The Southwest Booster

Southwest author releases new children’s book through own publishing house


The latest children’s book by southwest Saskatchew­an author Tekeyla Friday is released under the banner of her own publishing house.

The chapter book Prince Prickly Spine for young readers aged 6-9 is available through Tekeyla Friday Studios Publishing.

“It was something that I really needed to do and there is always a little bit of anxiety around things when you invest in your own work,” she said.

This is the latest step on her writing journey that began over a decade ago when her first two stories for children were published in REAL Canadian Kids’ Magazine. She released her debut chapter book in 2014.

“I write because I really enjoy it and I enjoy telling stories to children,” she said. “I enjoy encouragin­g them to read and to strengthen their literacy skills.”

Her new book takes readers to a different realm, where Prince Evert neglects his royal duties due to an obsession with technologi­cal devices. His apartment begins to smell, because he neglects to bath, and there is a huge pile of unwashed clothes.

His mother, Queen Jeanine, decides to take all his devices away and she sends him on a quest to rescue a princess from a dragon. The prince is accidental­ly turned into a porcupine by his clumsy fairy godmother, but he still needs to continue the journey.

The references to modern technology and its influence on the prince adds an unusual twist to this fairy tale. It is inspired by Friday’s interest in creating stories to promote literacy in combinatio­n with learning about science, technology, robotics, engineerin­g, art and mathematic­s.

“My biggest challenge in writing it was to keep it simple enough that it reaches my target audience, ages six to nine,” she said. “They are just learning to read and sometimes they may need a more simplified language or even have a definition in the book to give them an idea of what that word means.”

She has been a member of the Prairie Quills Writers’ Group in Swift Current since 2005. She credits group members for providing constructi­ve feedback on her writing and she will also use a profession­al editor to assist with various details of a manuscript.

“From where I started to where I am now, I feel that I have evolved quite a bit,” she said. “I’m still probably in the emerging writer stage, which for some of us takes a long time opposed to the polished profession­al.”

The illustrati­ons in the book are black and white, which will give young readers an option to colour them. They were created by James Warwood, a writer and illustrato­r who lives in Great Britain. Friday became aware of his work through Reedsy, a website for authors and publishing profession­als.

“He had samples of his illustrati­ons and I thought these are very whimsical,” she recalled. “I contacted him and asked if he’d be interested in drawing for me. … He was happy to do the illustrati­ons for me and he added a lot of humorous pieces to the illustrati­ons.”

She actually wrote Prince Prickly Spine in 2019 and it was accepted for publicatio­n by a publishing house in the United States, but the company did not survive the COVID-19 pandemic.

This experience became an important part of her motivation to create her own publishing house.

“I felt disappoint­ed and there was this gnawing inside of me to get the Prince Prickly Spine book into the hands of kids,” she said. “This particular book had already been worked with an editor, and had a lot of crafting put into it. I thought this was the first book I would do.”

It took her a while to work out all the details of starting a publishing house, including saving sufficient funds to do it and developing a conceptual framework.

She decided to focus on the publicatio­n of books and graphic novels for children and young adults that will promote literacy and learning about science, technology, robotics, engineerin­g, arts and mathematic­s. It will make it possible to publish her own works as well as those of other writers.

“It leaves me open to being able to accept and help others who have manuscript­s that would fit my ideal criteria,” she said.

Her new book is set to become the first in a Prince Prickly Spine series. She has already completed the story for the second book, but the illustrati­ons still need to be done, and she already began writing the third story in this series.

She is currently revising the details of another chapter book for young readers and she has written several chapters of a juvenile novel. Another project under way is a children’s picture book for which she is using her skills as a claymation artist to create visual images.

“So it’s quite the ventures that I’m on,” she said. “It is something that I enjoy doing a lot and anything creative is really good for mental health. … I always have a journal, because sometimes there’s just so many story ideas that come into my brain throughout the day that I’ll select a different journal and write the plot and the characters and everything out.”

Copies of her new chapter book Prince Prickly Spine are available in Swift Current at Pharmasave and the Swift Current Museum, as well as in Maple Creek at Cowtown Kids Toy and Candy. It can also be ordered online through her publishing website at www.tekeylafri­daystudios­

 ?? ?? Author Tekeyla Friday attended a regular City of Swift Current council meeting on Nov. 13 to read from her new children’s book Prince Prickly Spine.
Author Tekeyla Friday attended a regular City of Swift Current council meeting on Nov. 13 to read from her new children’s book Prince Prickly Spine.
 ?? ?? Author Tekeyla Friday with her new children’s book Prince Prickly Spine.
Author Tekeyla Friday with her new children’s book Prince Prickly Spine.

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