When I started this new blog post series, I did it with the idea of sharing the WHY I created my stories, but then I thought…why not share OTHER authors STORY BEHIND “THEIR” STORY? I put the call out and soon I had tons of authors who wanted to share their backstories with my readers. This week children’s book author, Meg Welch Dendler, is sharing the WHY she wrote her book, “Bianca: The Brave Frail and Delicate Princess”. Take it away, Meg…
Bianca: The Brave Frail and Delicate Princess by Meg Welch Dendler
When I wrote the first version of Bianca’s story, I was in 5 th grade. It received recognition from a contest the University of Illinois, and I was hooked on being a writer. The story changed over the years. It was even a sy-fy farce at one point in college. When I began selling my writing in the 1990s, my hope was to have it be one of those beautifully illustrated picture books I grew up with. But that’s not what publishers are up to these days. As I fussed with the story itself over the years, I started to wonder what exciting things could happen to Bianca between escaping her castle tower and finding the dragon. The more I fussed, the more the tale grew. Eventually, this brave princess book developed into a specifically crafted “hero journey” tale.
I was already several years into self-publishing when I realized Bianca’s story was going to be a chapter book, and branching off into fairy-tale land was not on my radar. My Cats in the Mirror series—about my rescue cats and their lives as important aliens from a spaceship hovering not far from earth—was well underway. I even had a dog-themed companion book (Max’s Wild Night). When I showed up for in-person events, folks knew me as the “cat book lady.” How would that branding suffer if I switched to a
princess hunting a dragon? I wasn’t sure, but I knew I had to try. Bianca’s story just wouldn’t leave me alone.
So, over 2016, I polished the manuscript, ran through nearly all of it with my critique group, and enlisted my artist daughter to draw the dragon for the cover. The book was finally published in November of 2017.
In 2018, Bianca: The Brave Frail and Delicate Princess was honored as Best Juvenile Book by the Oklahoma Writers’ Federation, and the reviews were wonderful. I could breathe a sigh of relief. Of course, once the first Bianca story was out in the world, I’d already started making notes for a sequel. I was distracted for a bit by a Christmas book in the cat series and a syfy novel for adults, but Bianca: Journey to Ryuugito flew into the world in February of 2022.
It has been a weird time to publish new stories, but my view of books is that they are forever. It may take a while for Bianca to find her feet, but she’s not going anywhere. And yes, I have notes for Book 3 already.
One of the main things I share with kids who tell me they love to write is to save those stories. It doesn’t matter how silly they may seem. You never know what it might develop into.
Meg Welch Dendler is the author of nine middle grade books: her Cats in the Mirror series and the
Princess Bianca series. She lives in Northwest Arkansas with her family and possibly alien rescue cats.
Princess Bianca had never set foot outside the castle walls. Not once in her over-protected, pink, fluffy life. But when a dragon was spotted in the land and fear spread that the monster had conquered the king and his brave knights, Bianca realized that it was her duty to protect her kingdom. She will have to prove that she can be braver and stronger than anyone believed because the threat outside the protection of her castle tower was more dangerous and magical than she ever imagined possible.Perfect book for fairy-tale fans and dragon-lovers alike!