By Monica Stark
When a rainy day threatens to spoil a little girl’s plans to play outside, her disappointment quickly disappears when her mother shares a “magical” hat with her. This “magical” hat has the power to whisk the little girl away to any place she imagines. The real magic in “Murphy and the Magical Hat” lies in Land Park children’s book author Kate David’s message – imagination can lead children from despair to delight in a matter of a few moments.
David reminds parents of the importance of kindling their children’s imaginations, particularly, when life seems bleak and boring. David believes it is critically important that children develop resilience to life’s disappointments and the book shares that poignant message with parents while delighting the child.
David was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio. She received her degree in Journalism from Ohio University after numerous higher education creative writing courses. In her prior life, David was in advertising and marketing for both radio and television stations. She feels fortunate to make her lifelong dream of becoming an author a reality, in “Murphy and the Magical Hat.”
Sparked from the birth of her daughter, Murphy, in June 2010 in New York City, Kate had spent many days imagining all the adventures she would take with her daughter and the idea for the book began. Kate currently resides right in the heart of Land Park with her two daughters and husband, Jeff. She spends her time caring for her two daughters and working on the next book in the “Murphy and the Magical Hat” series.
David said it’s definitely been a challenge working on the book while staying home and raising two children. “Some days are better than others,” she said. “It was definitely something that I wanted to do – in regards to the book and certainly to have kids. So I do the best I can.”
With two really well-behaved girls, she tries to get work done on her second book during their naps. “It’s a lot of work, for sure,” she said with a chuckle. “But I don’t know, you manage it.”
Self-publishing was a huge learning curve for David. After reaching out to agents before she started this process, she got great feedback but no takers on the book, so she decided to self publish. After going through three different companies, she settled with Outskirt Press.
“It was a huge learning curve. I knew nothing about the publishing industry. I’m still learning everyday … I think you have to be prepared for a lot of curve balls,” she said.
One of them was the unanticipated cost of self-publishing a book. Another had to do with coordinating the text with the illustrations. And then she also had to choose the font and design the layout of the book. “I thought somebody would have helped me through all of that. You have to do everything even though you are working with a company that will eventually publish the book,” she said.
However, she said self-publishing companies can provide a lot of assistance for you if you want it. They guide you through the process – the step-by-step ways of doing it. You are the one making a lot of the decisions.
David started writing “Murphy and the Magical Hat” when her daughter was 6 months old, or about two years ago and she didn’t have a book until this past January.
The illustrator she chose was one she found online named Helen Turner who lives in the United Kingdom. “It’s funny, we never met. We communicated through email. She had such a great, creative vision. It just came together perfectly,” David said.
“For my first book, I am really pleased with the way it turned out but it was a fantastic, scary, wonderful, terrible process. It was just all of those things.”
For David, it was more important to fulfill this dream she had to write a children’s book, than to go the route of selling millions of copies. “It would be fantastic if I do, but it was more important to do it and see it through,” she said.
David, her husband Jeff and Murphy were living in New York City when the idea for the book came about. “I had all these wonderful thoughts of what I’d do with (Murphy) when she was old enough,” she said.
As it turns out, Murphy loves carousels. They have enjoyed the one in Arden Fair Mall, the one at the zoo and the one at Funderland. Though when they go to the mall’s carousel, Murphy chooses to ride on the bench. “It’s fun to watch her choose … “it’s fun to watch her enjoy that, as much as I enjoyed putting that to paper.”
David has always been a big day-dreamer. For her high school senior thesis, she took pictures all around town and wrote the stories that went on behind them. Especially with New York City and even now in Sacramento, there are things she wants her daughters to experience.
“They’re sponges. I think that it’s so important to expose them to so much. So wherever we are living, I feel imagination is so important,” she said.
The Davids came to Sacramento after Jeff took a marketing job for the Sacramento Kings. Before that he worked for the NBA league office. “So that’s why we’re here … It’s a big job. He loves it. It’s a great place for us to be. He has seen tough days but it’s a good job for him.”
She said she couldn’t have finished the first book without him. “Jeff has been a never-ending source of support and encouragement. I’m very lucky,” she said.
You can get it on Amazon and Barnesandnoble.com. Locally, you can purchase it at Koukla Kids in East Sacramento and Puddles in the Arden area.