RIGBY – T.R. King of Rigby loves using the art of storytelling to teach her kids important life lessons. Many of those stories now appear in a series of children’s books.
“Samson the Sock Monster” is the first title she published in 2015. It’s the first in a series of stories, of which there are currently five.
King tells EastIdahoNews.com her journey as an author started with a conversation she had with her then 4-and-a-half-year-old son about keeping track of his socks.
“We lived in this tiny little house (in Montana) and he had this tiny little room. He’s not a kid who sleeps with socks on, but after pre-school, he went in there and went to sleep and when I came in, he only had one sock on,” King says.
They looked everywhere and couldn’t find it and this really bothered King because she likes things organized and “hates missing pieces.”
“I told him, ‘You must have a sock monster.’ He was like, ‘What’s a sock monster?’ So we started coming up with what a sock monster was. On the drive home, we started naming him and what he would use the socks for and how they end up behind the dryer and the role it plays in that. When the person who has a sock monster learns to put away their clothes, the sock monster no longer has anything to eat,” King explains.
The idea quickly took on a life of its own. King says it became a game she and her kids would play where they’d hide socks throughout the house to feed the sock monster. It taught them to put their socks away, she says.
The thought never occurred to her to write it all down until she spoke with her mom around this same time.
“I had just had my third kid and was sleep-deprived. I had this story running through my head of what we had talked about that day. My mom told me, ‘When your mind is consumed, you can’t sleep. Go write it down so you can sleep.’ I did and when I woke up in the morning, I thought, This is a cute little story,” says King.
The project continued to evolve into an ongoing writing project with her kids. That lead her to form connections with illustrators and eventually, an editor and publisher. King now has five sock monster books to her name with more in the works.
Though it’s a concept she created with her kids, King says the groundwork for this story was laid years earlier when she was 18. She recalls an old dryer she had at the time and every time she’d use it, a piece of clothing would end up missing.
“I kind of worked that into (the plot),” she says. “It started when I was 18 and I didn’t even realize it.”
As a stay-at-home mom, King says she’s grateful for the “witty ideas” that have allowed her to make a contribution to her family’s income and have a creative outlet for herself.
She and her family moved to Rigby in April of 2020 right as the pandemic was getting underway, which meant opportunities to sell her books in person were scarce. She appeared in the parade for the Stampede Days celebration in Rigby last month and in the Rexburg parade on July 4.
King says she’s looking forward to doing more community events now that COVID restrictions are lifting and is planning to continue writing.
“I enjoy writing. In high school, I didn’t. So to enjoy writing books is a treat,” says King. “It’s nice to obtain a new passion.”
Her latest title, “Ada Pearle’s Pet Shark,” was published in 2019. It is a standalone book for now, but she’s planning for it to be a series as well. You can follow King’s work online through her Facebook page or website. You can also visit her page on Amazon.