Conveying the true meaning of Christmas was the goal for the writing venture of Jerry Perry and Jenny Matzke.
The married couple co-wrote “Eric and the Christmas Card” after Matzke came up with the dea, which she said took almost a week to develop. Perry helped with rhymes and wrote some lines of the story as well as contributed ideas. The book is published by Tate Publishing in Mustang, Okla.
“We sent a transcript of our book to multiple publishing companies and we had multiple offers for them to publish it, but Tate Publishing gave us the best deal,” Perry said.
A company artist, Julie Yarbor, illustrated the book.
“Our publisher showed us some art styles and had us pick which style we liked best for the book,” Matzke, a sociology student at Morehead State University, said. “We choose the style we liked best and they assigned Julie to do the illustrations.”
The couple discussed ideas with the artist and Yarbor also contributed some ideas of her own.
“The dog in the book is actually modeled after our own dog Cupid,” Perry, who is pursuing a degree in computer information systems at Morehead State University, said. “We sent Julie a picture of him and she drew a good likeness of him.”
He said the book, aimed at 3- to 8-year-olds, is intended to teach children that gifts aren’t what’s important about Christmas but being happy and joyfull in the spirit of Christmas and celebrating the birth of Christ is.
“For any of our readers who are too young to read, the paperback copy comes with a free audio download that gives a ‘magical’ Christmas-like chime prompting you to turn the page,” Perry explained. “The book could be enjoyed by parents as well when they read it to their child to show them the joy of reading, to put them to sleep or just for an act of love helping parents bond with their children.”
He said he believes the perspective of the book is unusual.
“What sets our book apart from other children's books is that we, as a loving couple, wrote it together and while we are adults, we are very young at heart, so we wrote the book with a child’s enthusiasm, in their own language, but we did so with an adult intellect,” he said.
In the story, Eric receives a Christmas card with no money in it, which makes him very unhappy. As the story progresses, the true meaning of Christmas is revealed.
Perry and Matzke are working on individual projects now.
Perry is writing a novel targeting young adults and adults.
Matzke is writing a chapter book aimed at middle-school students.
“Even though we are working on our own side projects, we have discussed the possibility of doing some more books together, perhaps even an Eric series,” Perry said.
The book “Eric and the Christmas Card” by Jerry Perry and Jenny Matzke, published by Tate Publishing, is available at tatebpublishing.com/bookstore, barnesandnoble.com, amazon.com and bookstores nationwide. It also is available is an eLIVE title, meaning each book contains a code redeemable for a free audio book version from TatePublishing.com.
LEE WARD can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (606) 326-2661.