So what inspired this book? Two things mainly. The first was that I was thinking about how much of my life involves spinning scenes in my mind and then onto paper and I wondered if that came from the needing or wanting to reshape or replay the often chaotic scenes of real life. Here’s what Leo says when he is thinking about his father telling stories and about himself, Leo, now doing the same thing:
“It seemed to Leo that he—Leo—was only doing what Papa did every day, taking little moments and dressing them up so that they were more pleasing to your eye, your ear, your mind. And once you had dressed them up like that, they took root in your mind, replacing the other, more drab or hurtful ones.”
And maybe that is what I am trying to do in each book I write. Offer readers little moments that are more pleasing to their ears, eyes, minds. Moments which might replace other more drab or hurtful ones they encounter in the real world.
The other impetus for this book came from my granddaughter, Pearl, with whom I am completely besotted. Even as a young child, she had a very rich, imaginative life, adoring books and spinning her own little stories. One of the first stories she told, very short, was when she was two. It went like this: “Once upon a time in Spain there was an angel, and the angel was me. The end.” There, a two-year-old already replaying her life, recasting herself as an angel. Ahh.
Pearl is full up to the top of her curly blond head with joy. As a girl, she sang and danced wherever we went. To the park, to the mall, in the grocery store, people would stop and smile at her and say, “Ahh.” And so while I was thinking about how much time I spend replaying scenes in my mind, I had this image of the joyful Pearl dancing. And out of that came Leo, a boy who tap-dances in the attic and who has a rich, imaginative life, replaying scenes in his mind.