I keep a notebook for each book I write. I thought it might be fun to share some of those pages with readers through a series of posts. Today’s post, the fifth in the series, will focus on my second picture book, Ride On, Will Cody!: A Legend of the Pony Express.
After visiting the Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave in Golden, Colorado in 2012, I knew I wanted to write a story about this larger-than-life showman, but I wasn’t sure where I’d focus. As often happens when I research, my reading started out as broad exploration. I trust I’ll stumble on something I want to study more deeply. When I found out Cody claimed that as a teen he’d taken the third-longest ride in Pony Express history, I knew I’d found my story.
Like Over in the Wetlands, there were rhyming words, rhythms, and refrains to play with.
Here I am getting closer! Some of these stanzas made it to the final book with little alteration. This one’s my favorite:
This book’s publishing journey was much like Will’s ride: three years on submission parallels the Pony Express’s third longest ride. Twenty editors read (and rejected) the manuscript. It was editor twenty-one (like Will’s twenty-one horses) who finally took the book on.
Whew and hee-haw! A journey indeed.