An ‘in-the-closet’ writer finds her confidence“I write because I love to write – not because I have to,” Alexandria’s Becky Cox, author of Tommy the Timid Turtle, said. “When my kids are 14 and 16, I want them to be able to say, ‘My mom is a writer’.”
By: Caroline Roers, Alexandria Echo Press
“I write because I love to write – not because I have to,” Alexandria’s Becky Cox, author of Tommy the Timid Turtle, said. “When my kids are 14 and 16, I want them to be able to say, ‘My mom is a writer’.”
A few years ago, Cox’s husband, Eric, put a small wooden cube with a turtle painted on it in their bathroom. Beside it was a note that read: “Tommy wants you to write a story about him.”
Tommy the Timid Turtle, at that time, was only a draft of papers – but with her husband’s help and support, Cox finished the book and had Ronnie Williford, her husband’s brother-in-law, do the illustrations.
“Ronnie’s illustrations really brought my characters to life. He used to work for Disney, so he is a very talented artist,” Cox said. “I am so thankful that he agreed to do the illustrations.”
On June 23, 2011, Tommy the Timid Turtle was sent to print, and now can be purchased on amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com and in countless other stores.
Cox was born in Pennsylvania, but moved to Minnesota when she was very little.
After graduating from Jefferson High School in 2000, she started working full time.
Presently, Cox has two sons – 3-year-old Braden and 2-year-old Easton.
“Once I had my sons, I wanted a flexible job that would enable me to be part of their lives,” Cox said.
She began taking a creative writing class online through Wing Hill, which taught her to write magazine and newspaper articles as well as creative writing and grammar skills. All have helped immensely when editing her writing.
Cox has been writing stories for as long as she can remember and has always been an avid reader – but she’s been too shy to publish anything.
“My husband has been a huge part of my getting this story published. He knows I’m shy. I’ve always been an in-the-closet writer, but he wanted me to follow my dream,” Cox said.
With her husband’s help, Cox published an article in the Echo Press in January of 2010 that skyrocketed her confidence.
“Seeing my name in print really brought me out of my shell and gave me the confidence I needed,” she said.
That same month, she began looking for publishers through The Writers Market.
Unlike Dr. Seuss and Stephen King, who were rejected numerous times, Cox found her publishers on the first try.
“I had it easy off. The first letter I sent was to Black Rose Writing, who have been known for publishing new writers,” Cox said.
Instantly, Black Rose Writing wanted to publish the book.
While writing the book, Cox was working full time and taking care of Braden – so she was not able to work on the story every night.
But with help from her friends and family, she finished it after only a few years of drafting.
The book, written for 4 -to 6-year-olds, opens with Tommy telling his friends that he doesn’t like to swim because he is scared of things underneath the water that could swallow him whole.
After Tommy’s friends, Harriet and Bobby, tell him what they are afraid of – getting lost and being afraid of the dark – they decide to conquer their fears so they don’t have to be scared anymore.
Along their journey, they meet other friends who also have fears. Together, they overcome them with help from one another.
“At first, I wanted to write something that was funny and something kids could relate to,” Cox said. “But one day Braden told me he was scared of Spider man. Though I have read my sons thousands of books, I’ve never come across any that address fears.”
With that idea in hand, Cox began writing.
“Writing, for me, is a chance to get away from the hassles of raising kids and to do something for myself,” she said.
So far, Cox has finished two other children’s stories that she’s dedicated to her sons and is working on numerous young adult novels, along with the next book in the Tommy the Turtle series, which is about bullying.
In the future, Cox hopes to publish a variety of different books and expand on her Tommy series, making them available in bookstores as well as schools and day cares – a goal her friends have been feverishly helping her with.
“My hope is that after reading this book, my son, as well as other children will overcome their fears,” she noted. “I want my kids to realize that they don’t have to be afraid of anything.