One winter, I was walking by the shrubs that bordered our building. Dozens of sparrows were perched inside peeping away. I spoke into the bushes, "Hello, puffy little birds." As I turned away, a strand of my hair got caught in the branches, forcing my neck to bend back. I chuckled. Perhaps both the birds and the leafless branches were trying to get my attention. Maybe they wanted to tell me something positive about winter.
I have always dreaded the gray season. I need clear thoughts, and winter challenges my mood. On that winter day, however, nature was playful, and in a moment of inspiration, I spoke the name of a little girl who personified spring, Petunia Fairweather.
My Mom used to call me Petunia. While I was recovering from hip surgery as a child, she sang Richard Baker's song, "I'm a Lonely Little Petunia." In the song, Petunia cries, "Boo Hoo," because she is in an onion patch. My Mom sang the crying part with extra drama to make me laugh. She wanted me to be strong.
I also see Petunia as my niece when she was eight years old. At this age, Hannah really began to show her witty, independent nature. She was my mini super-heroine.
Later, during spring, Petunia woke me in the middle of the night. I heard her voice, insisting that I write her into a children's book. She would be the star, but she needed a sidekick and a crew. Enter Logan Waverider, inspired by my nephew, Blake, those sparrows and branches that first caught me, and a whole group of other helpful plants, insects, fish, reptiles, birds and mammals.
Petunia Fairweather is a work in progress. I am currently seeking advice from professional illustrator and lovely friend, Lizzie Savanella, as I develop this children's book series. Stay tuned for updates!