Dragon beginnings


The most common question I get about Goodnight, Dragons is how did the story come to me. There are really three layers to the answer.

The reason I sat down that night to write was because of an unexpected rejection on the heels of another unexpected rejection.  I usually expect rejection, since that is my experience. But I had two novels out at two different publishers, and the editors at both publishers had asked for and received revisions. Very hopeful signs, especially when they tell you how much they love your novel. But after one editorial team decided one novel wouldn’t have a big enough audience (soccer fans revolt!), and the next editorial team decided the cat novel was not going in the direction they’d hoped (“and never send it to us again”–okay, that’s not a direct quote, but it’s pretty close), I moved beyond crushed to steaming. I sat down at my computer and told the universe, “I’m going to write a story they will have to publish,” and I let my fingers fly.

Now, the probable reason that my fingers began writing about dragons is that I’d just spent a long car ride with a writer friend who was talking about her dragon novel. Which caused me concern later when I wondered if I’d pilfered her idea. Kindly she assured me that she gets ideas from other writers all the time, and as long as I wasn’t writing her novel with her creative twist on a dragon story (it really is, and someone will buy it soon, Kathy!) I was fine.

The probable underlying reason for a story about dragons is that my youngest son has been dreaming about dragons for as long as I can remember.  I started to write, “yammering,” but there’s more drawing and writing and ceramic-making than actual conversation. He loves the fiery-breathing things. 

That final reason is what ended up on the jacket flap copy. “Judith L. Roth was inspired to write Goodnight, Dragons  thanks to her youngest son, who thinks dragons are much more interesting than any “real” animals.” He actually said “a whole lot cooler,” but apparently that’s not good flap copy. Also not good flap copy–“She got the idea from another writer” or “she wrote it in a mad-hot conniption fit.” So Corey gets the credit. And the dedication to him is sincere.

But now you know the whole truth of where Goodnight, Dragons came from.

One of Corey's creations


About Judith L. Roth

When I was about ten, it occurred to me that books are written by people and I was a person. I could create my favorite things–I could write books! I got a B.A. in English. My first poem was accepted for publication before I graduated. I had some success with poetry, but my real dream was to write fiction for children. My first fiction piece was accepted about 25 years after the first submission. Things you might want to know about me: I know how to persevere. I’m a third-generation California native, living in Indiana. I have two remarkable sons who are now young men,and a husband who’s supported my writing for over three decades. I love cats and currently have three of them. I love being near water–oceans, lakes, rivers all work for me. Chocolate is probably my biggest downfall. I’m exceptionally curious. (Or nosy, as my family calls it.)

2 responses »

  1. Judy~ It’s always fun to hear the backstory on stories. And I really do get ideas from other writers, I think we all do in some way. The trick is to find your own spin and populate the story with your own characters–that changes everything. Even though our books are both about dragons, they are worlds apart. Thanks for the nod, though 🙂

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