The other day, Jeff Prinz and I went down to the Petaluma Museum to take a picture of Littlefoot’s muddy garden shoe on the stairs, and now while I wait for Jeff to fiddle with my new and exciting cover photo, I have nothing to do.* Crissi Langwell has formatted the interior, so I couldn’t edit any more even if I wanted to. But because I don’t want to leave the kingdom of Cenerentola just yet, I thought I’d take a moment to tell you all about Littlefoot and how she came to be.
I have another blog called Were You Always This Funny. One day I was reading Cinder, by Marissa Meyer. (I loved it, by the way.) While I was reading it I thought, “What if Cinderella didn’t want to go to the ball?” And so I wrote a short story on Were You Always This Funny.** It was maybe four pages, and it turned Cinderella on its head in more ways than one. Littlefoot loved her wonderful stepsisters and stepmother, and they encouraged her to go to the ball even though she didn’t want to.
When I finished that short story, I couldn’t stop thinking about Littlefoot and her sisters Benedella and Kindra. I loved them so much! I loved them more than any characters from the three novels I’d finished, frankly. Littlefoot was such a tomboy, and Benedella was so sweet, and Kindra was so delightfully boycrazy. And Grandma! What a handful! So I wrote another story where Littlefoot was a Rapunzel with short hair and another where Kindra was Little Red Riding Hood, and soon I had five stories.
I still couldn’t get enough of Littlefoot. I thought I had enough material to turn the stories into a full-length novel, so I used the missing Prince Fibian storyline as a thread to tie the whole thing together and rewrote it all. Unfortunately, I came upon my old problem of not having enough words. 20 thousand words is about 80 pages, so what I decided to do was to release this story as Littlefoot Part One on Kindle and Create Space ebook (for 99 cents) while I was writing parts two and three. And that’s where I am now. The first draft of part two is done, and pretty soon I’ll release that as an ebook too. When all three parts are done, they’ll be available separately and I’ll also release them together in a paperback.
A question that I find interesting is why did these characters grab me more than any I’d written before. My previous books all dealt with deeper topics, whereas this story is just for fun. I put little jokes into some of the characters’ names without giving away the jokes. (Can you find them?) And that grandma kept doing the craziest things! Maybe the characters were able to be themselves because they weren’t trying to save the world or make a point. I don’t know. All I know is that I love them and I hope that you love them too.
Welcome to Littlefoot’s kingdom. Enjoy your stay in Cenerentola.
* Nothing involving Littlefoot Part One. I have plenty of other things I should be doing, but I don’t feel like doing them.
** Don’t look for it; I took it down for spoiler reasons. However, you can find a slightly different version it in Anaheim Tales in the chapter called The Music Girl’s Tale.