HASTINGS — Deciding to write a book in your 90s with little writing experience seems like a crazy endeavor, but that is exactly what Regina Senior Living resident Audrey Ceran set out to do.
“It sounds silly doesn’t it?” Ceran, 97, said. “It was the weirdest thing. It just suddenly came to me that I should write a book.”
Ceran pondered the idea for a while, but friends gave her encouragement, saying why not?
Ceran also felt a push, so she started to write. The book, “Little Red: A Bedtime Story,” is inspired by a red wagon that Ceran’s father bought for her when she was a little girl. The book follows the adventures and mishaps of two kids and their dog.
Despite having no writing experience outside of school, Ceran finished the story in a week and a half.
“I figured out most of the story in my head after I’d go into bed, and that’s when I do my best thinking,” Ceran said. Some days, she added, she would go to her room after lunchtime and write until 9 p.m.
Once Ceran finished, it was time to decide how to get the book printed.
When she attended a book reading at Regina, Ceran met local author, Diane Davies. While seeking advice on what to do next, Davies led Ceran to a publisher.
The first copies of “Little Red: A Bedtime Story,” didn’t include any illustrations. After selling all of the initial copies except for one that she kept for herself, Ceran decided that the book needed pictures to go along with it.
“I thought that it couldn’t be a children’s book if it didn’t have pictures to go along with it,” Ceran said.
Ceran has been fascinated with drawing and painting since she was in elementary school. Her love for art developed when she created a drawing that was hung at the Minneapolis library.
For many years, she worked with oils, creating still-life and scenery paintings. In her 20s, she worked for the Star Tribune in the advertising department, often making drawings for ads.
“They didn’t use photographs at that time. Everything had to be hand drawn,” Ceran said.
When the illustrations were complete, Ceran decided to get the book printed herself through Graphic Design Inc. in Hastings.
For Ceran, writing the book and creating the illustrations became a creative outlet and a way to do something different.
“It was good therapy, you know? It gave me something to think about. When you reach my age, there isn’t too much to look forward to. You’re always thinking in the past, and that gets a little tiresome,” Ceran said. “There wasn’t any part that I didn’t like doing.”
Ceran gets the books printed in small batches at a time and sells them to people at Regina Senior Living.
“I just sell them around here. A lot of these people have grandchildren and great-grandchildren. They really like it,” Ceran said.