Photo credit: kakisky from morguefile.com
A few days before my book was set to launch on Amazon, someone asked me a question that made me stammer and stick my hands back in the quiche ingredients I was prepping. The quiche was fantastic, my answer—not so much. After hearing my little elevator pitch about The Queen and the Cats, she basically asked “Why?”
Here is the answer I wish I could have given. Thankfully, as a writer I’m not known for thinking on my feet and most of the time, people understand when it takes me a few goes with a pen and paper to get my thoughts out
Plenty has been said about the damaging power of contemporary narratives on our daughters. From the earliest ages they strive to emulate The Princess, a figure set apart from her fellow citizens, allegedly the epitome of beauty, grace and good fortune. I don’t have a problem with a pair of strappy shoes or sparkly jewels but I have always been adamantly against any sub-culture that glorifies consumerism and elevates one play narrative above all others. Don’t get me wrong: we have plenty of Cinderella, Ariel, Belle and Rapunzel in our home. But the dress-up box skews more butterfly/pirate/doctor/scientist than princess.
I know moms love their Disney. I know they love seeing their little girl embrace the stories of their childhoods. I do too. But I also know that while these stories are often good, there are plenty of other stories out there (of princesses and queens, nonetheless) that are great.
When my preschool daughter aspires to be a princess, I want her to know that along with the fancy dresses, also comes a great responsibility. Christian history has given us scores of women who were both strong and beautiful. They placed their trust in God above their thrones and worked to create a world where prayer was more valuable than silk. These princesses—they used their titles and wealth and even their feminine grace to challenge all people to be better.
The Queen and the Cats: A Story of Saint Helena is just one of these stories. Nearly two thousand years ago, a woman traveled halfway around the known world in search of the greatest of treasures. Once it was found, she shared it, and came up with an ingenious solution to ensure the safety of children and their parents. This is the type of woman I hope my daughter grows up to be. These are the stories I want to seep into her consciousness.
This is why I wrote The Queen and the Cats and hope to write many more of these stories for children. Stories are powerful things. They have a way of penetrating our hearts and perpetuating the beliefs that shape our lives.
The Queen of the Cats is available in paperback (for bedtime reading) from Amazon and is available in ebook format (for the doctor’s office, the school pick-up line and anywhere else all you have is a phone with the free app) from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.