by Karole Passmore
I was recently invited to a small haven of creativity, nestled on a side street in Cambridge City. It’s a place where writers meet to share their ideas, their successes and the desire to become published authors. The space is provided by a woman named Shelley Davis owner of Kids at Heart Publishing Company.
A published author herself, Shelley knows the ins and outs, and also the trials, of attempting to become published, from experience. To hold your published book in your hand, for a writer, Shelley explains “it’s an incredible feeling.” Witnessing the joy of someone with their own book for the first time is the reason Shelley says she started her own publishing company. She shares that she is there with them every step of the way to see them through the process of having their book put into print, and to help them with marketing their book afterwards.
Working alongside Shelley is Betsy Morphew, graphic artist who helps the authors with the design aspects of their book. Those authors include 25 people currently, among them the first published author from Kids at Heart, Odell Calihan. Mr. Calihan is a retired principal from the Franklin County schools, and his own unique story of how he became a published author speaks to the eclectic backgrounds of the authors of KAH.
According to Calihan, he was always a story teller at heart, using his stories to relay messages to kids when they were sent to his office as a principal. He remembers well the first meeting with Shelley. She visited Liberty Elementary to see if they ever had authors come to speak to the students. Mr. Calihan was a substitute principle at the time. He invited Shelley to his office to tell her about his story ideas. She encouraged him to put his words to paper and he is now working on his sixth book in print. His first book is titled “Cooper & Cracker,” and each of his books include a lesson for kids to learn. His family comes from the Appalachian Mountains, and Odell likes to add his experiences, and the stories of his family, into his books.
Odell adds that he “appreciates Shelley giving me the opportunity.” And goes on to say that she encouraged him to take on more serious writing which he does in his book “Birth of an Angel,” a “tear jerker” according to Odell and the other authors seated in the little conference room at KAH.
According to Eva Reece, “people are drawn to Shelley- writers feel safe and that she cares.” She shares that if it weren’t for Shelley’s support and guidance, “I would have never gotten published…I would have been lost in an ocean of corporations.” Eva, like others who have been published at Kids at Heart, also likes Shelley’s ‘down to earth’ and friendly nature.
Shelley started writing for market in 2007, though her love of writing started as a child. Her first published book was “Will’s New Family”, about a Donkey, and is a picture book. Her experience with the difficulty of maneuvering through the process of publishing is what inspired her to start her own company and to help other aspiring authors.
Wayne County is home to many talented authors, and Shelley felt that there was a need for a local publishing company to support the growing talents of so many. Shelley also has authors in five other states including Texas, Florida, Montana, and Michigan, meeting most of the authors at festivals and by word of mouth.
Davis has many ideas for adding supportive elements to her publishing company for the authors including a monthly book club for grandparents, and is very proud that the “Library of Congress,” added her company to their cataloging process.
Kids At Heart Publishing, LLC is a full publishing house offering copyrights, online retail sales and much more. Titles include children’s books, fantasy, science fiction, mysteries and historical fiction.
For more information on Kids at Heart publishing company:
Karole Passmore is a freelance writer who enjoys writing articles and short stories, interviewing local people, and researching non-fiction subject matter– preferably historical. Graduate of RHS, Ivy Tech Richmond, and Earlham College– with a major in History, Karole has spent most of her life in Wayne County and enjoys the quaint atmosphere of a small town.
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