Perryville Public Works director Mark Brown recently introduced the world to a furry friend named Hedley with the release of his children’s book Hedley Outsmarts the World on Nov. 21.
Hedley is a charming and inquisitive golden tabby cat. His thoughtful perspective of the world leads him on a quest for answers to the mysteries cats face in their everyday lives, including the unknown secrets of the litter box.
In order to give the book a unique style that will appeal to both children and adults, Brown wrote from a cat’s point of view, bringing readers into the minds of felines.
“The logic from their perspective is what I really thought makes it interesting,” Brown said. “I think the adult’s side of the book, it’s like a Dr. Seuss thing, is that you can see it from a children’s perspective as a really fun story, but then as an adult, you think, ‘Wow, that all could be true.’ ”
He plans to continue with Hedley and make his adventures span over a series of books. Brown already has the outlines for another four or five books written and is ready to bring them to life.
He is starting plans to do weekly cartoons and posts online. He has an Instagram set up for this already. It will include cartoons and posts with Brown’s thoughts about his own cats and their adventures in daily life. These posts will be written through the eyes of a cat, just like the book.
There is also a music video on YouTube to accompany the book. The song playing in the video is called “Live What You Want,” which Brown and his daughter wrote several years ago.
“It’s got illustrations in it and the lyrics, and it’s kind of a fun little song,” Brown said. “It’s sort of Hedley’s outlook on life, and it just all fits together,” Brown said. “I think it’s an awesome song, and it just kind of completes the circle.”
The video can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9M7As_MG2-E.
Brown has been writing since the age of 14 or 15 and credits his past experiences and moments of inspiration with the ability to write and publish Hedley Outsmarts the World.
“I’m a writer naturally, and I’ve written a bunch of books and over 2,000 songs, so I write all the time,” Brown said. “I’ve had cats all my life and my family has had cats for forever, and so it just got to be about looking at the world through a cat’s eyes and trying to think about what they think about. … Inspiration just comes out of nowhere. It just happens, and I never question it. … I’m just happy that it happens.”
From the time he created Hedley, Brown has had a mental image of what he would look like on the page. When it came time to find an illustrator, Brown looked at over 50 of them online and closely studied their styles. After careful consideration, he decided on Ros Webb.
Webb is an Irish watercolor illustrator and graduate of the London School of Art who has illustrated hundreds of children’s books.
“From the time I saw her work, she was the one,” Brown said. “… Her watercolors are amazing. I’m really really proud of her, and I think her pictures make the book jump out to you.”
Brown self published the book through Kindle and Amazon, and it is now available for purchase. While this book is finished, Brown plans to make sure that this is not the last readers hear of Hedley and his adventures.