Written by Betsy Abraham, email@example.com Thursday, 01 August 2013 00:00
What’s in your couch cushions? Spare change? Forgotten toys? The other matching sock? What if the things you found deep down within the couch had the power to change the course of history? That’s the fantastical idea behind Bethpage resident, Henry Clark’s debut young adult novel, What We Found in the Sofa and How It Saved the World.
The book centers on three 12-year-old children who find a discarded sofa on the side of the road near their bus stop. As they begin to search between the cushions, they find a zucchini colored crayon, a double six domino, a mysterious coin, and a fishhook. These seemingly commonplace items soon thrust the friends into an adventure as they try to thwart an evil mastermind’s plan to conquer the world.
“It’s the kind of book I enjoyed back when I was 12 years old,” Clark says. “I’ve always liked stories that start in a very normal situation and then totally spin into directions you never expected.”
Clark has always had a penchant for crazy stories. As a young boy growing up in Connecticut and later Bethpage, he loved writing anecdotes of kids having wacky adventures. He was an avid reader and would ride his bicycle around the neighborhood while simultaneously reading books such as The Hardy Boys and Tom Swift.
He stopped writing in middle school, and worked for Old Bethpage Village Restoration as a supervisor for 30 years, writing intermittently for science fiction magazines and MAD magazine. In 2011, he started writing longer manuscripts aimed for adult audiences. However, the eight manuscripts he wrote never garnered any interest from literary agents.
One day, he was driving around in Suffolk County when he saw a sofa sitting on a curb. He had recently read an article about a big coal seam fire in Pennsylvania and began to wonder what would happen if the sofa had been sitting close to the edge of the underground perpetually burning fire. This sparked the idea for his children’s novel.
Clark initially sent the manuscript out to five literary agents and unlike with his adult pieces, got a response for What We Found In The Sofa very quickly.
“No one was interested in the books for adults, but with my first attempt at a children’s book several people got back to me. Obviously I was meant to write for kids,” Clark says.
Clark recently read excerpts from his book at the Barnes and Noble in Carle Place. The 61-year-old author has already written a sequel.
What We Found In The Sofa is available at bookstores and on amazon.com.