This is the section were I talk about myself.  Where I’m from -St. Paul, MN (shhhh Minneapolis, no lip from you). Where I currently reside- In Upstate New York’s snow belt. I get to ramble on and on about my achievements and awards…if your interested I’m pretty sure the good helper award I won in 3rd grade is still stuck to my mom’s fridge.

But if we’re being completely honest about the author of ACN, then I have to admit, the whole series was entirely made up by two little boys…

I was the type of parent who lived most nights for bedtime, not to say I don’t love my children, but after a long day at work, and an even longer night chasing two rambunctious boys (who I swear were fed nothing but pixie stix and snickers bars ALL day at daycare) mommy was in desperate need of a minute.  Not ten, not twenty, mommy just wanted ONE minute.  On those nights I would skip pages in Green Eggs and Ham, or  the part when the cow jumped over the moon going straight to “The end…I love you…good night.”

On of those nights I listened for about two seconds as two children of mine argued over which book mom was going to cliff note to them that night.  The kicker for me the ding of the microwave stating that my first cup of coffee was hot again (yes, coffee at 7 p.m. and yes, you read it right, my first, reheated about a dozen or so times before that).  Ready for the “I love you, goodnight” part of bedtime mom said “Once upon a time…” To which instantly my eldest screamed, “The world blowded up!!!” And in an explosion of giggles and jumping from bed to bed the planet we call home blowded up, while these two monkeys screamed everything that blowded up with the world (bedtime, and cooked carrots making the top of that list).

That event was A Charming Nightmare’s big bang. Each night the two listened as mom talked about the sole survivor of a planets destruction.  They listened as the girl, Aylin, was rescued by a time traveling alien.  They both put in their two cents, changing the alien’s powers, creating new worlds and species.  They participated until, like all children have tenancies to do, they grew up.  Too old for mommy to tuck them into bed, too mature for mommy to kiss them goodnight.  I realized that Aylin, her savior Catch, and the rest of their new Earth were being skipped by my kids, just like the pages in Where the Wild Things Are were by me years before (this occurred to me the first morning as I sipped on my fresh, never microwaved cup of coffee and waved the boys onto the school bus before heading my work).

Years went by, I stared at so many scenarios typed on a computer screen using Aylin.  She didn’t fit, didn’t belong on those pages, she didn’t say the right things, or have the correct hero in her life.  The cat had my tongue, I couldn’t remember who she was or where I knew her from.  Aylin was just the character I used when writing, always.  That changed when my son asked if I remembered her from their bedtime stories, if that’s why I used her name in everything.  Oooooooo! I started over (again) this time placing her in the right surroundings, recalling all the stories my boys and I created when they were toddlers. Just like it happened to them, I aged her, I aged Catch, and aged the situations, the verbiage, the conversations and the meanings, so now my boys can re-open Aylin’s story as adults.