Kathleen Shields, the daughter of Jerry Shields, resides in Canyon Lake, Texas, but is coming to Tiffin to visit relatives. While here, she is to promote a new children's book she has written, "Hamilton Troll meets Pink Light Sprite." "Hamilton Troll" is billed as an entertaining, rhythmic adventure story. As small as a mouse, Hamilton lives in a hole next to a chopped-down tree. A terrible storm has rolled in, flooding his home. Soaking wet and scared, he runs to hide but soon meets a beautiful sprite named Pink Light. This lovely creature befriends bewildered Hamilton and helps him solve his problem. Shields said she began writing short stories and poetry for fun when she was 12. When she became aware others were enjoying her stories and poems, she made efforts to realize her dream of becoming a writer.
"I had two English teachers who I believe were instrumental in my desire to become a writer. The first, in seventh grade, encouraged my poetry. I had always enjoyed rhyming. I found it incredibly easy, especially when the rhythm was right. In fact, in high school it became a game, where friends knew if they gave me a word or phrase, I could write a 4-8 stanza rhythmic poem in under 2 minutes," Shields said. She said high school was when the creative writing began. "My English teacher, Linda Smith, assigned a creative writing assignment that she felt was good enough to publish in the school's literary magazine," she said. "The next year, she had me on the editorial team. It was a lot of fun and it was what kept me writing."
The only child of divorced parents, Shields found out quickly her active imagination and writing could keep her entertained. Her dad and stepmother, Sherri, have been very encouraging and supportive in the author's career, but her mother, Nancy A. Shields, was her main "cheerleader." "Hamilton Troll was initially her character back in 1976, as Hamilton Snoot, but trolls back then were ugly and angry, and that wasn't how I saw Hamilton Troll. I originally wrote this story as just a poem in 1997, but never thought I could do anything with it," she said.
Thing began to fall into place, though, once she met her book's illustrator. "My mother was taken from me a few years ago and, in the grief, I started searching for projects to dedicate to her memory. This book is dedicated to her and I know she is smiling down upon me, cheering me on," she said. Shields has been writing poetry "for fun and for hire" in the form of custom greeting cards and public speaking programs.
With the first Hamilton book completed, Shields said she has enough ideas to create a series of Hamilton books. "My book is self-published, but I have over a decade of experience in the industry, publishing two young adult books through a company called Author House, and helping a client of mine self-publish his 'Renters Handbook,'" she said. Sheilds did the graphics for the book, the layout, cover, the website, social media and marketing. The paperback and Kindle eBook are available through Amazon, but the hardback books are sold directly through Shields.
Saturday, she plans to do a book signing 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at Paper and Ink bookstore in downtown Tiffin. Then, at 2 p.m. Monday, she plans to do a reading for children at Tiffin-Seneca Public Library. Shields' website is www.hamiltontroll.com