Ligonier couple publishes childrens' book
Ligonier residents Ken and Judy Clark teamed up with illustrator Diana Reh Hunt to release their first childrens' book, “Wiggles and Button,” in July.
“I just have an affinity for children and just felt like writing for them,” Ken said. “I love children. Children are just great. They're honest, they live in the moment, and they have such wonderful imaginations. I think the more lively an imagination is in a child, the more of the world is opened up to them and it opens up the possibilities for what they will do with the rest of their life. That's something I think that we, as adults, as we grow older we tend to lose that tremendous imagination that we had when we were younger.”
The story follows seven-year-old Olivia, named for the Clark's new granddaughter, and the adventure she has with her two imaginary friends, Wiggles and Button. Wiggles is a piece of multi-colored yarn and Button is a mahogany button on a sweater made by Olivia's grandmother.
The book is available at Second Chapter Books and on Amazon.com.
Ken and Judy Clark will be signing copies of the book 1 - 3 p.m. Jan. 26 and 2 - 4 p.m. Jan. 27 at Second Chapter Books store located at 209 E. Main St., Ligonier.
Ken Clark completed three tours in Iraq as a civilian contractor where he drove vehicles in convoys carrying fuel, ammunition, food and water.
After he returned from a third tour to Iraq, the couple moved to Hawaii. It was on the plane ride to Hawaii that they came up with characters for the book.
“I don't even know how we got started on it,” Judy said. “We were on an airplane ride and we had taken some notes in a notebook and just kind of forgot about it. Then just this past year we got to talking about it. We got the notebook out and wrote the book. It only took us a few months to get it written. I think we both have good imaginations, too, and we like kids. Everybody that I've talked to really liked it. It's a neat little book.”
The task of writing the story was different than writing for adults, Ken Clark said.
“You have to boil every down to the bare minimum. Your sentences have to be crisp, clean and to the point. You have to be able to paint a picture with your words and the illustrations really do make the book.”
Silverbear Graphics, the book's publishing company, brought in Diana Reh Hunt to add illustrations.
“It's so much fun, because it's Ken and Judy's world,” Hunt said. “But then there is such a connection because I have helped create their world, bringing it to them in visions. They brought me a story and I helped bring it to life in a way. I love their little book. I enjoyed the characters and I thought it was a cute little story. It's really good for children.”
Hunt said she became very caught up in the setting in which the story takes place – Dover, England in the 1800s – that she was told by her publisher she had put too much effort into the story.
“They said, ‘It's a simple story,' and I said, ‘No it's a real world' and to me it was,” Hunt said. “I immersed myself in that era, in their kinds of clothing, the colors they painted their walls, the kinds of food they ate, their entire lives in that part of their world. It's a part of history I'm interested in anyway. It really connected me to that part of the world. It was fascinating.”
The story ends with the final line “The End * For Now”, hinting at the possibility of future adventures for Olivia and her friends. The Clarks said if they do decide to publish more stories, they would include themes such as friendship, loyalty, honesty, courage and respect.
“These are all themes that I'm sure would reinforce what childrens' parents are teaching them,” Ken Clark said. “We've had people tell us it is a real opportunity to write more adventures that this little girl and her two imaginary friends might have.”
Peter Turcik is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.