THE STORY BEHIND THE STORY: Grandma, I Don’t Want To Go To Sleep by Richard Ceasor

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 my new friend, children’s book author, Richard Ceasor, is sharing the WHY he wrote his newly released book, “Grandma, I don’t want to go to sleep” . Take it away, Richard…

Grandma, I don’t want to go to sleep by Richard Ceasor

My first foray into self publishing and “professional” writing began in the second grade.   A friend and I wrote superhero comic strips utilizing parodies of actual Marvel superheroes as characters.  We would churn out issue after issue of The Defensible Tin Can Man of Park Industries or Raredevil who was a pitchfork carrying rare devil that fought for good.  We always left our heroes in dire straits or right at the beginning of discovering some new secret.  

Our second grade classmates constantly cajoled us to produce the next issue and paid for the privilege at a whopping three cent an issue- a sheet of paper folded to provide us with the requisite sixteen panels when you counted front and back.  I loved creating those stories with my friend and the conversations at lunch time discussing our “comics”.  Who knew that almost fifty years later I would be doing something very similar. 

While attending Oberlin College,  Le Petit Prince (The Little Prince) by Antoine de Saint-Exupery was required reading in my sophomore French class.  The Little Prince was assigned to us because it’s simple vocabulary allowed us with our limited facility with the French language, to be able to read the story.  In our class discussions,  I was fascinated with the layered aspects of the story.  It could be read as a straightforward children’s story or, as we discussed,  a philosophical journey about the nature of life itself.  I vowed that one day, I would write a story like that. 

I began to look at children’s books like the Pooh stories, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and various tales from Dr Seuss and realized that there were many gems for adults hidden in these tales for children.  Over the years I recognized the same things in cartoons like Puff the Magic Dragon, Disney’s Peter Pan and many others.  For decades my pen was silent.  And then, one night in 2020, I was awakened a little after three am from my sleep with a burning desire to write and wrote Grandma, I don’t want to go to sleep in it’s entirety in less than an hour. I was delighted with what my muse had produced! A layered philosophical story with no words above a first grade level and a tribute to grandmothers everywhere.   I knew that I had to find an illustrator! 

I sing in The Soul Stick Q, a do wop acapella quintet that has sang with The Platters, Archie Bell & the Dells and many others. We often had rehearsals at each other’s houses. During rehearsals, I had often marveled at the paintings of the wife of Daniel Muraida, one of the members of our group.  Thelma Muraida is a well-known artist in Texas and when I approached her with the idea of illustrating my book, she read my verses and agreed to collaborate with me.  I had hit the jackpot!  When she began to show me sketches and then illustrations, tears came to my eyes.  It was as if she had went into my head and drew the pictures just as they appeared.   She also had experience with children’s books and agreed to illustrate and format the book.  She was a virtual one stop shop!  One year later, the work was complete.

Now the question was “Do I self publish or do I look for a publisher?”   After almost one hundred hours of research, I decided that self publishing was the best choice for me.   I liked having complete artistic control and felt that my decade of corporate outside sales experience would help me to navigate the difficult marketing aspects of the business. 

In December 2021,  I created the new publishing company Ceasor Press Publishing and in January 2022, published my first children’s book Grandma, I don’t want to go to sleep A Forever Love Tale -a layered  tale written in the tradition of Le Petit Prince (The Little Prince) and Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak.that could serve as both the ultimate bedtime story for very small children, or a philosophical journey for a more mature reader.   Grandma, I don’t want to go to sleep is a story that was decades in the making.

Here is the book’s blurb:

“This book is a tribute to grandmothers who have to be mothers twice as they raise their grandchildren. This book follows a child’s fantastical voyage under the sea in an imaginative attempt to avoid bedtime. A book of laughter, longing and loss. Told within the confines of a nontraditional family, children being raised by their grandparents can finally see themselves in print.”

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From Martial Arts master inducted in the Martial Arts Hall of Fame, to a singer who has sang on the stage with The Platters, to a corporate outside sales representative who left corporate America to go teach inner-city children in Washington DC. Richard Ceasor brings a wealth of experience to his writing.

Richard comes from a family of storytellers.  He grew up as the offspring of two noted gospel singers in Cleveland, Ohio.  Despite a happy childhood, his life as a child was often interspersed with the grim aspects of inner city violence.   As a small child, Richard’s mother read traditional bedtime stories or told him family bedtime stories passed down over many generations.  Although they filled him with an absolute terror of the Big Bad Wolf (and boy did it take awhile for him to recover from that), they also offered him an escape from inner city life. Richard maintains his family’s reverence for a well-turned tale. He hopes his departed mother and uncles look down at his work and that they’re smiling. Richard  has taught children for almost two decades in inner city and Title I Schools.  He has also worked as a District Wide Behavior Specialist and a Disciplinary Alternative Education Program Principal and has spent many hours with both troubled and non troubled young people.

Want to connect?

Website: Ceasor Press Publishing (https://www.richardceasorauthorceasorpresspublishing.com/)

Instagram: www.instagram.com/aforeverlovetale

Twitter: www.twitter.com/aforeverloveta1

Email: Ceasorrichard@gmail.com