When local author William Roller moved to Greenfield two decades ago, one of his first projects dealt with figures in Greenfield’s history, and his fifth children’s book will bring some of the village’s characters of old to life.
On Nov. 14, Roller will launch the book and he welcomes the community to sample some of what local vendors have to offer, see all of his authored collection, and visit with Santa.
“Old Time Christmas Story” is Roller’s fifth title, he said, and is about a boy named Johnny “who sets out to build the best snowman the town has ever seen.”
The story is set in Greenfield around 1915, Roller said, and will include historical figures such as Franklin Patterson, John Waddell, Edward Lee McClain, and Frank Raymond Harris.
“Of course, the book takes artistic liberty when it comes to certain things, but on the whole it will give Greenfield’s youth a glimpse of a handful of Greenfield’s giants, as well as display the creativity of a young boy and his pride for his town,” Roller said.
He said when he first moved to Greenfield in 1995, he was asked to illustrate a book on the history of the town. Roller said in working on it he “became very interested in the history of this small town and all its unique stories and characters. With Christmas coming up, I just felt in my heart I needed to do a book that encapsulated that feeling of majesty and wonder. Then I coupled that with my love of history,” he said.
Roller touched on the fact that Greenfield once thrived and that working within its borders “were some major players” in industry during that time period. Drawing on that, Roller said he “wanted to paint the picture of a young man who loved his town and looked up to” its leaders.
Roller will release his book during an event on Nov. 14 beginning at 12:30 p.m. at the meeting room at Greenfield’s Southern Hills Community Bank.
Santa will visit from 2-4 p.m. and there will be homemade baked goods and noodles for sale. Also up for purchase will be prints of various antique postcards of Greenfield. All of Roller’s previous titles will also be available.
His first book, “David and the Crocodile” was published in 2010 and is a story about appreciating what you have. The second book, “Butterflies Don’t Wear Makeup,” was published in 2011 and is about self-acceptance. The next book, “Tales From Canis Terra,” came in 2014 and is a story about friendship. Earlier this year “The Spider Who Ate Too Much Birthday Cake” was published, and contains elements of friendship, good will, and good manners, according to the author.
The illustrations in the books have been done by Roller, who is also responsible for the design and layout of each book.
As to why Roller prefers the genre of children’s books, he told the Times-Gazette last year upon releasing his third book, “Why not.”
“Honestly, I’m a big kid at heart,” he said. “I’ve never forgotten the feeling I had when I read ‘The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe’ in third grade… or ‘James and the Giant Peach’ or when I saw the illustrations in ‘Jumanji’ or ‘Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters.’ There is something captivating about the world of children’s literature that suits me. I want to give that feeling I had as a child of seeing, reading, or being read to something that transports me away from this world and into another more fantastic one,” Roller said.
Roller hinted that there is more to come, maybe even in time for baseball season.
For more information or to contact Roller, email him at [email protected] or wrote to P.O. Box 402, Greenfield, Ohio 45123.
Reach Angela Shepherd at 937-393-3456, ext. 1681, or on Twitter @wordyshepherd.