Xlibris author Sylva Kelegian has a brimming cache of writing tools inspired by her childhood and adulthood recollections. Whether they are fond memories or otherwise, they have shown how rich her imagination is. They have come out beautifully in the form of printed words through her Xlibris self-published books, The Dolphin Princess and God Spelled Backwards: The Journey of an Actress Into the World of Dog Rescue.
Her middle grade book The Dolphin Princess recently won the best children’s fiction category in THE 2015 BEVERLY HILLS BOOK AWARDS. Sylva shares her inspiration and talks about her writing journey here on the Xlibris Blog.
About the author and her book The Dolphin Princess
My name is Sylva Kelegian and I’m an actress, a dog rescuer, and now a writer. My book “The Dolphin Princess” just won The Beverly Hills Book Award for best children’s fiction of 2015, which was a thrill since it’s a very personal book I created 18 years ago and finally finished last year. The idea came to me after my husband, actor Jude Ciccolella called me THE DOLPHIN PRINCESS on our honeymoon because of my swimming abilities. I so loved the name and though I was not a writer at the time, I told myself that one day I would have to write a book with that title. Soon after I began making notes and creating my characters. I have always wanted to live on Fifth Avenue in New York so I had Saroya, (a name I had heard and loved while I was in Saudi Arabia as a teen) my lead little girl start her journey there and end up on Animia Island, an island based on Anna Maria, a place where I spent my childhood years. Though I didn’t lose my mother at a young age, as Saroya does, I did have an absent father and considered my friends my family. Therefore, I placed Saroya on an island where the Animates (the inanimate objects that have washed ashore and come to life) could be her new family and they teach her that as long as she is alive she can love and be loved.
All of the Animates were created from my imagination and the You Do Creature came about when my husband playful made fun of the way I said “you do” one day. He repeated it quickly and in a charactery voice, so I decided to use his invention and made You Do a record that had been scratched on those words. Elyphant was the name I gave to my beloved dog Sammy’s favorite toy and Sorrowful Sad Sally was given a name similar to Poor Pitiful Pearl, a doll I remembered from childhood that belonged to my aunt. My dearest husband was instrumental in helping to create a few other characters as well. We loved to “spoon” in bed together and had fun saying it so I created Spoon and gave her a high, lilting voice with the vowels running together. Jonbl, the name Jude gave to his imaginary friend when he was a child, had a face that was askew; eyes heading south and mouth going north, so he became my baseball glove. There are other wonderful Animates on the island as well, including Josephine, Little Joe, Calista, Morgan, Jack, and The Domino Family. “The Dolphin Princess” is a middle grade book but it’s for all ages as some of the reviews below attest to.
Read about the readers’ nods for The Dolphin Princess on the sequel of Sylva’s Xlibris Blog.