Some stories are fun and some teach you a lesson. The best stories do both. When Travis and I created Milo, we wanted a character that was instantly fun and relatable to kids. Travis came up with an initial design for Milo, and then we quickly thought of his name and creature type. We spent the next few days talking about what merbles like and dislike, their fears, and the things we wanted Milo to learn in the book.
Making a detailed character profile went a long way in helping us write about him. The characters you write need to seem real. Milo has a mission, and he accomplishes the things he needs to as he overcomes his shortcomings. We wanted Milo to learn things that we want our own daughters to learn. I would argue that the decision we face most each day, is how to treat people. If my daughter is known for nothing else, I want her to be known for her kindness. This was the theme we laced throughout the book and into Milo’s character.
We hope that as kids relate to Milo, they will be encouraged to be kind as they stand up for themselves. We hope kids will learn that people who are mean are changed most effectively by returning kindness instead of hate.
The first of three images is the first sketch Travis ever made of Milo that he sent me in a text. We love where he started and have enjoyed watching him transform into what he is now!
- Matthew Skinner