Clyde Edgerton is a North Carolina writer and professor at UNC-Wilmington whose new book, “Papadaddy’s Book For New Fathers: Advice to Dads of All Ages,” addresses the rewards and complications of fatherhood.
Before Edgerton’s book signing at Flyleaf Books Sunday, staff writer James Butler talked to Edgerton about
DAILY TAR HEEL: Why did you choose fatherhood as the topic for your book?
Clyde Edgerton: It started off as an essay. A friend of mine had just had his first kid and went online on Google and put in “fatherhood.” And the answer was “Do you mean motherhood?” So he decided then to ask a bunch of friends who were fathers to contribute to a book. So he asked me, and when I sat down to figure out how to write it at first I was really serious about it. It was really hard to be giving advice.
But then I started thinking about all the funny things in it, all the strange things that happen when you have children. So I started getting a lot of ideas and I asked my publisher if they would let me stretch it into a book and they said yes.
DTH: How much of the inspiration came from your own experiences as a father?
CE: All of it, practically. I had enough experience with four different children over a long span of years to fill a book. Most of the books that you grab about parenting are catered to mothers. When I first started writing, I was aware of mothers getting a lot of advice and fathers getting less advice. I remembered being really apprehensive about being a father, but now, after having gone through it four times, I’m much less apprehensive and hope to help new fathers feel less apprehensive about it.
DTH: What challenges did you face while writing the book?
CE: One of the main challenges was trying to give advice and be serious because my experience is so different from so many other people’s. A number of the fatherhood books seem to have clear answers about how to raise a kid — ‘If you do A, then do B, you’ll get C.’ But I am less confident about a technique or a system that works. So my biggest challenge was trying not to seem overbearing or prescriptive.
DTH: How has your family reacted to the book?
CE: Well, I found my 10-year-old son reading the book and laughing, so that made me feel pretty good. And my seven-year-old came out of her bedroom holding the book, so that’s been good.
DTH: Are you working on any other projects for the future?
CE: I’m working on a novel, and I’m working on a project about a hog hunt. I went on a hog hunt in south Georgia not that long ago and I’m trying to write that up from the point of view of the hog.
When I started to write it up the point of view that kept coming back to me was that of the hog.
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