Paul Clark is a corporal with the Durham Police Department, UNC graduate, father and a children’s book writer. Assistant City Editor Erin Kolstad talked with Clark about his new book, “Nibbles the Squirrel Explores Chapel Hill."
Clark will have a reading of his book at the Chapel Hill Public Library at 10:30 a.m. Aug. 29.
The Daily Tar Heel: What was the inspiration for ”Nibbles the Squirrel Explores Chapel Hill”?
Paul Clark: I read to my kids a lot. Something I noticed when I was reading to them was a lot of books were elaborate and used either aliens or monsters going to far off planets, which I thoroughly encourage. Imagination is the best thing you can do, but my kids couldn’t relate to anything. I wanted to do something that had landmarks they can recognize and get excited about when we go out in the community.
DTH: How did you come to write children’s books?
Clark: I just thought it would be fun. As a police officer, we train our guys to come up with outlets so law enforcement is not everything that defines you. Art, lawn care, building things. I do all those things, but I wanted to do something that I could look back on with my kids and they could get excited about it.
I knew I wanted to do some illustrations, but I didn’t want to do full-page illustrations. So that is why I do a blend of photography and illustrations in the books.
I’ve also written in the past. I wrote a screenplay a few years back that did all right. It was a finalist in the Charleston International Film Festival. I don’t have as much free time to write an entire screenplay anymore with three boys under the age of 4. This is something that I could do while being with my kids because all the places in the books are places we go together.
DTH: Your first book, ”Nibbles the Squirrel Explores Durham,” is based in Durham — why are you doing one in Chapel Hill now?