The Serendipitous Story of Frieda B.
Earlier careers found me as a copywriter for Lands End, then as a media relations specialist for a PR firm in Houston. Marriage to my husband, David, had brought us to Houston in 1994 – many, many miles from the home I loved. He worked long hours, leaving me long stretches of homesickness… which I remedied best by fostering a love for writing for children.
It was my dear friend Ann in WI – to whose children I’d send my writings – that suggested I try writing a story about a girl whose name is Frieda B. (I can still remember her saying, “Get it? As in ‘She’s free to be whatever she dreams she can be.’”) And that selfless creative gift of a friend was the beginning of a character and calling I’ve come to know and greatly love.
This story hasn’t been without its conflicts. What story is? The original two manuscripts I’d written about Frieda were rejected repeatedly in the mid-90s. So much so, I eventually archived them; I simply didn’t want any longer to receive rejection for something I held so dear. They remained archived for more than ten years. In 2007, thanks to the prompting of my sister Jen, a West Coast publisher asked to read the manuscripts, then offered a contract to me to publish the series. Naturally, I was elated. The first book was illustrated, edited and ready to go to press in 2008 – which just so happened to coincide with the biggest economic crash of three decades. Skittish about the rising risk of publishing children’s books, the publisher ultimately decided to rescind the contract and walk away.
This, ironically and illogically, was the most serendipitous part: My husband and I, now fully appreciating the fact that all rights to the works had been returned to me, decided to take a leap of faith and self-publish.
And it is this single turn of events that has provided me the greatest amount of freedom in my work. The conflict was a re-direction to something better than I would have imagined… it’s what brought me to where I am now: author, publisher, speaker, encourager. And I am grateful.