A chance happening at a family outing to the beach turned into Hélène Clarke’s first published children’s book, Why Did the Osprey Poop on my Head?
“That happened to my husband and he said it would make a good title so I decided to write the book for it,” said Clarke, who has been writing puppet scripts with her husband, Tim, for years.
She always loved imaginative children’s books like Winnie the Pooh and the Narnia series and had taken a course from the Children’s Institute of Writing.
“I had gone through seven years of rejection letters and when I sent this story out, it was with another book to a Tate Publishing in Oklahoma. They liked this one.”
The book was selected for publication in January 2010 and published in March 2011.
“It was quite emotional when I found out it had been accepted and then when I saw the actual book. The publisher chose the illustrator and I got to work with him. I think the characters are great,” said Clarke.
The picture book for children ages four to eight, tells about Timmy and his pet gecko, Joe, who know that God is good but wonder why bad things happen sometimes.
“I enjoy writing for that age group and I know that if I’m enjoying what I’m writing then the kids will enjoy it, too. I have 20 nieces and nephews so I read it to them to see what they thought. The best compliment was when one nephew asked me to read it again. I like to see the kids laugh and see their excitement and their eyes light up.”
Clarke has done readings at Vernon Christian School and will be reading at schools in Kelowna. She has written two more books with the same characters and has several other books ready for publication.
“I would say to anyone who is writing to keep trying, to develop a thick skin to rejections and keep putting yourself out there,” said Clarke, who lives in Coldstream.
She will have a book signing Saturday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Bookland in Vernon. Why Did the Osprey Poop on my Head? is an eLIVE title, which means that each book contains a code redeemable for a free audio book version from TatePublishing.com.eLIVE.
For more information see www.heleneclarke.com, www.tatepublishing.com or barns and noble.com or amazon.com.