27 Feb

Some have wondered why I chose a mouse as the main character for my book, and understandably so. There are quite a few books with mice already. And to that I say, "Well, I guess there are just quite a few mice out there!". You see, Arnold chose me, not the other way around.

The summer before I was to retire from teaching, Rich and I took a camping trip to upstate New York.  We were intrigued by what others had said about its beauty and had only spent a short time in the state when traveling to the north east with our children some many years before.  I'd say, if you haven't been there and enjoy adventure, you may want to plan a visit.

We were settled one evening in the Catskill Mountains.  I recall it being in a rather low area, near a stream with large boulders.  There wasn't a lot else of interest.  Little did I know, that overnight would lead to more adventure than I could have dreamed of for my retirement years.

After our night's stay, it was time to head out to the Finger Lakes area.  It was a cool morning and we enjoyed fresh air with the windows down all the way to Watkins Glen State Park.  It had warmed up a bit, upon our arrival, and as we pulled into line to wait our turn to check in at the ranger station, Rich rolled the windows up and turned on the air conditioning.

To our surprise, as soon as the air went on, we found it had caused quite a disturbance to a tiny gray mouse that had been riding along with us all morning long from the Catskills.  Right before our eyes, he popped up and out of the grate on the hood of the truck and presented himself into my life, with a liveliness that nearly took my breath away.

In that moment, I adopted that brave little mouse into my heart and I was instantly aware that he would be the inspiration for my children's book. I was anticipating retirement and life without the joy of reading aloud to my students. The goal of writing a children's book was at that time just a mere thought. My close encounter with a real mouse and a subsequent trip the following summer to the Rocky Mountain National Park became my first book, Lucky Arnold's Rocky Mountain Adventure.

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