One morning back in 2005, Diana Barnicle woke up with a name in her head — Torcellee Twist.
Barnicle didn't know who she was or why the name came to her at such an early hour, but she had a feeling that it came to her from God.
After writing it down on a piece of paper, she began to mull over the name, wondering what to do with her divine inspiration. Little did she know the name would later flourish into the main character of Barnicle's very own children's book.
Published in September, “The What If World of Torcellee Twist” features a little girl named Torcellee with red pigtails, freckles and brightly colored outfits who loves to daydream and walks to the beat of her own drum, not unlike Barnicle herself.
“In some ways, Torcellee Twist is like me because my mother would always say, ‘Diana, you've got to get your head out of the clouds.' I've always been that way.”
Barnicle said she had a passion for writing at a very young age and was very fortunate to have a father who always made her feel like she was capable of doing anything and a mother who encouraged her to pursue her dreams.
“I have always written things, especially poems. I was influenced a lot by my dad, he loved nonsensical poems and rhymes.”
Barnicle said her first book is a “Family Edition” because it focuses on the second most important people in a person's life, besides God: family. “The messages I want children to leave with are how to live a God-filled life and how important family is.”
Her own family has been very supportive of her new venture into writing children's books.
Her daughter, Alana, helps her film puppet videos for the website along with writing songs on the piano with her friend, Kari Pearson, who sings and plays the ukulele. Barnicle added that her daughter, Janelle, has always written stories and poems with her and that is something they enjoy doing together.
Barnicle's husband Jeff also gave her the extra courage she needed while going through the publishing process, like choosing WinePress as a publisher after the email they sent her sat in her inbox for about a year.
“He encouraged me to go for it,” she said. And Barnicle was glad he did.
“It's been a really long process but it truly was exciting to flip through the book for the first time.
“There's a little bit of everyone in here,” she said, noting that the aunts, uncles, grandparents and cousins in the book all have characteristics of her real life family.
The next book, she said, is already written and will be a “Friends Edition.” She is also thinking about writing a holiday edition.
“Torcellee Twist” is geared toward children at about a third-grade reading level and is for both boys and girls, although girls may enjoy it more since the main character is a girl. Barnicle said she is still dreaming up more main characters though, like a brother for Torcellee.
She noted that she probably will not publish any more books unless she is able to make the money back that she invested in the first book.
“It really is nice being in Yuma, though, because it is small enough that people are just so supportive,” Barnicle said, explaining that she has already begun to sell books to the community.
Visit www.torcelleetwist.com for more information about how to buy the book, to watch videos about making various seasonal crafts, to find out how to enter the drawing contest or for other fun activities.
Sarah Womer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 539-6858.