Inspired by his daughter, recent addition to the lakecity community Naden Parkin is preparing to release his first self-published children’s book The Girl Who Was Brave Enough in both the lakecity and beyond.
Moving to Williams Lake just over a year ago with his wife, Angela Parkin, who is originally from here, Parkin described Williams Lake as his “Promised Land.” An active member of the community, Parkin jokes that he has FOMO, or fear of missing out, meaning he tries his hand at a lot of different things from music to game nights and hockey to slo-pitch, amongst other things.
The young professional works as a salesman for exploratory drilling equipment across Northern B.C. and Yukon and previously worked in the Alberta oil patch in Grand Prairie.
Before this children’s book, Parkin has written and self-published a book before in 2014 called A Relationship with Truth: Poem and Verse Born in the Canadian Oil Patch. A collection of poetry he wrote while working in Alberta, it gave him his first taste of publishing his work and selling his books to Chapters and Coles in Northern Alberta and Saskatchewan.
“I just do it. It’s one of those things that’s really hard to explain. I did it in high school and really liked creative writing and it’s become one of those things you’ve just got to do, I guess,” Parkin said, describing how when inspiration strikes he’ll just pull over to the side of the highway and jot something down.
Parkin said that, after he and his wife had his daughter Hadley Parkin, he began thinking of his own mortality and he felt a desire to write her a letter in the event something should happen to him. The letter morphed into a story for her and his wife, an elementary school teacher, read it and thought it could be more than just a story he’d written just for their family.
Shortly after they found themselves an illustrator in Cortney Warr who crafted a series of illustrations to go along with the story which Parkin describes as just wonderful to look at.
“Our goal was to make a beautiful family heirloom and we did 200 copies and we sold them in a month,” Parkin recalled.
The Girl Who Was Brave Enough is about a little girl who lives in an ordinary house who, one day, goes on walks with her dad. One day they see some sailors and the little girl tells her father that she’ll never be brave enough to sail the ocean to which he replies “if those sailors can be brave enough, you can be brave enough.” Likewise, he gives her the same encouragement after they see some construction workers, shipbuilders and more.
When she grows older the girl learns to sail and takes to the open ocean, only to be wrecked on a tropical island, Parkin said. While she’s afraid at first, she remembers the words of her father and uses a sailor’s bravery, a construction worker’s strength and a shipbuilder’s ingenuity to not only survive but thrive. Along the way she meets a tiger, sings with the birds and eats with some monkeys before fixing her boat and returning home.
“I guess the theme is self-growth and believing in yourself,” Parkin said. “Realizing your own potential.”
When asked how his daughter has liked the book so far Parkin said she loves it, especially because she gets to see her father’s face on the back of the book. Throughout Parkin’s interview with The Tribune, his passion and enthusiasm for the book was clear as was his love for his daughter.
Parkin is in talks with The Open Book to sell The Girl Who Was Brave Enough in Williams Lake and has already worked out deals with the Coles in Prince George where he’ll be appearing on March 21 and the Chapters in Kamloops where he’ll be on April 25. He plans to slowly expand across the province via Chapters, Coles and Indigo on the brick and mortar side of things but said lakecity readers can still order it online via nadenparkin.com or by emailing email@example.com and ordering a copy for $25. If you’re outside of Williams Lake, there will be about a $5 shipping fee, Parkin said.
“It’s just a really simple, positive story with beautiful artwork,” Parkin said, adding that he encourages other aspiring writers to consider self-publishing themselves.
“Just do it. It feels really good to get done.”