Welcome back Connor: Courageous cutter sails back in second book

Published 10:26 pm Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Two local military dads are back with their second in a series of children’s books about Connor the Courageous Cutter.

Scott McBride and Rodger Thompson said they were pleasantly surprised by the response to their first book, which was released more than a year ago.

“It’s really humbling,” McBride said. “From the beginning, people believed in this idea called Connor.”

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The first book followed Connor, a cutter who is new to Serendipity Sound. When his new friend, Sarah the Schooner, gets trapped in a storm, Connor is the only one who can light the way for Sarah’s return to safety.

The two are familiar with Connor’s seagoing life. McBride is a Navy veteran who now serves in the Coast Guard, and Thompson currently serves in the Navy.

The idea had floated around in McBride’s head since he was in graduate school. Then he met Thompson at their church, Ebenezer United Methodist Church in Eclipse, and approached him with the idea. They had the first draft written within a week.

“This year has been unexpected,” Thompson said. “We hoped and really wanted the book to do well and be accepted. We’ve been pleasantly surprised at how many fans we have now.”

The two said they have met many people at book signings and other events who had the book and didn’t even realize the authors were local. Kids are also very excited.

“We’re really grateful people believe in this story and were eager for more,” McBride said. “(Kids’) eyes light up, and they get this huge grin on their face. We’ve even had adults touched by this story, which was really cool.”

With the second book, the authors decided to expand the Connor universe beyond Serendipity Sound.

“We wanted our fans to know there’s a broader place, and we introduced some new characters,” McBride said.

McBride said the book features Connor and friends exploring, but then they take a shortcut through Calamity Canal and get into trouble.

“I think it showed that very human element that anybody can make a mistake, anybody can be tempted,” McBride said.

Thompson said the story shows that even the hero can be flawed, and it introduces topics to children in a safe way.

“When we approach the topics for Connor, we think, ‘What are kids going to deal with as they get older?’” Thompson said. “We’re telling kids stories and teaching them morals outside of building good people.”

McBride has two sons, and Thompson has three. Each has a son named Connor, hence their hero’s name.

Both men said their wives, Kendra Thompson and April McBride, have been incredibly supportive. They also said it has been a good lesson for their children, outside of the lessons in the book.

“It’s really cool how we’ve been able to show our kids if you have a dream and you work hard, you can succeed,” McBride said.

Thompson agreed: “It’s amazing what you don’t know you can do until you set out to do it,” he said.

McBride and Thompson revealed they already are working on book No. 3.

The books — as well as T-shirts featuring Connor — can be ordered at connorthecutter.com.