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Go Ask Mom

What's a dream, her son asked. This mom answered by writing a picture book

Posted July 23

Jacqueline Leigh of Cary wrote "Time for Bed with Ford and Red," a picture book.

A mom of two young kids, Jacqueline Leigh is more than familiar with late nights and bedtime struggles. During one of those nights, a question from her son got her thinking - and eventually prompted the first draft of a picture book, "Time for Bed with Ford and Red."

Leigh will celebrate the release of her book with a party from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday, at Bond Brothers Beer Company, 202 E. Cedar St., Cary. The event is open to the public and will include cake, ice cream, a food truck, arts and crafts and a chance to pick up the book and meet Leigh.

Leigh, who also writes for Cary Living Magazine, lives in Cary with her husband, an air traffic controller, and children. I checked in with her by email to learn more about her and her book. Here's a Q&A:

Go Ask Mom: Your first book aims to eliminate fear associated with sleep in toddlers. So ... have you had some late nights in your house? What sparked you to decide to tackle this topic?

Jacqueline Leigh: My son is an expert at battling sleep. No seriously, he’s an expert. The idea was born one night when my son asked me what a “dream” was. I knew right away the I had a picture book on my hands and I quickly wrote the first draft. The book is a journey. It’s an adventure through dreams. There are multiple dream scenes, in hopes of each child finding a favorite.

GAM: Tell us a little bit about "Time for Bed with Ford and Red."

JL: Toddlers and young children have a sense of fear and anxiety when it comes to bedtime. I wanted to provide a picture book for parents and children to enjoy together, before bedtime. Young minds will live through Ford and Red as the two journey through the adventurous world of dreams. The hope is to promote healthy and happy sleep through the excitement of this book.

GAM: What was the process like creating it, getting the illustrations and getting it published? The illustrations are adorable!

JL: I am published through an independent publisher, Mascot Books. It is very much like a traditional publisher, but on a smaller scale. I had to query the manuscript to Mascot Books, just like any other publisher. They later responded with an offer letter, which I accepted.

Mackenzie Fink from Mackenzie Fink Designs is the illustrator of the book. I had a few illustrators submit sample drawings to me and I was immediately drawn to the beauty of her work. She is extremely talented with pen and watercolor. Her imagery simply jumps off of the page.

GAM: What's been the response so far? Where can people find it?

JL: The response from not only my family and friend,s but the Raleigh community has been incredible. I am proud to say that I have sold over 300 copies of the book in just two weeks. My goal was to sell 20 books in the month of July. I have done a few author visits and have left each visit, thinking to myself, "I am doing what I've been called to do. I love writing, I love creating, I love children, I love entertaining. I am where I am supposed to be."

GAM: What's planned at the big release event on July 30?

JL: I have teamed up with Bond Brother's Brewery to create an epic event for both the children and their caregivers. This is a chance to meet a local children's author, buy a book and have it signed in person.

There will be ice cream from Fresh and cupcakes from Crystal's Cakes. A food truck will be present. For the kids, we have an arts and crafts table and reading corner. Each book that is purchased is also entered into a giveaway from Lucky 32 Kitchen, Matt Williams Photography, Science Safari, Made Shops and fellow local children's authors.

This will be quite a memorable event and I am so excited to meet the young readers in our community.

Go Ask Mom features local moms every Monday.

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