A local author who is now a regular contributor to the Chicken Soup for the Soul franchise of books is on a book-signing tour, ending Sept. 29 at the Coles bookstore in the Downtown Chatham Centre.
Born and raised in Chatham, non-fiction writer Darin Cook writes charming and engaging stories of his real-life experiences, including how he met his wife Jennifer – in a Windsor bookstore.
Cook, who went away to attend university, returned to Chatham seven years ago with Jennifer and his two boys, Ethan and Jonah, and now uses both his degrees, English and business, to write procedure manuals for Union Gas.
“Once I had kids, the wife and I moved back to settle here and raise the kids,” Cook said. “There was a lot of good memories in Chatham. I was raised here so I’m hoping to do the same for my kids.”
The author also does writing for area magazines, including a regular column he had in CK Kids magazine called Dad Around Town, and a food magazine in London.
Catching the eye of editors at Chicken Soup, Cook said he previously sent a submission in that wasn’t accepted, but he now has stories in two books that came out this summer and a third expected in October for the Christmas season.
In the book The Miracle of Love – 101 Stories about Hope, Soul Mates and New Beginnings, Cook wrote a sweet and “aww”-inspiring story about meeting Jennifer when they both worked at the Coles book store in Windsor, where, appropriately, he is signing books on his tour Sept. 15 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Over a shared love of books, the couple “found love between the stacks” and are still going strong after 14 years.
“It was a story I always had ready and this book came along about love stories and relationships, and you know what, I have a perfect story for that,” Cook noted. “I always kind of have stuff in the background I’m working on, and then if I find a place where it will fit in, I send it in.”
Cook said being able to go back to the Coles bookstore at the Devonshire Mall in Windsor where it all started is a special event for he and his wife.
“One of the really cool things about this one is I’m going to the bookstore that I talk about in the story,” Cook explained. “That will be really cool for me and her, but probably not everyone else.”
The other book Cook will be signing is The Power of Yes – 101 Stories about Adventure, Change and Positive Thinking. In it, Cook talks about meeting an athlete he admired that encouraged him to conquer a long-time fear of roller coasters. With humour and a relaxed writing style, it’s not surprising his stories were chosen for the inspirational and feel-good books Chicken Soup continues to publish.
When it comes to his inspiration for writing, Cook said he draws from his own experiences and observations.
“Most of my stuff is non-fiction or personal stuff. I can’t say I’ve had anything fictional published. For Eat, Drink magazine I do book reviews,” he said.
Cook’s book-signing tour started Sept. 9 in London and he will be available at the Coles in the Devonshire Mall on Sept. 15 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. and the Coles in Chatham on Sept. 29 from noon to 4 p.m.