First-time published author Janine Werchinski-Yates will launch her children’s book, “The Secret Sock Club” at a local event from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, at the Baldwinsville Public Library. The book event, geared for third- and fourth-graders, will include making sock puppets and holding a special “draw it” time with illustrator and Reynolds Elementary art teacher Mike Conway, raffles cake and more.
Editor Tami Scott caught up with Werchinski-Yates to discuss how her writing hobby and dream to write a book came to fruition.
Why did you decide to write a children’s book? Are there plans for more in your future?
I like kids. I used to be a Girl Scout leader when my children were younger and I like the fact that kids just accept you as long as you are real with them. They really do say the darndest things sometimes and they are always ready for an adventure! I wanted to make a fun book for them to enjoy.
Yes, Andy the sock’s next adventure is in the works!
How did you come to the decision to self publish through Lucky Sock Publishing?
When publishing traditionally you don’t have much control over the choice of font, illustrator, style, etc. and that bothered me. I had a vision of how I wanted these pictures/the book to look so I decided to do it myself to preserve that vision.
What is your book about and what or who prompted you to write about this particularly topic?
The book is about a sock named Andy who has to find the Secret Sock Club before he becomes a trash sock due to his faulty stitching. He has a lot of fun along the way and in the end he teaches his sock-buddies how to be a good friend. Andy goes through some struggles in the book also and I wanted kids to see that if you keep trying and stay positive, you can do anything.
I have had to visit the Laundromat quite a lot as my kids were growing up and the story came to me one day as I was watching the laundry “play” in the dryer. We now know where all those missing socks go!
How did you come up with the title?
It just fit. It’s a secret place, he’s a sock. Bingo!
What ages is the book geared toward?
Third- and fourth-graders. It’s a “read to me” book for younger kids.
How long did the process take you from beginning to end?
About six years.
What prompted you to begin writing a book?
I’m not sure. I had an English teacher in high school who told me that I couldn’t write my way out of a barn. That crushed me, but then I thought about it and, HELLO, what a stupid thing to say in the first place, and he’s teaching English! So, I put writing a book on my bucket list and didn’t listen to the people who had negative comments about the project.
Reynolds Elementary art teach/illustrator Mike Conway is your illustrator for the book. How did you both meet and come to work together?
Funny story. Mike was my kid’s art teacher at Reynolds Elementary. I hadn’t seen him at all for many years after they moved up to the higher schools. I had written the story and had it edited/polished/ready for pictures but I could not find an illustrator that worked. I also, ideally, wanted someone close by as I like dealing with people directly. I spent a couple years looking, off and on, even tried to do the pictures myself, and had almost given up. Then Mr. Conway started stalking me. (LOL) I saw him four times in one week, the last time at the library, of all places. I asked him why we kept seeing each other. He laughed and said, “I don’t know, maybe you have an art project or something!” I said, “I do!” Turns out that he always wanted to illustrate a book and his style was exactly what I was looking for. Heck of a nice guy too. Win-Win-Win-Win! Ha!
How/where can people purchase your book?
If they are local, they can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and save shipping costs. (I could deliver). For out-of-towners, visit thesecretsockclub.com.