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Myra Gougér, a Mission resident of just one year, hopes to encourage children of all ages to be open to trying new things.
Gougér, who moved to the area from Las Vegas to be closer to her family, has seen her dream of writing come to fruition with her first children’s book: “I Don’t Like Broccoli.” The book was published by Austin Macauley Publishers, LLC.
The book describes 4-year-old Joseph, who doesn’t like the look of the broccoli on his plate when eating dinner with his parents. They let him know that the vegetable will help him grow big and strong, but he is still apprehensive.
Joseph ends up feeding the broccoli to his dog, Charlie, when his mom isn’t looking. He begins to change his tune when he dreams of Charlie lifting weights and dancing to music.
“When he finally realizes that the broccoli made the dog so strong, he thinks he should try it himself and eat the broccoli from now on,” Gougér said. “I’ve got several other [books] in the works right now.”
“I Don’t Like Broccoli” is a rhyming book, written with the hope that kids can read along and follow the story in an engaging way.
A realtor for several years in Las Vegas and Houston, Gougér has found satisfaction in living in a smaller city. Her purpose for moving – to spend more time with her son and three young grandsons, has been particularly rewarding.
“It’s quite an enjoyable place to live,” Gougér said. “I am a Texan, I lived in Texas most of my life before I moved to Las Vegas. When I moved back, it was nice to have a bunch of nice people who are very happy to talk with you and be with you.”
According to both Gougér and a press release from Austin Macauley Publishers, she often finds that much of the inspiration for her books comes from things that have happened in the family. Gougér’s son called her one morning and described how his son wasn’t interested in eating broccoli, and fed it to their dog instead.
“He said, ‘the dog really loved it,’ and I said wow, and I started thinking,” Gougér said. “And the book just came very quickly to me after that.”
Gougér said she has always been a “mental writer,” often taking time to write before going to sleep. Seeing “I Don’t Like Broccoli” reach a completed stage of illustration and publication was exciting.
“I just sat down and wrote it, and all the rhymes followed really quickly, I wrote the whole thing in probably three days,” Gougér said. “I’ve sent in stories for children to some children’s magazines, and every now and then they’d get published, but there aren’t a lot of magazines out there anymore.”
Gougér said she’s been wanting to write as a career since she was five years old.
“As with most writers, you go a different path and keep sending in things and sending in things,” Gougér said. “And every now and then you hit the big time, and somebody says yes.”
The Mission resident said that she hadn’t anticipated the book actually being published.
“I’d had so many rejection slips over a long period of time, and then I didn’t think anyone would want it,” Gougér said. “I thought it was cute and wonderful and everything else, but that was my opinion.”
Gougér had not intended to send her book in, but after some encouragement from her son, she submitted it to Austin Macauley Publishers, thinking it was a literary agency. They let her know four months later “I Don’t Like Broccoli” would be illustrated and distributed to bookstores.
“Is Cloud Nine too high?” Gougér said on how she felt when they told her it would be published. “It was a very exciting period in my life, I’ve been writing a long time, and anybody who’s managed to get published – and it’s a very difficult market, so it takes a long time.”
Her son and grandsons are incredibly proud of Gougér – in fact, her youngest grandson, who isn’t usually one for listening at storytime, sat through the entire story twice.
“It’s a very cute book,” Gougér said. “[My grandson] sat through it from cover to cover.”
Gougér was involved in the entire process, and noted the illustrator was talented in bringing everything she wanted to life. “I Don’t Like Broccoli” can be found on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and the Austin Macauley Publishers’ website.