With an engaging storyline in the vein of famous British children's author Roald Dahl, Mount Shasta's George Kay has published his first tale, “Miss Gladys Thornprickle's Poison Garden.”
With an engaging storyline in the vein of famous British children's author Roald Dahl, Mount Shasta's George Kay has published his first tale, "Miss Gladys Thornprickle's Poison Garden."
The story was originally written for Kay's four children and later his grandchildren. Since it became available on Amazon Sept. 1, Kay, a local land developer, said it's "done well."
"The story is for kids age 5 to 105," he said. It's humorous and "a tiny bit edgy, so adults enjoy reading it too."
The story revolves around Miss Thornprickle, who lives in a house guarded by a scary iron gate and towering thorn bushes. Her house is surrounded by the most beautiful garden anyone's ever seen. And yet, nobody has ever seen Miss Gladys Thornprickle or anyone else tend to it. Nobody has ever seen Miss Gladys Thornprickle at all – not the mailman, Sid Skitter, not the grocer, Tom Turkee, not even Dr. L. Bo Humerus, the town doctor – leading the townsfolk to believe there must be only one explanation: she is a witch who has cast a spell over her garden.
When a group of kids, led by the mayor's son Buster Bluster, dare to trespass, they discover the truth behind the garden's tempting beauty and Miss Gladys herself... the hard way, according to the book's description on Amazon.
Kay said when his children were little, he always told them stories at bedtime and around the bonfire.
"They asked me to write a story for them, so I did. At the time – and this was before Harry Potter – kids books weren't that funny. They were all very soft. I thought, there needs to be a book that grade school children will enjoy that their parents can also get into and read with them."
Kay wrote Miss Gladys Thornprickle's Poison Garden and he stapled the manuscript together to create homemade books that he distributed to his grandchildren. They gobbled the story up.
Two years ago, Kay's oldest son, Tyler, decided to have a few copies printed by a vanity press. He surprised his dad with them for Christmas.
"I signed them and gave them to the grandkids," George Kay said. "They all love reading it. To me, the most important thing is the kids I love really enjoy it."
About a month ago, unbeknownst to George, Tyler submitted the book to Amazon's CreateSpace, which is a way to publish a book and distribute it through Amazon's online store.
"They reviewed it and accepted it," said George. "Then they sent it back for me to do some final edits and add illustrations. My wife, Terry, is my editor, and she went over it and made sure all the corrections were done, since it was going to be a 'real book.' Then we sent it back to Amazon."
The book hit the virtual shelves on Sept. 1, and since then, it has been selling and accumulating good reviews.
"This imaginative tale is full of laughs, irony, creative characters, twists, and even suspense," wrote one reviewer. "It brought me back to the days I couldn't put the likes of Roald Dahl down. I would recommend this to all kids who can either sit and listen, or who can read themselves. And to any adult who can still enjoy thinking like a kid!"
"I think most honest parents will admit that reading to our kids can get a bit tiresome," wrote another reviewer. "Now that my daughter can read on her own, it is easy to have her do just that, but it is a welcomed change to stumble on a book that is fun to read together."
Miss Gladys Thornprickle's Poison Garden has also been picked up by Barnes & Noble and has been reviewed on Goodreads, Kay said.
"It's surprising to me that it's moving so fast."
Kay said he has a few other stories partially written, including another tale featureing Miss Thornprickle. He's encouraged to continue writing by the warm reception of his first book.
Miss Gladys Thornprickle's Poison Garden is available to order on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and on Kindle.