TINLEY PARK, IL — A Tinley Park woman whose dream it has been to write a children’s book is so close to seeing it come to fruition.
Cheryl Host, 67, says it’s taken a long time for the pieces to fall into place for her to finally hold her finished book in her hands, but she can remember clearly the moment she knew she wanted to create it.
Host was riding in a funeral procession following the death of her mother in 2006, and her youngest granddaughter was 3 years old at the time. She recalls her granddaughter looking confused, out of place, and lost.
“She just had a look on her face that, she just didn’t understand,” Host said. “She was experiencing something she couldn’t put into words.
“I thought maybe an adult should work to bring out these feelings in kids who can’t express them. That was the inspiration.”
A creative-minded person with a love for writing, Host has a background in creative writing and journalism. Life after her graduation from Columbia University took her in different directions, though, and she found herself filling different professional roles that pulled her away from that passion. Following her husband’s death in 1997, she was the main provider for her two children and pursued jobs that would help her fulfill that obligation.
But it was always there, that fire to create.
“I had this training in writing, and thought one of these days, ‘I’m gonna make that book,'” Host said.
In 2017, during a refresher course in creative writing, Host offered for peer review a rough version of what would become her book—a story of a boy named Charlie,” who is happy with his family, pets, sports, etc. One day , he is faced with learning that his beloved grandmother has died. … he confronts his shock, fear, confusion, sadness and grief during many conversations with his mom.”
The manuscript was well-received and her classmates encouraged her to pursue it further. In 2020, during a Zoom networking call for professional women, she crossed paths with the head of a publishing group called Inside Out Press. Host was the only attendee meeting with Kim Olver, garnering her the publishing executive’s full attention. And then, the process took off. They found an illustrator to bring Host’s words to life.
“It’s a passion project for me. … It was divine intervention,” Host said, of Inside Out Press. “They guided me through every step without overwhelming me. Nine months from the time we met, and here it is going to happen.”
Host’s book, “Remember, I Love You” will be released on Oct. 11.
“This book was always on my bucket list, and to finally have it completed, have it out in the universe, I’m so overjoyed by it,” she said. “…I just want to get the message out to help children and not have that look on their face like my granddaughter did. The bewilderment, it just clung to me.
“I’m bursting at the seams with pride that I finally accomplished this.”
Host’s book will be available on Amazon, at Barnes and Noble, in libraries and other local booksellers.