Last year my partner at MAB Books, Kate Oliver, suggested I rewrite one of my old children's picture book manuscripts. She thought the story might be more interesting to older kids. I went back and reread it and said, "It's perfect the way it is." But she persisted and eventually I let her rewrite the story for older kids. We traded it back and forth many times, revising, editing. Then I did a suite of 20 illustrations last summer and fall.
So here it is: The Locking Place. For kids 8 and up. Available on amazon.com
And this is a little bit about the book:
Ruby thumbed through the map book without looking at the pages. She leaned her head against the window as they drove to the freeway, thinking about the word navigate which always reminded her of ships, which reminded her of the Navy, which reminded her of her father, far, far away from a house he would never see again.
The mountains grant her wish, and Ruby and her nine-year-old mother enter the Locking Place. A mysterious world hidden in the mountains, the Locking Place is filled with people who have lost more than they could bear, people who seem to stay there forever. The girls are left with nothing but the clothes on their backs and two quests: to find their way out of the Locking Place, and to turn Ruby's mother back into a grown-up. But the longer Ruby's mother remains in a child’s body, the more childlike she becomes. And the more determined she is to stay that way—and in the Locking Place—permanently.