Children's Books

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The Story Behind the Pen

Shawnie Clark - Author

I was recently asked, why now, at this point in your life, do you want to share this story. I mulled that question over in my mind for countless days, in turn, that resulted in sleepless nights.

The conclusion of the matter is that I don’t have a direct answer.  I feel that I have reached a milestone in my life. I feel content with who I have become and with what I have accomplished up to this point in my life.

It has been said, that when a person reaches a certain age in their life, different ages for different people, they start to reflect on self and past accomplishments.

Well, I have reached that age, and NO I’m not telling you what number it is, as I chuckle out loud! I don’t like to think of age as a number. I feel that you are as old as you think you are. Of course, as we age our body starts to set limits of what we can and can’t do, but I’ve come to the conclusion that I just have to be smarter about what and how I do things.

So with that being said, It has been said, that when a person reaches a certain age in their life, different ages for different people, they start to reflect on self and past accomplishments. My childhood was a typical. I had a blended family with step-parents and half-sisters and a half-brother. It was not the fairy tale childhood that everyone dreams about. With that being said, I faced many challenges, which I prefer not to discuss, but dealing with these challenges contributed to the person I am today.

When I was a tweener, somewhere between the ages of 10-12 I discovered the library. It was my haven away from the world. I found myself getting caught up in many a mystery or fantastic adventure. Thus grew my love of books. My list consisted of Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, and of course books by Laura Ingalls’s Wilder to name a few. I think I read them all. I was addicted!

While in high school, creative writing was my focus. It gave me a sense of freedom, a way to escape to places I could only go in my imagination. I have to say that it was and still is my favorite way of writing. During that time in my life I dreamed of pursuing a career in journalism. Needless to say that did not happen.

Life happened!

My family was all about good education. A’s were expected, not celebrated. The sad reality is that mentality never went past high school. I was brought up to have a good education, but as a woman I was expected to marry and start a family. A career outside the home was not encouraged for young women during that time.

So that’s what I did! Several husbands and five children later you could say I mastered that career!

During those family years, I never lost my love of reading and writing. In fact, it made it all the more so enjoyable! My reading list now consisted of Agatha Christy, JRR Tolkien, and Jane Austen just to name a few.

My children where a source of wild adventures! There was a story at every turn. Dr. Seuss became a staple in our home, along with frequent trips to the library. It’s hard to believe I raised children for a span of 28 years, wow! As a parent, you know it never ends.

Over the next few years I had poetry published and wrote articles for newspapers and websites.

In 2012 I took a writing assignment for a small publisher in the New York area. It was my first time writing children’s stories. Boy was I hooked! I learned a lot from that publisher and thankful I came across her path. We ended up parting ways and I moved on.  I put in many hours of research and hard work resulting in becoming a self-published author. I published several children’s books. One of my favorites is Bug Off Big Bully an easy reader chapter book. Of course it touches on the subject of bullying that is so prevalent in the world today. I was bullied as a child so I know how it feels. There are a lot of mixed emotions and those are touched on in this little book.

 I did and still do book readings and author appearances at every opportunity. I believe there is a big difference in reading a story and telling a story. A story teller is intriguing. They capture and hold the audience’s attention to the end, thus making the hearer part of the story experience. This is what I love to do!

One day I came across a wonderful publisher who liked my work MacLaren-Cochrane Publishing (MCP) and along came the picture book Wonder Wheels. It is near and dear to my heart. This little book has such a big theme. It touches on love, friendship, overcoming obstacles and making friends. Also, this book is unique in that it is available in dyslexic font. I find this truly amazing! It is absolutely wonderful to see the excitement people have and their faces light up because they can read the book with ease. What a blessing! For more on this visit my website listed below. It has been amazing to work alongside such talented people. The next project with MCP is a picture book titled Bug Off. Can hardly wait to share it with the world!

During this same time frame I was also contacted by a small press out of Vienna to write a series of children’s stories for a new APP that was in the development stage. I was among a group of authors that took that challenge, and along came Get Bedtime Stories APP. It is a must try! It’s available in the Apple AP Store. Free to download, first story is free. There are multiple story worlds to choose from along with guidance on telling the story! I loved the whole concept as soon as I heard about it! Even though my part in this adventure was small, it was a wonderful experience with amazing people! It really was a privilege. The story world I did was The Secret Treasure Chest.  So the story behind the story is that it is not only entertaining but has educational value to it.

 This story world touches on dealing with emotions, making new friends, love, kindness, empathy, fear, and is multicultural, to name a few. It was inspired by my granddaughter who is 3 years old.

As a writer I have many projects in the works. In fact, more idea’s than the time to write them. I feel that all of my life experiences no matter how small contributed to who I am today and in the writing I continue to do. Enough looking behind, ahead to the future!

 Is an autobiography in the works, hummm, we’ll see…


Shawnie Clark

[email protected]