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Book Giveaway: Ben And The Geocache Treasure

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Let It’s Not About The Numbers tell you the story of how first-time author Heathor Gregory wrote her just-released children’s book Ben And The Geocache Treasure

“It’s all Indiana Jones’ fault,” says new author Heather Gregory.

Without the movie franchise about the world’s ultimate treasure hunter, this mother and public school art teacher from South Carolina would never have penned her children’s book Ben And The Geocache Treasure.

“Several years ago, my son Ben was a huge fan,” she says. “We rented the old Indiana Jones movies and took him to see Kingdom of the Crystal Skull when it was released. At the same time, my mother mentioned that the Physical Education Department at the local university was offering a class on geocaching, and it sounded like something my son might enjoy doing.”

Gregory contacted the professor responsible – a geocacher known as tmouse – who offered to meet the family at a nearby park that Saturday to show them the basics. “She brought a handheld GPS unit, some printouts of the geocaches there, and taught us what to do. That first trip, my son found four caches and he was totally hooked. Our GC handle GregoryGang was born.”

Accompanying the group on that expedition was a journalist from a local community newspaper who “ended up writing a great geocaching article” featuring Gregory’s son.

“Because we were ‘famous’, Ben and I were invited to share the experience with his former preschool class and tell them about geocaching. I began looking for a book to help explain geocaching to the young crowd, but all I could find were boring ‘how-to’ books for grown-ups. There was nothing fun to read to children, so I decided to write something myself.

“Necessity was the mother of my creation. I was not a professional writer but I had written a number of ‘stories’ for use in my own classroom. Having taught art fulltime in public schools for 17 years, I knew the audience of five to 12-year-olds really well. I spend all day, every day with kids. I understand how they think and I knew that the lure of hunting for real treasure would be a perfect hook.

“As a teacher and a mom, I had also read thousands of childrens’ books myself and I had a pretty good idea of what made a catchy story. I knew what I needed to communicate to the kids and I knew that a fiction-ish book was the best method, but I also wanted to include enough real geocaching information to make the book useful as an instructional tool.”

Her working title was Ben And the Geocache, with the seven-year-old main character based directly on her son – “name and all”. Within the book’s 28 pages, “Ben learns about the exciting world of geocaching and also discovers that adventure, treasure and secrets don’t have to be fictional”.

“In fact, illustrator Jeff Elliott worked directly from photographs of my Ben in his drawings. The circumstances that create the plot within the story are fictional, but all of the characters are based on my family. I wanted to make the story ‘real’, include important geocaching terms, and I also couldn’t pass on the opportunity to throw in a good life lesson about honesty.”

Pleased with her efforts and confident “the geocaching world really needed something like this”, Gregory decided to pursue getting the book printed and quickly found a willing partner in Tate Publishing. “Tate was the first publisher I approached with my manuscript and they offered me a contract within two weeks of my submission. That was last year and I’ve been busy with edits, more edits, consultations etc ever since.”

But the first-time author says getting published has been a real learning curve. “At first, I was a bit disappointed that I was not going to be able to illustrate the story myself, but after seeing everything that goes into the work, I am so grateful to Jeff for the wonderful art he created. I truly could not have handled that job myself this time around, though I am looking forward to trying my hand at illustration in the future.”

In the meantime, she has a lot on her plate. First there’s the book’s official launch on October 4th – “It is currently for sale through Tate Publishing’s website for NZ$12 or US$9.99 (paperback) but will be available more widely after the release date.” – followed by appearance at GC2G6QR GeocoinFest US 2011 in her hometown of Rock Hill 10 days later.

Not to mention maintaining a personal website to tell readers “more about me and my life”. “The real Ben has a corner of that site for his video blogs and antics.”

She’s also working on another childrens’ book about geocaching so “if Ben And The Geocache Treasure is received well, then expect to see more from me in the near future”.

*To enter our competition to win an eBook version of Heather Gregory’s Ben And The Geocache Treasure  (worth NZ$7 or US$5.99), tell us the name of her publishers in the form below by 12pm on Friday, August 26th. Normal INATN giveaway terms and conditions apply.

3 comments

  1. Andrew

    How cool! My son, Ben, is 7 as well. And he is my little geocaching buddy. I’m going to pick up a copy of this book for him for sure.

    1. Heather Gregory

      Thanks for the support, Andrew! My Ben hopes your Ben enjoys the book and uses it to share his love of geocaching with others!

  2. Carolynn Langley on Facebook

    always handy to have a little person when you go caching lol!

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