Local musician Steve Schuffert publishes a children’s book
January 2, 2015
Park City residents and visitors know guitarist "Classic" Steve Schuffert through his live, acoustic performances in venues around town in the past two years.
What most people don’t know is that the musician is also an author.
His new children’s book, "Patch the Polar Bear in a Polar Bear Snow Day," was published a few months ago and is available in hard copy at Amazon.com and digitally at Amazon’s Kindle Store.
The book is about an adolescent polar bear that ventures out in a blizzard to find his true love, is also available at Createspace.com.
Schuffert said the book started out as a Christmas gift and love letter to his girlfriend of six years, Joni DeYoung.
"I think that’s why the story has touched so many people emotionally, which was something that I didn’t expect," Schuffert said during an interview with The Park Record. "I think it’s because the foundation is based on love, something that is very real and deep to me."
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Like many things that have to do with love, the idea was spontaneous, according to the writer
"I never knew this was going to happen, but like a song idea, it just came to me," Schuffert said. "I was on the road touring two years ago and Joni and I were separated from each other. So I just started writing a letter to her.
"If I remember correctly, I didn’t intend for the writing to go as long as it did, not that the book is lengthy," he said. "I do remember visiting the polar bear exhibit at Hogle Zoo and just got an idea for a character."
Writing the book was like writing a song, Schuffert said.
"Not that I have much experience in writing books, but they are similar once they get going," he said. "They both kind of write themselves, within reason."
Schuffert should know. He was a songwriter in Nashville for 17 years before reassessing his craft and moving out to Park City in 2012 to focus on performing.
He has written songs for George Jones, Kenny Rogers, Tommy Castro and T. Graham Brown and instinctively knows when an idea can blossom into a project.
"When I’m playing a guitar or piano something will happen with the music and a spark in my head will go off and I’ll follow it and find it turning into something," he explained. "Then something shifts in my mind and something else will take over and takes you to the next part and the next."
That’s what happened with "Patches."
"I had a little puff of inspiration and I realized it could be a story, so I just continued with that thought and it grew," Schuffert said. "It was like a series of happy accidents."
The book was published by Kinder an der Küste – Der Erlebnisverlag UG in Stade, Germany.
"I have a friend from my touring days in Europe who writes for a publishing company in Germany who helped the process along," Schuffert said. "Joni edited the story and then we sent it off to my friend, who took it to her publisher and they liked it."
A year later, the publisher contacted him.
"Just like anything else in the business, the machine took over, and we waited," Schuffert said. "It was a long process but we just let it go and got busy with our own lives."
During that time, the publisher went through a couple of illustrators before deciding on a German graphic artist named Nina Heidtmann.
"Then after two or three more months, we received a notice that said, ‘You will be happy to know that your book has been published,’" Schuffert said.
"Patches the Polar Bear in a Polar Bear Snow Day" is published in two languages.
"One side of the page is in English and the other side is in German," said DeYoung, who also talked with The Park Record "Since the book was done is Germany, the publisher decided to do it that way and that was pretty cool."
Schuffert and DeYoung have other ideas for new books, but the next project will be to promote the release of Schuffert’s new full-length album, "Resonate."
"We’re planning to do an album-release show, but right now, I’m busy playing my regular gigs around town," Schuffert said.
The guitarist performs Thursdays at the Park City Hotel from 6:30 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. and Sundays and Tuesdays at the Montage Deer Valley from noon until 3 p.m.
He will play Fridays and Saturdays from 3 p.m. until 6 p.m. at the Waldorf Astoria at Canyons Resort beginning on Jan. 16.
"I’ve been very blessed," Schuffert said. "When I first came to Park City, I had one gig, but now I have the opportunity to play five days a week."
For more information about Steve Schuffert, his music and "Patch the Polar Bear in a Polar Bear Snow Day," visit http://www.steveschuffert.com.