A way to stay connected in the pandemic

I am often asked how my niece, Taylor, and I ended up working together on book projects. It was actually a pretty organic process. It all started with me wanting to write a very short story for my son who, at that time, was going to attend Junior Kindergarten, to read. I came up with a 50-word story, Mighty Super Zero. My family (my son, my wife, my sister, my brother, my mother, my dad, my sister-in-law, my niece etc etc) read it, and liked it a lot. Then, we thought Taylor, who was already very talented at illustrations at that time, might want to draw some pictures for it. She did want to draw for Mighty Super Zero. Then, I read about self-publishing (cue angelic choir voice).

We were so excited. We were going to self-publish. We were going to sell a million books. Taylor was going to have her college fund, and the college fund of her kids set up. My son was going to get a Hummer. And I was going to keep writing. Well, it did not turn out that way… obviously.

But what it really turned out to be was a way for my niece and I to connect in the pandemic. She lives in Toronto, and we live in Windsor, Ontario. We used to see each other several times a year, in person, and we used to spend holidays together. I was on my way to becoming her second favourite person in the whole wide world, one step behind her mom, and an inch in front of her dad. Lo and behold, COVID-19 came along, and we did not get to see each other for a year, and our communications dwindled. I am pretty sure I dropped several spots on Taylor’s favourite person chart. Well, Mighty Super Zero showed up, and he turned out to be pretty… mighty.

Since working on Mighty Super Zero, we have been in constant contact mode. Facetime, WhatsApp, Zoom, email. You name it. We plan for the next two books before the current one is done. We talk at least once a week. I believe I am teaching my niece about writing, about business, and about website and marketing. But in truth, I think she is, inevitably, teaching me how to be patient (with a 10-year old), to be tactful (to a 10-year-old), and to be on my way to #2 again! So, it simply turned out to be a way for us to stay connected in this unpredictable and crazy COVID-19 affected world.

And the dream for Taylor’s college fund and my son’s Hummer (a real one, unlike this) carries on…

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