Local manager is also published author
His passion for the process came when an English teacher in high school, one he called “hardnosed”, complimented him on a 2,000-word essay.
“She said she was really impressed with my writing skills,” Harris said. “That just stayed with me all this time.”
It wasn’t until 2004 when the 46-year-old finally decided, with heavy encouragement from his wife, to fulfill his dream and write a book.
After two years, his work paid off and in December 2006 his children’s book “The Boy, the Frog Princess, the Bear Fairy, Oh, and an Ostrich Named Oscar” was published in paperback. The process was tedious to Harris.
“Seeing the process from the rough draft to the editing and then their editing, the illustrations, to see it all put together was indescribable,” Harris said.
The book was sent back to him a few times to edit and Harris said at one point the publishing company sounded like they might drop the project.
“They really liked the story so they decided to send it to their own editors,” he said.
The 180-page book places the main character, Billy, in a fantasy land known as MOTTT after being drawn through a strange painting his father bought at an estate sale. In his attempt to get back home, Billy encounters several strange characters including a frog princess, bear fairies and an ostrich named Oscar.
MOTTT is the initials of his four older children from his first marriage and his four-year-old son with wife Melinda. MOTTT is for his children Marcus, Olivia, Travis, Trevor and Trent.
He and Melinda also have a three-year-old boy and an 11- month-old girl.
Believe it or not, Harris said that the title for the book came before the actual story. He said that he just knew that he wanted to write the book, the process just started a little differently for him. However, the reward was well worth it.
“I don’t know how to put it into words,” Harris said of the feeling he felt when his book was actually printed. “It was very exciting to see all the work in print. It is a great thing.”
The book is meant for school children and most eight-year-olds and up could read it themselves, but Harris was looking for more than that with his book.
“I wanted it to be something that parents can read to their children,” he said.
The 46-year-old has a day job as store manager of Rockdale’s Walmart Supercenter, but in his spare time, family and writing keep him just as busy.
Reading to children, especially his, is a passion for Harris as well. He recently volunteered to read some of his book to a class at Rockdale Elementary during their National Parent Involvement Day.
“I like reading to my children. Now TV has its place. I like watching TV,” Harris said. “But reading helps promote the imagination in our children and it creates family time.”
Harris, who has only been in the Rockdale area just over a year, has donated copies of the book to the Lucy Hill Patterson Library and the Rockdale Elementary School Library.
The book is available on many popular book websites like Amazon. com and Waldenbooks.
The author was born in Oklahoma City, but was raised in Seminole, Okla. His mother, who still lives in Oklahoma donated a copy of Harris’ book to his alma mater’s library once it was published.
“I think my English teacher, who had passed before the book came out, would have liked it.”
Harris’ writing days aren’t done. He is currently working on another children’s book and also an adult Christian book.