Growing up in a small Florida town just south of the Georgia line, Sam Burnette never aspired to be a writer.
Instead, he spent hours in the woods fishing and hunting.
Decades later, Burnette was working as a trial lawyer in downtown Macon when the adventures of a little boy named Bo’Gator became trapped in his mind.
“All of a sudden, it started rhyming, and I couldn’t get it out of my head until I wrote it down,” he said.
“Fun on the Farm: The Adventures of Bo’Gator, Brer Possum and Blue” was released in January, 11 years after he imagined the story.
Burnette said his then-5-year-old grandson, Burnette’s basset hound Beau and memories of his own childhood provided inspiration for the children’s book.
The writing came easy, he said.
“It just started to flow,” Burnette said. “It’s fun to me.”
Colorful illustrations by Barclay Burns, of Macon, depict Bo’Gator’s adventures with animals on the farm — his fight with an alligator and schemes to thwart a thieving raccoon.
Burns, who previously contributed illustrations to “Macon Sketchbook” and illustrated Christian publications, said “Fun on the Farm” is his first children’s book.
“It’s just fun for me to come up with the characters,” he said.
Burnette said getting the story published wasn’t in his mind when he sat down to write. He’d only planned to make enough copies for his grandchildren and an extra for his coffee table.
But family members and friends who read the story urged him to seek a publisher.
So far, the book has received a warm reception from adults who have bought copies for their children and grandchildren, Burnette said.
He’s sold a few hundred copies through book-signing events and word of mouth.
While the initial manuscript included 10 chapters, Burnette said the book that’s been released is only the beginning of the story. It ends with a cliffhanger: How will Bo’Gator catch Old Blue, the thieving raccoon?
If the first book does well in sales, Burnette said, he hopes the second installment will be published within the next year or so.
Burns said he’s read the book to his daughters, ages 5 and 7.
“They love it,” he said. “The fact that daddy drew it makes it even better.”
Laurie Tomlinson, Burnette’s publicist, said a book signing is scheduled for May 22 at Butterfly Kisses Children’s Clothing on Watson Boulevard in Warner Robins. Other events at bookstores are still being scheduled.
She said each copy of the book contains a code that can be redeemed online for a free mp3 download.
The book is available at bookstores and online at barnesandnoble.com and amazon.com.
To contact writer Amy Leigh Womack, call 744-4398.