Most adults collect vintage toys and games in an effort to hold on to childhood memories. E. W. Shoemaker is writing stories, not to recapture childhood memories, but just to remember his childhood.
When the 32-year-old was 19, he was in a car wreck that left him blind and deaf for a while. He overcame that, but lost his childhood memories. Now as a youth minister, Shoemaker is writing stories about animals and the environment. His first book "Mother Nature and the Tales of North Fork" is about a bluegill fish who is going through what may be considered as his "teenage" years.
"I researched biological facts about all the animals that I included in the book before I started writing," Shoemaker said. "That goes into the significance of the part of the story that involves only one egg in a bluegill's nest of hundreds that turned into a fish " the main character Gil. A typical nest from a Bluegill fish normally consists of many eggs. The reason only one egg hatched in this book is because the creek called "North Fork' was polluted."
Gil, the fish, grew up in the Ohio River. Through unexpected events, Gil left the Ohio River for the waters of North Fork, a small creek in Kentucky. Shoemaker draws on his experience in his dentist office for the main topic of his books, which is "Mother Nature". He has only seen one dentist throughout his life and when he went to that office Shoemaker saw a poster of what he has identified as "Mother Nature". This picture includes a beautiful young lady nestled in gorgeous natural surroundings with the peaceful presence of many different of animals. This picture touched Shoemaker and he says that it is one of his childhood memories that he can still recall.
"I was trying to get that back," he said.
"This book is one of five and each one will be about a different animal," he said. "I want to explore how animals are treated by people. This will include being treated in a good manner, and one that is bad."
The main theme running through this first book, "Mother Nature and the Tales of North Fork," will be a coming of age story for the lead character.
"There are things that happen to you as a teenager that solidify your personality," Shoemaker said. "I want to build on that."
Shoemaker's own personality has been changed by the horrific accident. After years of corrective surgeries and rehabilitation, Shoemaker came away with a deeper understanding of people who suffer through handicaps. That understanding has led him to contribute part of the book sales to the Special Olympics.
"I have so much respect for those who are involved in Special Olympics," Shoemaker said. "The parents of children in Special Olympics are truly dedicated. Parents who encourage their children to get involved and are there through everything that happens with their loved ones are people I greatly respect."
Shoemaker has tested the waters of publication by letting some of the children at an undisclosed summer camp read the book. He said the children liked Gil and related to his story.
"It's great to have the kids read the book and tell you how much they like it," he said.
According to Shoemaker, "Mother Nature and the Tales of North Fork" is available for purchase from the publisher's website, www.authorhouse.com, or online book sellers such as www.amazon.com and www.barnesandnoble.com. He says that if parents purchase this for their children that he hopes they also receive a sense of satisfaction by acknowledging the fact that they are also helping with the Special Olympics, an organization that gives life to many handicapped children.