After 16 long months of working together on their new book "My Grandparent: A Life and Times Journal for Grandchildren of All Ages,” Dick Edwards, of Menomonie, and Korrin Hawkins, of Roberts, have finally been able to get the word out about their latest work.
However, the book might never have been written without a chance conversation Edwards had with Hawkins’ husband, co-owner of the River Valley Ford dealership in Baldwin, Corey Hawkins, while filling out paperwork after purchasing a new car.
“[The book] was an idea that I had had for several years,” Edwards said. “As odd things happen, in the spring of 2012 I went to River Valley Ford to buy a car and I was in the office of the co-owner doing the paper and I saw a picture of his family so we started to talk about them.
“During the conversation, he told me his wife had written some children’s books and was interested in pursuing book writing as her career. So, I said, ‘Hey, I’ve got this idea for a book, but I’m kind of lazy and I think I need a partner to kind of drag me along.’”
Soon after that conversation, Hawkins and Edwards began meeting to discuss how to tackle the new book they wanted to get published. The two met at coffee houses, libraries and each other’s houses throughout the book-writing process and published the book on Sept. 7, through a partnership with Amber Skye Publishing of Eagan, Minn.
“You can tell from Korrin’s background and my background, that family is really important to us,” Edwards said. “Because of that, we think that it is important to find ways for families to capture their family history, including their values and stories.
This book is for that purpose; to help families gather information from that generation of family that isn’t going to be around much longer.”
“My Grandparent” deals with the relationship between the grandparent and the grandchild as well as giving the family a way to capture the grandparent’s life story in journal form and preserve it for future generations.
“There isn’t an easy way to put this, but when grandma or grandpa dies, if you haven’t captured their history and stories, they are gone,” Edwards said. “The book is a journaling tool that is very flexible and can be done over a period of time. The grandchild invites the grandparent to engage in this process and that in itself strengthens the grandparent/ grandchild bond and the process produces a family heirloom.”
Before joining up with Hawkins, Edwards, a retired Mayo Clinic Eldercare Specialist wrote the highly acclaimed book, “Mom, Dad...Can We Talk?” along with Mike Ransom and Ruth Weispfenning. On the other end of the spectrum, Hawkins, who’s mostly written children’s books, has published four other books of her own, including “Someone Above You Loves You” and “Thanks God, I Love You.”
“Before this book, I had written four other children’s books, but I have been trying to build some momentum to get my career off and running,” Hawkins said. “So I was overjoyed to have somebody want to partner with me and write a book. This book is a lot different than the books I normally write, but I definitely write heart-based books and this one is in that same category.”
Initially, the pair thought the book was a children’s book, but over time, they began to realize that grandchildren can be of all ages.
“There was a moment when we said, ‘Hey, wait a minute. Thirty-year-olds have grandparents and so do 40-year-olds, so let’s make this for grandchildren of all ages,” Edwards said. “Doing that does a couple of things. It acknowledges that anyone can have a grandparent and it acknowledges that there is a bigger market out there from a business perspective.”
The book features four sections, which incorporate all the different parts of the grandparent’s life and puts them together in an easy to follow format. The four sections include the grandparents’ growing-up years, their work life/family life, their grandparenting/retirement years and a section about looking back at their past as well as looking into their future.
“We tried to make it all encompassing to capture as much of the grandparents’ life up until that date,” Hawkins said. “There is a chance to talk about some lighter, funner topics and then there are some deeper ones as well.”
Hawkins just started going through the book with her son and his grandmother and she has enjoyed learning about her mother’s life -- including a few tidbits she never knew before -- just as much as her son.
“We weren’t sure if this was going to be his deal, but we wanted him to do it,” Hawkins said. “He was pumped to do it and even came up with his own questions right off the bat. It was sweet to see the two of them interacting.”
The book is 102 pages and comes in a paperback format. It is available at MyGrandparentJournal.com or Amazon.com and can be ordered at any local bookseller.