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Bears, authors and spiders, oh my!

Monday, December 6, 2010


The Putnam County Public Library will be host to a Greencastle author and illustrator this Saturday.

Troy Cummings, who grew up in Greencastle and graduated from DePauw in 1995, will be doing a reading as a part of the library's A Conversation with the Author series from 10 a.m. to noon. Cummings will be reading two children's books, one he wrote and illustrated and one he illustrated.

The book he illustrated is called "More Bears," which was written by Kenn Nesbitt and was recently released.

"It's a story about a guy who is trying to write a story with no bears, but people keep suggesting that he adds bears to it and before he knows it the book is full of bears," Nesbitt said. "There's hundreds of bears sort of crawling around and messing up the story. It's pretty funny."

The book that Cummings wrote and illustrated is called "The Eensy Weensy Spider Freaks Out (Big Time)." It's been out for four or five months, according to Cummings. It follows the famed spider that went up the water spout only to be washed out.

"She has a crisis of confidence and decides she's never going to climb again," Cummings said. "Her friend convinces her to try climbing something small and she gradually regains the ability to climb. I won't ruin the ending but you can imagine where it might go."

In addition to the reading, there will be a craft activity at the library.

Cummings said that the "Eensy Weensy Spider Freaks Out (Big Time)" is his first children's book. He said that becoming a children's book author has been a longtime goal of his.

"I think this is something I wanted to do since I was a kid myself," Cummings said. "In grade school, art school was my favorite class and writing stories was fun. I also wanted to do comics and cartooning, that kind of stuff."

Cummings said that he has been on a long path towards becoming an author illustrator by essentially doing whatever work allowed him to continue doing drawings for a living.

"I went to school at DePauw and worked on the school paper as a cartoonist, so that was sort of my first professional illustration job where you have deadlines, and I learned about graphic design and that kind of thing," Cummings said. "I worked for a bunch of newspapers after school in the art department, doing graphic design and some illustration. Then I've been doing regular editorial illustration for magazines and newspapers and websites.

"I've sort of been heading towards this until I finally got one book published," Cummings said.

Cummings said he became involved with "More Bears" when the publisher began looking for an artist for the book. He said he had minimal contact with Kenn Nesbitt while he was working on the book.

"There wasn't any interaction," Cummings said. "He had already finished the manuscript, it was edited and done and they shop around find the illustrator. I don't know why that is. Maybe that was just with him because he does a ton of different things.

"I don't know how much say he had," Cummings said. "He may have been looking at some of the illustrations and giving feedback, but most of it came through the editor."

Cummings said that he's working to get more books published.

"I've got four or five (manuscripts) floating around now that I'm waiting to hear back on. I'm just going to keep working on them until someone buys one and that'll be the next one I do."

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Congratulations, Troy! What an accomplishment!

-- Posted by JenniferSR on Tue, Dec 7, 2010, at 6:49 PM

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