Stephen Massey wants to help maintain and promote the innocence of childhood for our youngest citizens and their parents.
To that end, Massey, 61, a Sault native who has lived in Amherstburg (near Windsor) for the past 20 years, has self-published his first book, Chuckles and Boomerang, for children to enjoy.
Massey, a married father of two and Lakeway Collegiate grad who worked in masonry in the Sault before moving to southwestern Ontario, based the book on a young girl and her dog.
Massey told SooToday the Chuckles character is based on his own daughter (now in her late 30s).
“When she was born, I nicknamed her Chuckles. There’s a lot of my daughter in Chuckles. There isn’t really much of a story behind the dog’s name, but I just thought Chuckles and Boomerang had a nice ring to it.
“I’m not so much a storyteller, but out in left field, I guess,” he laughed.
Still, “it’s very exciting to me,” said Massey of his new literary project.
“My goal was to go along with the fact that children need to enjoy the innocence of their childhood, and at the same time have a character that parents and grandparents would appreciate as a role model.”
Readers can expect more of the two characters in the future.
“This will be a series of books. Chuckles has a respectful disposition, and so will future characters as we move on in the series. The books will always have a happy ending. No doom and gloom, and if there is some doom and gloom, it’ll be fine at the end,” Massey said.
“To me, all children really deserve to have their childhood and enjoy the innocence of just being a kid, without all of the drama this world puts on,” the author continued, noting the dark nature of literature on today's bookstore shelves.
Massey's friend, Steven Johnson, who illustrated the book, is the one who suggested Massey write it.
“So, after a few weeks I gave him a manuscript I penned and Chuckles and Boomerang became real,” Massey said.
With more Chuckles to come, and with Boomerang coming back, Massey said, “we’re hoping for No. 2 to be out by late summer.”