After 25 years, kids' book comes alive

Dream comes true for author upon completion of 'Madi's Dollhouse'
2012-02-02T00:00:00Z 2012-08-01T11:05:08Z After 25 years, kids' book comes aliveAlexis Powers Special to the Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

Dreams, wishes, hopes and bucket lists. We all have them. If you believe you've lost your opportunity to fulfill a dream or rediscover a long-forgotten passion, I can tell you that anything is possible, because I'm living my fantasy.

Like many people, I had a dream that I carried in my mind and heart through years of marriage, motherhood and working at multiple careers. That dream was pushed to the bottom of my "to-do" list, but never forgotten. Late at night, before I fell asleep, I wondered how I could make my dream come true. That dream was to write a children's book.

When I was about 6 years old, I developed a severe case of asthma. Girls my age were taking dance lessons. I begged my mom to let me take ballet. But halfway through the class, I had to leave because I couldn't breathe.

Unable to do many things, I was a lonely, sad child without any friends. One of my favorite pastimes was playing with my dollhouse. I longed for little people to live in my dollhouse and constantly fantasized about how wonderful that would be.

After my children were grown and involved in their own lives, I took the first step toward pursuing my passion for writing. Inspired by a class, "Writing for Publication," at Pasadena City College, I began writing short stories. Pleased by my progress, I penned my first novel, "Kiss My Tattoo," followed by two novels in the Leah Gordon detective series.

Many years later, while participating in a motivational workshop, I was inspired to write a nonfiction book, "Paths to Freedom," about 12 women who triumphed over adversity. Meeting these brave women changed my life. I moved out of Los Angeles.

All through these years, I dreamed of writing my children's book. And then, in the seventh decade of my life, the miracle happened. It all came together.

I bought a dollhouse kit, spent three weeks painting it, then hired my handyman to glue it together. While furnishing the dollhouse, I thought of the dollhouse I'd had as a child and of my wish to have little people living in it, and I knew I had to write the book.

Each time I told my idea for the story to a friend, I would get tears in my eyes. Since the story had been in my mind for more than 25 years, it was now or give up the idea. I wasn't getting younger.

So one morning I got up early, went to my computer and started to write. I wrote every day for about a month until the book was finished. I asked my friend, Caryn Lennon, to take a look at it. She loved it and had a few suggestions, and then I began the revision process.

After about two weeks it was just right, so I called my daughter's friend Jenny Manno in Thousand Oaks, Calif., to tell her she could start illustrating it. I emailed her a copy of the manuscript, along with photographs of my dollhouse. When I saw my book come alive through her illustrations, I wept with joy.

When the book was complete, Rayford Hammond, my co-author on three novels, formatted it and sent it to CreateSpace, a print-on-demand publisher, for publication.

Women often put the needs of others before their own, thinking they will "follow their bliss" later on. To anyone out there wanting to fulfill a dream, here is my advice: Go for it. It's never too late.

About the book

"Madi's Dollhouse" is the story of a lonely little girl who can't hear or speak. When she is 10 years old, her parents give her a dollhouse for Christmas. Her unspoken wish is to have people living in it.

The book, illustrated by Jenny Manno, is $15 and available at www.alexispowers.net

Handmade Madi dolls soon will be available for $35.

A dollar of every book sale will go to Make Way for Books, a local nonprofit group that provides books to area preschools.

Alexis Powers lives in Oro Valley. She teaches motivational writers workshops at the Oro Valley Public Library.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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