When I started to write Magic Garden I was thinking of an idea for a picture book. The idea came out of the time we adopted Goofie from next door. They weren’t paying that much attention to him and my oldest daughter started to feed him. He was a friendly laid back cat. He enjoyed being carried around by my second daughter when she was a toddler. She could use him as a pillow as well. He was an indoor and outdoor cat which is something that isn’t as common any more. There are some interesting stories that happened in his life time, one is included in the book. I changed the color of the cat to orange and white and modelled him after Morris a present day cat. Actually Morris and Goofie are very much alike in some ways.
Parts of the book came out of dreams. I would wake up in the magic hour before I was totally awake and start thinking about Bess and her life. I always had a notebook handy beside my bed, in the living room and in the kitchen. Those ideas had to be quickly written down before they were lost completely. I have found that many of my story ideas have come from dreams.
As Bess’s story goes on she discovers that the people in the small town of Riverdale accept her for who she is. They look beyond her moodiness and her handicap to the real generous person she is on the inside. Bess has a hard time adjusting to small town living. It is different from the life she had in the city. She knows her Dad would have loved it and wants to be able to share things with him. She can imagine a lot of things but that is the one thing she has trouble imagining. She knows that she will never see her Dad again in this world.
After a while Bess starts to settle in and show her true personality. She likes to spend most of her time in the garden where she can hide behind a large stone wall. She is self conscience and is afraid of people watching her. She just wants to be left along and doesn’t want anyone to bug her especially six-year-old Josie who lives across the back lane.