hold something better?
Kelsey is giving away a paperback of The Road to Bremen