Katherine Whitehead: The Shining Dream

From time to time in this space, WestBow Press publishes articles written by our authors in which they share some aspect of their self-publishing journeys. The following are the words of Katherine Whitehead, author of “The Mysterious Growing Gum.” To start your self-publishing journey, get your free WestBow Pres publishing guide today. 

Dreams don’t have to fade like sunsets. Sometimes they refuse to set.

Gum CoverMy dream to publish a book shone for 36 years. I started to write when my children were toddlers. Authors used typewriters then, not computers. The carbon paper was horrid. Everyday I wrote in a small notebook that fit in my purse. I recorded our daily lives and told about my faith. While I waited for my children in doctors’ and dentists’ offices I also wrote children’s stories. When my daughter and son were in grade school I wrote the first draft of my mid-grades book, “The Mysterious Growing Gum.” My dream was shining and I kept my faith in God, no matter what happening to us.

My hyperactive son was the inspiration for this story. He made a horrible mess from kitchen ingredients. It delighted him! I was not happy. In “The Mysterious Growing Gum,” James who is ten, makes a mix of spices, cooking liquids and hand lotion. He spills some on his gum and the gum starts to grow and GROW.

The gum totally disrupts his family. His 15-year old sister, Ann, and their dog save James from real danger. He is distressed because he doesn’t know what he did to make gum grow.
He feels responsible for creating such a problem and devises a messy way to eliminate the gum.
Writing this story was real joy for me. I wanted to write something children would have fun reading. The sun was still shining and I had faith and hope.

A career teaching music to elementary public school children was the next writing time thief. My love of music dimmed the writing sun. The job was too demanding to write. Finally retirement! Writing again made the sun shine brighter and the book was revised and finished. My husband cheered me all along the way and was a great help. But after 36 years I didn’t know what to do with the book!

I researched publishers and found Westbow Press. I liked their religious emphasis and they were well established, helpful, professional and they cared about doing a job well. They call me often and help and encourage me. The sun still shines and I’ m glad I never gave up my dream.

My profits will go to the charity, Save the Children. Many children have no dreams except to wish for food, water, and shelter. I hope to help and make their dreams grow brighter.

This is the first verse of a hymn written by Bradford Torry in 1875. It’s still true and one of my
favorites. It helped me hold on to my dream and keep my faith shining.

growing gum image

WestBow Press authors who’d like to share a 350-600 word experience related to the self-publishing of their books, are invited to do so by sending a message through the WestBow Press Facebook page, by tweeting us @WestBowPress, or by emailing kgray@ westbowpress.com.  We may not be able to use every story, but we will read and consider them. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar and punctuation accuracy; as well as for space.

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