CONWAY — Conway chiropractor Dan Falk and his wife Kristi Falk transformed last week from doctor and executive director of a nonprofit, respectively, to award-winning authors.
The first book the two published, “Eartha Gets Well,” won a Moonbeam Children’s Book Award in a contest that drew about 1,000 entrants.
“I think I did a happy dance when I read the email,” Kristi Falk said.
She said the idea of Eartha and her dog Cooper was born at an event where nonprofits were charged with creating a children’s art walk. The idea, Kristi Falk said, was that the nonprofit would write a story and draw illustrations for each exhibit and children would then color in the characters. For their part of the exhibit, the Falks wrote Eartha’s first story and illustrator Caitlin Beidler provided the drawings.
Kristi Falk is the executive director of The Wellness Council for South Carolina and she and her husband wanted to do a book that would promote healthy choices for children. The book is in the process of becoming a series that will have 10 follow-up books, Kristi Falk said.
The book was put on sale in April or May – Kristi Falk said she can’t remember which – and so far has sold about 50 copies, she thinks.
But according to Amy Shamroe, book awards coordinator for the contest’s originator, the Jenkins Group in Michigan, the Falks may find people knocking on their door for copies.
She said librarians and teachers regularly peruse the winners’ list of the contest that draws entries from the U.S. and other countries.
Shamroe said the entries are pre-screened by personnel in the Jenkins Group, a publishing services firm, and those left standing are judged by company personnel as well as others.
She said it’s unusual for her to remember many of the books that get the awards – there are three winners in each of 39 categories – but “Eartha Gets Well” is one of those that she recalls.
She said it stuck in her mind because it was so clever with a good story and illustrations. Also, she said, it wasn’t too wordy and maintained a level that would keep the interest of young readers.
“If you’re writing a book for kids, you have to speak at a kids’ level,” she said. “It does make a difference that it is so well done.”
Kristi Falk said the book that won a bronze award in the Health Issues category is a new and improved version of the original. She said that she and her husband worked with BQB Publishing in Georgia on the final version, and it was BQB’s marketing manager who suggested they enter it in the contest.
Shamroe said the Moonbeam awards are an offshoot of another older contest the company sponsors called the Independent Publisher award that are given for books across the spectrum. The idea behind the original awards, she said, was to give recognition to books that aren’t published by one of the big four publishers and aren’t often nationally lauded.
Kristi Falk said she and Dan already have the outline for the second book, but they are holding its publication to see how sales go on the first one.
“We’re going to have a lot of adventures with Eartha and Cooper,” she said.
Copies are available through Barnes & Noble, Amazon and at bqbpublishing.com.
Information about the first book and its award are available at earthabooks.com.
A few people do walk along the busy stretch of U.S. 501 Business from S.C. 90 to downtown Conway, but the city isn’t sure it wants to be in the business of promoting the route for pedestrians.
The City Council has decided to hold off on a plan to provide better pedestrian access to the north side of the historic bridge over the Waccamaw River that you’ve got to cross to get to the downtown area.
For one thing, the S.C. Department of Transportation said that doing so would require $64,000 to relocate the guardrail at the foot of the bridge and lay new curb and sidewalk. The state won’t pay for it, meaning that if it were done, it would be from the city’s pocket change.
But the problem is that it would essentially be a sidewalk coming from nowhere and/or leading to nowhere.
The stretch of road does not have shoulders that are wide enough to accommodate sidewalks and the city doesn’t want to do anything to encourage people to take a stroll along it.
So the plan is on hold to see if there’s a better route to direct pedestrians.
Stories with slime
The North Conway Baptist Church will be holding its Fall Festival from 6 to 8 p.m. Oct. 28 and among the enticements it’s advertising to lure visitors is Dr. Gizmo’s Science Lab of Science.
Kecia Richardson of the church said she’s not sure what part the slime plays, but the overall idea is to give the pastor a forum from which to tell Bible stories. For those whose imaginations cannot let them envision that as a fun thing, there are plenty of other attractions at the festival that is free to all.
There will be a cake walk, a petting zoo, pony rides and trunk-or-treat. Oh yeah, there will be hot dogs, chips, drinks and snow cones too.
The church is located at 1608 Sessions St., behind The Freeze Restaurant on the north end of Main Street.
Children are welcome to wear costumes, but the church asks that they remember they’re coming to church and not dress as witches or demons.
Contact STEVE JONES at 444-1765.