When I started this new blog post series, I did it with the idea of sharing the WHY I created my stories, but then I thought…why not share OTHER authors STORY BEHIND “THEIR” STORY? I put the call out and soon I had tons of authors who wanted to share their backstories with my readers. This week children’s book author, Bill Kirk, is sharing the WHY he wrote his book, “A Whale Of A Tale”. Take it away, Bill…

A Whale Of A Tale by Bill Kirk

Every book has a story, right?  I mean, sure, there’s the story that’s INSIDE the book.  You know which story I’m talking about—a story about bugs or kids or adventures that you can hardly wait to read because in some way the main character reminds you of YOU—or someone you can imagine being while reading every page and chapter.

But did you know there is another story that could be just as curious or engaging as the story in the pages and images inside the book?  Yep!  That’s right.  Before a story is ever written or a book is ever finally published, every author has a story idea, not to mention the images in his or her head.  That’s when the places and especially the characters in the story are just waiting for their story to be told—or, even better yet, written.

So, what about “A Whale Of A Tale”?  Are you wondering how a story about a boy and a whale came to be?  There had to be at least some ideas bouncing around my head in the “here and now”, right?  And surely those ideas must have taken me on an imaginary journey to a very different place or time or both.  Well, if you are wondering, you came to the right place!  So, let’s puzzle those questions out a bit, shall we?  The prose or rhyming thing can be sorted out later….

*  *  *  *  *

Once upon a time, my family and I went to the beach for a short vacation.  The California Central Valley isn’t very close to Pacific Coast beaches, mind you.  But we’re close enough to get there in a couple hours.  So, off we went, all packed and ready to stay in a quaint little beach house in Bodega Bay for a week—no school; no work; no troubles to get in the way of pure enjoyment, FOR A WHOLE WEEK!  😊

The first day, we settled in and checked things out.  But after that, each morning I would take an early walk on the beach before my family woke up.  Partly, I wanted to do a bit of exploring in the morning quiet and let my thoughts wander.  Doesn’t everyone?

The beach had plenty of sand, of course.  But there were also some perfect little rocky outcrops and small hilly overlooks with several winding paths leading down to the water’s edge.  On my walks, although tempted to shed my shoes, I was careful to keep them on until I reached the sand, mostly because I didn’t want to risk hurting my bare feet on sharp edges.  After all, that might have made for a short vacation, right?  Or, at least, I might have been hobbled up inside that cute little cottage—and I knew I could only stand so much of a good thing…. 😉

Truthfully, my main worry about getting sidelined by an injury was possibly shortening my morning mental meanderings stimulated by the steady sound of surf washing ashore during my strolls along the strand.  Besides, who knows what curiosities the waves might carry in that I could very easily miss.  Perhaps even more importantly, what would my imagination miss by not actually being present for the incoming tides?

You guessed it!  Every morning, wispy waves washed over the sand before breaking amid those nifty little rocky convolutions.  And at the water’s edge, there was a treasure trove of sea life visible along the shifting, sandy boundary between sea and rocky outcrops.  Who knows what sea life might become stranded there, just waiting to be found and even helped back into the water…? 

Think of the possibilities:  Shells?  Why, they are everywhere.  Crabs?  They scurry around every morning, right?  Small fish now and again?  Sure, some can be seen flopping around in just the right spot to be carried out with the receding surf.  Others?  Not so lucky.  ☹  But what about a porpoise?  And how about a baby whale?  Who knows?  Why not?  It could happen, right? 

And… that’s… when… the seeds of the story S-L-O-W-L-Y set their roots in my imagination, stimulated by sand, surf and sea life—and, yeah, just a few miles eastward—you know, New England?  Guess it’s time for a little whaling research. 

Oh, and it’s gonna be written in rhyme?  Hendecasyllabic!  Piece of cake….  😊


Book blurb…

A young boy (Artemus Zachary William McGill) lives in a fishing port with his mom.  His sea captain father passed away years before.  Although Will is only 11 years old, he longs to become a sailor as his dad had been.  He can hardly wait to reach his 12th birthday when he will be old enough to become a Cabin Boy.  One day while down by the shore, Will saves a beached baby whale, making a lifelong friend of the baby whale and its mother watching just off shore. 

In less than a year, the baby whale had grown up.  Just by happenstance after a huge storm at sea, the whale and its mother save Will and the crews of a pair of storm-damage whaling ships where Will is now a Cabin Boy.  This miracle changes Will’s life forever, along with the lives of all the sailors and others living in the whaling village.” 

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About the Author:  

Kirk’s writing has been influenced by his many years of traveling and two careers in the U.S. Air Force and the California Department of Social Service.  Married for nearly 53 years, he also notes that his children and grandchildren have given him loads of material to play with. 

In addition to his whale book, three of his 14 children’s picture books include one about a spider, another about a beetle and a third about a kitchen full of ants.  Now, don’t those books sound fun?!  Bill has also written poetry, fiction and satire.  His work has appeared in several magazines and journals over the years.  And, of course, there is the never-ending novel of political intrigue in perpetual revision….

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