Special to The Union
Dandy lions, snapdragons, elephants ears and fox tails are just a few of the enchanting plants and animals that local author Durinda Kelley writes about in her debut children’s book “Are You Talking About an Animal or a Plant?” A love for flora, fauna and storytelling inspired the one time teacher and Nevada County Master Gardener to share this colorful and fantastic journey in wordplay.
“Are You Talking About an Animal or a Plant?” is a book of homonyms, homophones and illustrations highlighting animals and plants. It is the first in a series of children’s books Kelley plans to self-publish under Durkel Books, Ltd.
“I’ve flirted with writing since a child, and I loved reading to children or creating plays with my siblings and friends,” Kelley said. “It was only within the last 20 years that I became serious about writing and enrolled in workshops and courses for writing skills. Spurred on by the “right to write,” I began short stories based on some of my life events.”
“Are You Talking About an Animal or a Plant?” took only two months to complete, but 14 years to publish. Kelley struggled to find the perfect fit with an illustrator who could create her imaginative characters and paint her words. On the recommendation of a friend, Kelley met Alta resident and illustrator Laurie Barrows. Barrows shared with Kelley her wonderment with the natural world that is the inspiration behind the book’s bright and joyful characters.
“I tried to follow the traditional method and spent many dollars ordering catalogues of publishers, writing inquiry letters, waiting for responses and receiving at least 36 rejections,” Kelley said. “I realized I would not have enough years in my life to continue on with this celebrated, tight, professional segment, and I truly wanted to see this book in print.”
With the advent of self-publishing, Kelley has been able to forge a new pathway in life. The success of this book has encouraged her to continue to write and publish her timeless stories.
Kelley has lived a colorful life that has taken her across the nation to work for a variety of professions including FBI, PSA Airlines, YWCA pre-school, Daly City Head Start, and finally as an Escrow Officer in the title industry. After 40 years of being a professional paper pusher she retired and become a professional dirt pusher. She became a University of California Master Gardener in 2005, and continues to volunteer with the distinguished group.
“Are You Talking About an Animal or a Plant?” is a whimsical read that grandparents and parents can enjoy with their grandchildren and children from start to finish, two or four times over.
Kelley has organized a handful of local book readings and signings. Barrows will join Kelley at the Book Seller on Saturday, March 13th. You can purchase a copy of “Are You Talking About an Animal or a Plant?” locally at the Book Seller or Weiss Bros Nursery or online at Amazon.com.
For more information go to http://www.facebook.com/DurkelBooksLTD
The Book Seller
107 Mill Street, Grass Valley
Free, All-Ages, 1-3pm
Bear River Library at Bear River High School
11130 Magnolia Road, Grass Valley
Free, All-Ages, 4-4:30pm
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