What is your book all about?
It’s about a little girl leprechaun named Annabelle who is accidentally shut in a traveler’s suitcase and ends up in Central Park in New York City, living in an abandoned rabbit warren. When she realizes she won’t have her father or a brother to bring leprechaun gold into her new home, she decides she wants to become a shoemaker herself to earn her own gold.
When she begins making shoes, she is not very good at it and her pot begins filling with silver rather than gold. She enlists the help of her new friend Emily to become better at making shoes and figure out how to fix her leprechaun magic. Emily’s father Stefan is a widower and Emily only has one arm though these facts or how they happened are not really addressed in the story at all. The intention was to show that children with disabilities are friends just like any other and that their disability does not devalue the contributions they can make. The book is about the power of friendship and the magic in doing something you love. I wrote it to inspire young girls, children with disabilities, immigrant children, and child refugees who have lost parents.
What inspired you to write the book?
There were several things that inspired me to write this book.
First, my daughter loves holidays and St. Patrick’s Day has always been one of her favorites. It used to upset me when she was growing up that there were no stories for young girls. The stories and fables were always about drunk old leprechauns and their pots of gold or young boy leprechauns. We are living in the 21st century. I understand that it’s a fable and I am all about preserving traditions. But fables evolve and can be written differently. There’s no reason it could not be rewritten to include girls and there is certainly no reason it could not include all of the groups I hoped to inspire with the story.
Second, I’ve been aware for most of my life of the plight of child refugees and saw firsthand the impact of war on refugee children who lost their parents as a result of war and who do not have advocates. I donated half of the proceeds, which I split evenly with the artist, George Jung, to helping child refugees of war. Right now, half of the proceeds from the sale of each book are donated to UNICEF, but I hope one day that the book will make enough to set up a fund for them that will provide these children with education and their own voices which carry far greater weight than my own. Maybe one day, they can tell their own stories and those stories will help end these conflicts.
Third, I was inspired by a comic book when I was younger by a comic book called Jon Sable, Freelance. The main character wrote stories about leprechauns that lived in central park. As a kid, I always wanted to write those stories. My pseudonym, Ben Wolfe, is based, in part, on that persona that was created by the main character in those comics. A character in this story, Emily was inspired by the real-life story of Bethany Hamilton, depicted in the movie Soul Surfer. I saw how her story inspired so many people who had disabilities and I wanted to write a story that included a child with a disability that was empowering because I felt there are not enough inspirational stories for them. I was first inspired in this way by the movie Children of a Lesser God, but Bethany’s story reminded me of how few stories are written to inspire this audience or that have an impact on this community.
What is your target audience for the book?
The book is a picture book fable for children age 3-7. It was written for young girls, mothers, teachers, and every young girl, immigrant, a child with a disability, or refugee children who have lost parents. Also, any children who are looking for inspiration and encouragement to pursue doing the things they love. My daughter is not a child anymore but maybe one day she will read it to her children, my younger sisters will read it to their daughters, or my nieces will read it to their children.
What do you hope readers could get out from your book?
Hope and inspiration to do what you love even when others tell you it isn’t possible. Getting children to believe in themselves and to value friendships without looking at disabilities. Helping children with disabilities believe in themselves and to understand that they do not have to be able to do everything others are able to do to find value in what we know and what we can do. Helping children without disabilities see that value as well. In how the book addresses disabilities and immigrant status, I wanted to help children look at the world without seeing these labels. I appreciate Author’s Lounge in helping me to give these children a voice where very few exist and helping me try to inspire young kids and in particular, those for whom I wrote the story for.
What are your future goals/plans for the book?
I plan more books in The Little Shoemaker Series. I am working on another book now. I currently have five concepts for Little Shoemaker stories and the artist, George Jung, has the first right of refusal to do the art for all of them under the same agreement in which we share the income and credits equally but in which I own the rights to the books. If you want to follow the series, you can follow it on Facebook either via my author page or via the series page:
Tell us something more about yourself…
Ahh…but that would be telling… 🙂 Let us just say that I am also a fantasy writer. I have made the Amazon bestseller list in seven countries and the top ten bestseller list in three countries. My books can be found on Amazon in print or in ebook format at:
Book Link: https://www.amazon.com/kindle-dbs/entity/author/B07YRY8M1P