Like many parents, Tim Sheridan has oftentimes been called into
his daughter's room during a thunderstorm - attempting to explain
the natural phenomenon that, to his daughter, just appeared to be a
massive force of loud noises and bright lights.
Sheridan is attempting to quell the fears of many children who
share a similar fear of storms with his new book, "Thunder and
Lightning: A story for a stormy night." Fundraising for the book,
which he hopes will also be available in eBook form, will be
on Kickstarter until July 3.
"My daughter Lily -- she still doesn't like thunderstorms but
she used to be terrified -- and if there was a storm that woke her
up, it took a lot of effort to calm her down and assure her we're
safe in our house," he said. "It got me thinking -- what can you do
to alleviate that?"
Although Sheridan's explanation of thunder and lightning worked
sometimes, after several nights of sleeping on his daughter's
floor, he figured there needed to be another answer.
"I had already been coming up with characters that I have in
this ongoing set of stories that I'd tell at bedtime for my kids,"
he said. "Thinking about that and thinking about how to make storms
less scary, I thought -- what if thunder and lightning were
And that's where Sheridan's idea for the story was born.
"What if they were best friends, grew up together, and they got
loud when they'd play," Sheridan said. "One day thunder's family
was going to move away -- but every time they get together is a
storm -- that's just what a storm is, them playing together."
In addition to the text and images featured in the story,
Sheridan hopes to include songs recorded by The Low Anthem. The
eBook edition of the story would feature the music files, which can
be incorporated at both the beginning and the end of the story.
"I thought of The Low Anthem because they've got that style that
is sort of honest, direct, melancholy, but also very reassuring,"
he said. "When I went to them to see about using a couple songs,
they were very gracious. They're one of those bands that are about
trying different things and being open -- they're in it for the
pure love of music."
Sheridan also got the artistic vision of Dee Duncan, a local
illustrator with whom he had worked professionally, to complete the
visuals for the story.
"His vision for this is so simpatico -- quirky but still cute --
there are things that you discover in the book as you read over and
over again, and our visions are very similar," Sheridan said.
Because Sheridan already had an illustrator in mind, he chose
the Kickstarter route with the hopes of speeding up the story's
publishing process and to have more control over its visual
elements. Sheridan said that oftentimes authors have to wait
several years before getting a publishing deal.
"It felt like the best way was to get it done myself and not
have to wait," he said. "It can strike the interest of people that
are outside of your social circle -- it's very validating about the
quality of work we've all done together."
If Sheridan achieves his Kickstarter fundraising goal, he hopes
that the story will eventually go beyond the realm of the common
thunderstorm fix into an old favorite.
"It was the idea of wanting to do a story that kids would not
just want to hear once to make a storm less scary, but to hear over
and over again like my kids do with their favorite stories," he
Rosie Powers is the Digital Editor at our sister site, OakPark.com, where this story was originally published.
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