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Shane Peacock

(Book Launch)

Gary

by Festival Nomad, Gary McWilliams
"
Death in the Air"

The Great Farini

Several years ago I was involved with the development of a new festival in the Town of Port Hope. The festival was going to feature one of Port Hope’s most famous and intriguing residents, William Leonard Hunt, or as he preferred to be known, The Great Farini! Farini was a larger than life character who lived and prospered during the 1800’s and died, at the age of 90 on January 17th, 1929. He was, perhaps, best known for his high wire battles with Blondin “the Magnificent” over the Niagara gorge, but his true fame came later in life as an inventor, business man and adventurer. It was during the development stage of our “Farini Festival” that I met author Shane Peacock. Shane is an expert on Farini and wrote a wonderful book entitled “The Great Farini – The Hire-Wire Life of William Hunt”. The book is about Farini’s life and is a must read for any one interested in famous Canadians! I believe the book can be purchased at any of the major book stores. Over the years I have kept in touch with Shane and was intrigued when he told me he was writing a series of children’s novels featuring Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s “Sherlock Holmes” as a boy! I hadn’t heard from Shane for several months, when I received an e-mail announcing that he had published the first “The Boy Sherlock Holmes” book, “Eye of the Crow” and was holding a book launch and reading. I quickly e-mailed back that Judi and I would attend. Imagine our disappointment when the event had to be cancelled due to the “Great Snow Storm”. I had just about forgotten about my disappointment when I received another e-mail. This time it was from the Cobourg Public Library who were hosting the launch of Shane’s second “The Boy Sherlock Holmes” book, “Death in the Air”. Once again we quickly replied – yes, we would attend”! Fortunately, this time, there would be no problem with snow storms! The book launch was to start at 2:00 pm. Judi and I left our home with plenty of time to spare and arrived early for the event. The “Meet at 66 King East” Café was already filling with Peacock enthusiasts, both young and old!

The Launch…

“Meet at 66 King East” was all set up for Shane’s book launch. The café has two rooms, the café itself and a large open meeting room. The book launch was going to take place in the meeting room. The café owners had prepared and set out tantalizing sweets to munch on and tasty punch to drink. I had a chance to meet one of the cafe owners, Edward Cannington, who also, with his wife owns the Dairy Dream ice cream shop located next door. He told me a little about the cafe and how it started. Everyone was asked to wait in the café while the meeting room was being prepared. A young violinist was playing softly at the back of the café. Before taking some treats and punch I went searching for Shane who was talking with friends and family in the meeting room. He broke away and welcomed me to the event. We talked for a few moments about our mutual interest, Farini, and I then left so Shane could go back to his friends. I went back to the café and found Judi at one of the tables. She had a plate of sweets and a glass of punch waiting for me. We sat quietly at our table listening to the wonderful violin music. As we sat there, more and more people entered the café to participate in the launching of the book. Finally the time had come to start Shane’s presentation and we were all asked to find a seat in the meeting room. The back of the room had been set up with a display of Shane’s books (past and present) and included, of course, Shane’s newest “The Boy Sherlock Holmes” books. A local book seller, Wendy Sharko, owner of the Avid Reader, was there to answer questions and sell Shane’s books. Everyone took their seats, adults and children alike, and patiently waited for Shane’s presentation. Beth Kolisnyk of the Cobourg Public Library stepped up to the podium. The audience became quiet. The book launch was about to begin…

The Boy Sherlock Holmes

Beth welcomed everyone to the book launch on behalf of the library and Shane and then brought children’s author Linda Hutsell-Manning (“Jason and the Wonderhorn”) to the podium to introduce author Shane Peacock and his book series. Linda talked about Shane and his background in becoming a writer. Then it was Shane’s turn. Shane is the consummate story teller and his explanation of how he decided to write a series about Sherlock Holmes as a boy is a story in itself! Basically, Shane had decided to write a story about a boy detective. The story would be set in the 1800’s and take place in England. The book would also contain all those macabre characters that Shane loves so much! Somewhere during this process, it was suggested to Shane that the boy in his book was the boy Sherlock Holmes! At first Shane wasn’t sure, but as time moved on the idea grew in his mind until it became a reality. Additionally a single book became a series of 4 and perhaps more! The wonderful thing about Shane is his passion to tell his stories. This occurs not only in his written words but also when he is reading passages from his books. As Shane was reading from one of his books, Judi turned to me and whispered that Shane should make his books into audio books and do the reading (acting) himself! He has written a number of plays, so perhaps the actor in him is coming out! I know if he produced an audio book, I’d buy it. The meticulous attention to detail and research in all of Shane’s books is apparent when you sit down to read one. Going to a book launch and reading was a new experience for us and one that we will definitely repeat. In the vein, The Word On The Street Festival  takes place in Toronto in September and Judi and I plan on being there and I think Shane will be there too. Congratulations Shane on your new book and series and thanks for the invitation. NOTE: If you would like to learn more about author Shane Peacock or his "The Boy Sherlock Holmes" series you can go to Shane's own website, http://www.shanepeacock.ca/ or you can go to http://www.theboysherlockholmes.com/. His book, The Great Farini, can be purchased a Chapters (Website: http://www.chapters.indigo.ca).

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