By Molly Snyder Senior Writer Published Mar 19, 2007 at 5:11 AM

Seven years ago, at the age of 45, Trish Williams fulfilled a lifelong dream and went to the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD). As a sophomore, she took a children's book illustration class where she was introduced to a folktale called "The Wedding of the Mouse."

"This story touched my heart from the moment I read it," says Williams.

For her senior project, Williams decided to illustrate the Asian tale, and retell it in her own words. The result is a 31-page children's book featuring William's descriptive writing and colorful, textured illustrations.

The story tells the tale of Father Mouse and his quest to find the perfect spouse for his daughter, Meili. He asks the sun, moon, cloud, wind and wall to marry his daughter, but finally comes to the realization that these forces are not more powerful or important than mice.

"The story is such a touching example of how we often overlook our own gifts and need someone else to point them out," says Williams, who dedicated the book to her two children. "It struck me as a tale for all ages." So why did you decide to write a  kids' book?

Trish Williams: I have always loved children's books and as a child I devoured them. Children are so innocently adept at using their imaginations. They can easily step outside the world of their five senses, into an unlimited fantasy land. I love to make illustrations that invite children to reach right in and touch. Creating youth-friendly art keeps me connected to my own inner-child and reminds me of her laughter and delight in the simple pleasures of life. Writing children's stories also reminds me that there is joy to be found in almost any tale where we learn to do the right thing, trust our own knowing and show love and compassion to others.

OMC: Are you writing any more books for kids?

TW: I have another children's book that is almost finished. It is the true story of a friend of mine who lived in a wonderfully renovated, old red barn, in Elm Grove. She used to tell tales of the animal companions she befriended there that beg to be re-told. These stories would make a lovely series of books about the way we are able to relate to and support the animals that live around us and entertain us, if we just take a little time to notice.

OMC: What are you doing these days, besides the new book?

TW: Presently I am in the second year of Transformations, School of Spiritual Psychology, working on a Master's Degree in Spiritual Psychology with a minor in Breathwork. I am just beginning to explore art as a spiritual path and hope to develop a program where I can combine art with guided meditation and re-birthing as a tool for self-realization and personal growth. Art is a wonderful way to break down walls and change unconscious beliefs that no longer suit us. The possibility is very exciting!

Anytime I am able to use my art to benefit children I am delighted. Not too long ago I finished three pieces for Children's Hospital of Milwaukee. This very fine institution is one of the best in the country and I was invited to create illustrations to highlight three coveted awards they received: The Magnet Award, The Join Commission Award and the Level 1 Trauma Award. These designations, along with m work, are featured in their upper lobby.

OMC: It's really cool that you went to art school in your mid-40s ...

TW: I am now 51 and still believe it was one of the most wonderful experiences of my life. Publishing my own children's book has been the frosting on the cake.

OMC: Where do you write?

TW: Nearly two years ago I was married to the love of my life and we have been busy remodeling his house in Glendale. One of our first projects was to set up a lovely, sunny studio where I can create and study in the company of our three cats and dog.

OMC: What do you hope people will get from your book?

TW: I published this book because I wanted people to enjoy it as much as I do. The purpose was not to make a profit, but to get my work out to people who will share this lovely story with the children in their lives.

OMC: Where is "The Wedding of the Mouse" available?

TW: So far, it is available at Schwartz and Borders bookstores and at The Window Box and Books & Co in Oconomowoc. I am also working on getting it into stores in my hometown of Lake Geneva. It is my hope to donate a copy to each of the local libraries in the Milwaukee Metropolitan area. A copy can also be purchased directly from me, at my Web site.

Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.

Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.