Paul Tillery IV struggled with academics during his early school years. That changed when he discovered a love of reading in the third grade. His performance and attitude improved, something he hopes to pass along to today’s new readers.
His debut children’s book, “Thundercluck!” (Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group), was born out of an award-winning animated short film. The book, aimed at ages 7 to 12, tells a bigger story.
“I wanted to tell the kind of story I would’ve loved at that age,” Tillery says. “It’s a quirky story because I was a quirky kid.”
“Thundercluck!” tells what happens when a magic mishap grants the power of thunder to a chicken, who must then face an evil chef. The tale takes place amid Norse mythology and features animals, action and comic fantasy. The chicken’s mentor, a young Brunhilde, is a Valkyrie in training. The pair’s bond was inspired by Tillery’s own relationship with his older sister, Sadie.
Tillery’s co-illustrator, Meg Wittwer, says it was that bond that appealed to her. “I wanted to be a part of something that encourages finding family in friendships, as well as showing you can find strength in those friendships.”
Tillery lives in Raleigh.
“Queen of Zazzau” (Afrocentric Books) by J.S. Emuakpor chronicles the journey of a real-life West African queen, Amina of Zazzau. During the waning of the Songhai Empire, as smaller kingdoms rise to prominence and with foreign invasion imminent, Amina must defend her people. Fiercely determined, she journeys to the spirit world and tracks down the God of War in an effort to defy the prophesy.
Emuakpor, who lives in Apex, was born and raised in West Africa.
Durham’s Henry Addison Jr. shares the hardships and joy of growing up in rural North Carolina during the 1940s and 1950s in his novel, “Memories of a Good and Simple Life” (lulu.com). Despite the challenges of living with an alcoholic father, the author tells of a boy’s love of life and its many adventures and follows him to adulthood with a glimpse of corporate life.
Triangle-area authors: We want to hear about your new book. Send information to firstname.lastname@example.org. As space permits, we will mention self-published books by local authors that are for sale on commercial sites.