It started as an off-the-cuff creation, a made-up tale taking the place of a usual bedtime book for his three daughters.
Now the spontaneous fantasy world has turned into a dreamlike reality for Andover’s Kyle Rawleigh and family, as he becomes a published author for the first time with his new children’s book “Chronicles of the Unicorn Kingdom.”
“I normally read to them at night and I created this bedtime story when they asked me to make one up instead of read to them,” Rawleigh said. “I just combined a bunch of ideas I knew my girls would like to try to entertain them at bedtime. Lucky for me, lots of other kids seem to enjoy it too!”
It is a chapter book geared toward kids ages 8 to 12. The plot begins with a simple enough task in Andover, then evolves into a magical adventure.
When three young girls who are living a very normal life in Minnesota try to find a way to save their dog, they find themselves in a very not normal situation. After some odd advice from their unicorn-crazed friend, they end up two worlds away following a unicorn who can barely remember his own name. With a lot of humor, courage and a bit of magic, they set out to save their dog, but wind up leading a revolution to save a world they never knew existed.
“After I typed it up, my dad shared it with his friend who is a professional editor,” Rawleigh said. “She told me it was good enough to publish and recommended Lucid Publishing out of Houston, Texas. I never expected to hear back, but they reached out to me about four days after I submitted it.
“It’s so hard to believe it actually happened. My day job is being a logistics nerd for a garbage company and I had never planned or dreamed of writing a book. I just wrote it down to give to my kids as a keepsake. I never thought it would be published.”
The story was created over the course of several nights a little over a year ago, followed by a publishing process that took about seven months. Now it is available at all major retailers, such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Target and Walmart.
Early feedback from readers has been great, with friends and strangers alike picking up copies and responding positively to the story. Some have even been inspired to pick up a pen and paper and create stories of their own.
If all goes as scheduled, more books will be published to continue the series as well.
“It’s been surreal,” Rawleigh said. “I never imagined that it would leave our house, but the story has been published for a little over six months and we’ve sold over 1,000 copies. We’ve gotten great feedback from our readers so far, and it’s been so fun for us. We’ve actually had three kids send us their own stories they wrote, telling us our book inspired them to write their own, which was really cool. We’ve also had great turnouts at a few book signings, and we’ve had several five-star reviews on Amazon! If everything goes according to plan there will be four books in the series. Book No. 2 is being published now and will release summer of 2022. My rough draft of book No. 3 is written, and I’ll be submitting it to the publisher soon to see if we can start working on that one as well.
“This was an unexpected and fun new adventure for us. I had never planned to do this, I was just trying to do something special for my girls!”
For more information on the book or to find places to purchase, visit www.facebook.com/cotukstories.