About 15 years ago, John Curtin of Tiffin was inspired by fall scarecrows to write a children's Halloween story with a scarecrow as a main character. Late in 2012, he completed his book, "Spookety Boo."
"I've always wanted to write a book. I liked doing artwork when I was a kid, but I had no talent. I was told I had a bit of a knack for writing. I liked Dr. Seuss. I still like him, and I like his graphics," Curtin said.
A lawyer and financial adviser by trade, Curtin said he began by setting down lines in rhyme and meter without having an actual outline for the plot. He writes in first person as the farmer who owns Spookety Boo, a scarecrow who comes to life. Once the name and a few lines were on the paper, the characters "took over" and propelled the story.
PHOTO BY MARYANN KROMER
John Curtin is the author of a new children’s book, “Spookety Boo.”
Curtin said creating rhyme that was not cliche was challenging.
"At night, I would write one line. The next night, I'd write another line and work on it. It probably took a good year to finish it. Then I'd go back and tweak it. ... probably 50 or 100 times," Curtain said. "It was a labor of love. Now, I really respect Dr. Seuss. It's amazing how he could crank stuff out."
The non-scary, read-aloud story is printed in white letters on dark backgrounds. Taking Seuss as his model, Curtin said he took some liberties with the vocabulary.
Knowing he could not do the illustrations, Curtin decided to self-publish the book with Xlibris and have an illustrator from the company do the artwork to accompany the text. He described his own vision of the characters and Raymond Reyes did the drawings.
The author said he was satisfied with the final product, which was released in July.
Curtin has done book signings at a festival in Maumee and at the public library in Lima where he works. During the Tiffin Seneca Heritage Festival, Curtin will read from "Spookety Boo" 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday at Croghan Colonial Bank's Kids Corner. Sunday, he will be at Paper and Ink from 1:30-5 p.m. for a reading, book signing and sales.
The 24-page soft-cover book is priced at $15.99.
Curtin said he is willing to go into school classes and libraries to share the story.
The book can be purchased locally at Paper and Ink and online through Xlibris, Amazon and other outlets. It is also available as an e-book.
"There's no real 'moral' to the story. I just wanted it to be fun. ... I guess the character in the book saw his duty and he did it," Curtin said. "He helps the farmer scare off the animals."
Those who cannot attend the Heritage Festival can catch Curtin again 1-3 p.m. Oct. 5 at Tiffin-Seneca Public Library. He is to read, sign and sell his books at "Halloween Hullabaloo" in the children's library.
To contact Curtin for readings, call (419) 443-0758.