Jill Williamson’s RoboTales: How the project came to be

Jill Williamson is one of my favorite authors. I’m really excited about her new project! She’s guest blogging for us today to tell us about it and about how YOU can be involved. To get signed copies of these books, check out Jill’s Kickstarter campaign.

And now, here’s Jill!RoboTalesTitleArt-1024x277

The dream began in 2012. My son Luke was in fourth grade when I spoke to his entire elementary school to promote the local public library. The books I’d written at that point were best for readers in middle school and above, but my visit got kids excited to read my books anyway. Several lined up to check out the 500-plus-page tomes. Some of the fifth and sixth graders stuck with the stories, but most the younger kids lost interest. It made me want to write something for readers ages 7-13.

I went to Luke for help.


Over the course of the next six months, our whole family brainstormed. Luke had been studying fractured fairytales in his class, so we decided to write a children’s chapter book series of fairytale retellings that would take place in a fictional solar system. The stories would be tied together by a lost robot dog who was broken and trying to find out who he was and what he was built for. We called the series RoboTales. There were already so many fairytale retellings for girls. We thought it would be fun to target this series to boys, though girls would like the books too. I read the first three stories to my daughter Kaitlyn, who particularly loved Robo and the creatures he met along his journey.

As I worked on the books, Luke became my writing partner, naming characters, creatures, and helping to plot out the stories in detail. He even designed Robo out of LEGOs. I couldn’t have done it without him. He’s quite creative.

Luke & Robo

Luke & Robo

But with my other writing contracts, my speaking schedule, and the busyness of life, the series hovered at the bottom of my priority list. I just couldn’t find the time to get them written.

From the fall of 2013 to the spring of 2014, I made time. With Luke’s continual brainstorming support, I finished the first three books in our planned eight-book series. Luke and I have plotted out the other five books, but until I knew for certain that we would be able to publish the books, it didn’t make sense for me to write all eight ahead of time.

We live in an isolated community, so when we take a trip to the nearby city, it’s a three-hour drive. Luke and I did a lot of brainstorming on these drives, and Luke took notes. Then during the weekdays while he was at school, I’d take his notes and work on the stories or the proposal. It was every writer’s dream to have someone to talk to constantly, to brainstorm, and to get feedback. I’m so glad Luke was willing. This has been a fun project. Luke and I can’t wait to get these books into the hands of young readers!

Click here to visit our Kickstarter page and read more about how you can help make this project a reality.

WillYouHelpUsMemeREADERS: Have you ever involved your family in a project?

One thought on “Jill Williamson’s RoboTales: How the project came to be

  1. My daughter & I have been brainstorming an idea for a picture book or two. It’s fun for me to listen to her throw story ideas out. 🙂


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