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There’s a long list of rockers who, after becoming parents, turned to penning children’s books—from David Bowie, Madonna, and Paul McCartney, to Courtney Love and the Decemberists’ Colin Meloy.
But, in the case of Coy Bowles—the multi-instrumentalist road dog in Zac Brown Band—his side gig as a children’s book author started well before he became a dad. Bowles debuted his writing career in 2012 with his first story, “Amy Giggles,” about a girl with a singular and infectious laugh.
In April 2016, he followed that up with “Will Powers,” which is about the power of perseverance. And in January, Bowles—who welcomed his first child, a baby girl, in October 2016—released his third book, “When You’re Feeling Sick,” from Doubleday Books.
In a way, it’s the publishing equivalent of a major-label debut. Of course, he’s no stranger to success: With Zac Brown Band, he’s been crisscrossing the country since 2008, spending summers on the road playing headlining gigs and festival dates.
To commemorate the launch of “When You’re Feeling Sick” back in January, we sat down with the ever-talented musician and author to get his thoughts on what it’s like to write for those who are knee-high.
Where’d The Idea For “When You’re Feeling Sick” Originate?
“I wrote it while sitting in a hospital. It comes from a very real place. My mother was in the hospital for about a month. It was a long, scary time. I used writing this book as a way to keep me positive.”
Are There Any Similarities Between Writing Songs And Short Stories?
“Yeah, I would say so. Understanding rhyme structure—and things of that nature that are the center of writing songs—come in very handy when writing stories.”
How Much Input Did You Have On The Illustration Style?
“I purposely didn’t talk to the illustrator, Andy Elkerton, before or while working on the book. I wanted him to be free to do his thing without me influencing him. It really worked, in my opinion. He would send images and I’d give notes and comments.”
Any Thoughts On Eventually Writing Pieces For Grown-Ups?
“I think, on the whole, writing for kids is the first step to ultimately writing longer and deeper stories [for adults].”
What’s Harder: Entertaining Adults Or Entertaining Kids?
“Truth be told, I’d kind of much rather hang out with the kids at events! I’m not much for small talk and with kids, it’s always fun.”
Aaaaaand On The Off-Chance I Can Break Any Music News, What’s New With The Band This Year?
“I have a new record coming out with my band, Coy Bowles and The Fellowship, called ‘Tiger Pride.’ And the Zac Brown Band has a new record coming out very soon. Gonna be a good year for music.”