THE STORY BEHIND THE STORY: Twas The Night Before Christmas…A First For Gus by Sherry Roberts

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 friend and children’s book author, Sherry Roberts, is sharing the WHY she wrote her book, “Twas The Night Before Christmas…A First For Gus”. Take it away, Sherry…

Twas The Night Before Christmas…A First For Gus by Sherry Roberts

I have always enjoyed making up stories or re-writing stories. When my nephew and nieces were little, I would read to them and sometimes the stories were not what was actually written on the page. Later we began to make-up stories together.

Fast forward a few years and they are grown but I still felt compelled to follow a dream. I began writing down some of the stories from years past that I had written only in my head. One evening while watching a Christmas movie, I heard a character read a different version of Twas the Night Before Christmas. How could they do that and how many different ways had already been written? The research began.

I had tried writing a story about a little family of basset hounds. My family always had one growing up and now I had my own, who was the sister to my brother’s family dog and my sister’s family dog. How could I use the direction I was writing but use the story Twas the Night Before Christmas? Thus, the story began. The family of basset hounds changed to a little one living in a shelter. Once the story was written, I felt it was important to help children understand the responsibilities of having a pet. That’s where the backmatter came about. Working with, Clarissa Willis, my editor, it was her suggestion that instead of waiting for the second book to come out, it would be fun to add a “gift from Gus” by providing a QR code at the end. This QR code leads the reader to the story of what happens on Christmas morning when the family finds little Gus asleep under their tree.

This is my debut picture book and is a medal finalist in the Florida Authors and Publishers Association President’s Book Awards (to be awarded July 30, 2022). The release date was 10 days after I turned 66, proving it is never to late to fulfill you dreams.

My second book, Sonnet, Sonnet, What’s In Your Bonnet? will release in late 2023. This book is a fiction-non-fiction book telling about different flowers in Sonnet’s garden with interesting “facts and tales” about each. I started to get serious about photography when I turned 64 and this book features my floral photography as the illustrations.

I have met so many wonderful writers along this adventure through critique groups, SCBWI, and social media. I encourage anyone to follow your dreams no matter your age.

Here’s is the book’s blurb:

It’s the night before Christmas and Gus just can’t sleep. He lives in a shelter and longs for a home of his very own. Suddenly, he hears a loud noise and looks outside to find Santa Claus. As they ride off into the night sky together, Gus has no idea that one of the houses he will visit is his new forever home.


Sherry Roberts has a doctorate in curriculum and instruction from the University of Louisville. She has taught 36 years from middle school to collegiate. Sherry has been instrumental in setting up technology camps for K-6 graders, providing educational workshops for K-12, and working with small businesses on social media. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, as well as a member of 12×12.

Sherry comes from a creative family that filled her spirit with reading and music. When she is not teaching or writing, she fills her time taking photos or playing with her rescue dog, Gizzie.

Want to connect?

Website: Children’s Author | SJRobertsCreative


Instagram: Sherry Roberts (@sjrobertscreative) • Instagram photos and videos

Twitter: Sherry Roberts, author and educator (@SherryR17552573) / Twitter

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