In true Amelia Bedelia fashion, I backed into writing these books about the literal-minded housekeeper who children laugh at and love.
Amelia Bedelia was created by my aunt, Peggy Parish. Although she passed away in 1988, Peggy still received fan mail from children. They wondered when the next Amelia Bedelia book would be out. Other children's authors volunteered to continue the series.
I felt uneasy about Amelia Bedelia leaving our family. As I was in the fourth grade when she first appeared, I had literally grown up with her. So I decided to try to write a new Amelia Bedelia adventure. My two sisters and my family were supportive and encouraged me.
I'd had experience in writing advertisements. I reread the Amelia Bedelia stories to figure our what made them funny. I realized that everyday life overflows with idiomatic expressions, literalisms and homophones. It's amazing more people don't get confused besides Amelia Bedelia!
I stockpiled these fragments in a folder until one Sunday night, with my family asleep, I decided that it was now or never. I sat down around ten o'clock and began to write. I was so focused on the story that I finished as the sun came up on Monday morning. Naturally, the story needed revision, but the essence was captured in that all-night writing spree.
I am fortunate that my editor, Susan Hirschman, and the illustrator, Lynn Sweat, had worked with Peggy on many Amelia Bedelia books That helped make the transition from Peggy's books to mine as seamless as possible.
I feel very lucky to be writing Amelia Bedelia books and continuing a family tradition. But the best reward was when a child wrote Peggy Parish a fan letter. It said that Good Driving Amelia Bedelia was the best book she had written. To me, that the highest compliment I could hope for.
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