Every story has a beginning, and the Carousel Publishing story began just after September 11, 2001, when serial entrepreneur, Sharon Thayer, watched her current business collapse as surely and quickly as the Twin Towers. With the dust settled and empty pockets, Sharon and her teenage daughter, Jessica, sat down to brainstorm. They wondered if there was something they could do to generate income and help bring a brighter Christmas to others during this dark time.
Early the following morning, Sharon woke with a story exploding in her head. Sitting at her desk watching the snow fall gently on the mountains out her window, she wrote words that flowed onto the paper as effortlessly as the snowflakes floating to the earth outside. With a dyslexic history and over 40 years of struggling with reading, Sharon was surprised. She had never dreamed of being an author. But there it was, a magical story, begging to bring joy to little believers and their families.
She spent the next two months visiting childcare centers marketing her story, The Story of Santa's Beard, as a letter from Santa with a snippet of beard folded carefully inside. After busy weeks of sending out Santa letters, Sharon delivered the last batch to the post office two days before Christmas. She had earned enough money to pay her bills and purchase each of her children a small present for under the tree. Little did she know, the greatest gift—the discovery of a new career—was under the tree waiting for her.
A few years later, as the owner of a nature-based childcare center, Sharon found that stories were the perfect place to plant positive messages and words of wisdom for children to discover. In her precious spare time, over the next eight years, she filled a file cabinet drawer with stories.
Taking a risk in 2011, Sharon sold Kid Central to become a full-time author, speaker, publisher, and grandmother. The struggles were ever-present, but nothing that 15-hour days, encouragement from friends and family, and keeping her focus on creating magical stories couldn't surmount.
Now, after selling over 75,000 books and earning 15 state, national, and international awards, Sharon has secured a top literary agent at D4EO Literary Agency. Soon her books will be published in multiple languages for worldwide sales. But it's times when a family shares that their new tradition is reading The Story of Santa's Beard before bed on Christmas Eve that she knows she has indeed succeeded.
The story's ending? Well, you'll have to wait. There are many more stories to come before the end materializes. Meanwhile, Sharon will be hiking life's trails, searching for her next story, and smiling each time she watches the beautiful snow fall gently on an early November morning.
Jenny Hancey, Graphic Designer. (1977 - 2020)
Note from Sharon: Sadly, Jenny passed away in August of 2020. She was a Colorado native and lived on a small farm in the mountains south of Denver. She was happily married, with one energetic son and was a lover of all animals. She cared for their farm daily, including horses, cats, chickens, geese and anything else that needed love and care.
Through our nearly 20 years working together she relentlessly pushed me at every level to bring my best to all my projects. Without her, the books you find on this site wouldn't be the quite as magical or quite as wonderful. With every page you turn, the joy she brought to this world lives on.
Reuben McHugh, Illustrator of A Tooth Fairy Named Mort, To the Ends of the Earth, and Wonderfully, Perfectly Unusual. As a child Reuben picked up a passion for illustration from the influences around him; his parents who both went to Art school and his favorite children’s books, mainly Dr. Seuss and Richard Scarry. He studied Art and Design at Bradford and Lincoln Colleges. After leaving college in 1989 Reuben settled into a job in the greetings card industry and it was there that his passion for illustration really took over. http://www.reubenmchughstudioltd.com/
Andrew Smith, Illustrator of the backstories, A Tooth Fairy Named Mort, To the Ends of the Earth, and Wonderfully, Perfectly Unusual. Andrew was born in Liverpool and grew up in this abundantly creative city. Discovering he had a talent for drawing, he studied graphic design and gained a degree from Liverpool University. He went on to build a career illustrating greeting cards and more, recently children’s books. Andrew now lives in West Yorkshire, England with his family and enjoys hill walking in his free time. https://www.asmithillustration.com/
Frank Pryor, Illustrator of the backstory of The Story of Santa's Beard. This dynamic and versatile freelance illustrator was not born with a pencil in his hand, but finds it hard to remember a time when sketching was not his passion. A Colorado native and outdoor enthusiast, Frank lives in Denver with his wife and "muse" of 25 years, Yvonne, their four children and five grandchildren. https://www.artpal.com/fepryor
Marci Chambers, Illustrator of The Story of Santa's Beard. Marci Haynes Chambers, aka M. Haynes Scott, has been making her living as a professional artist for the past 30 years. Painting holiday windows for retail stores while in Junior High School was her first art income. Marci's art has been featured on posters, books and magazines, steins, clothing, greeting cards and more. She spent her early years on the beach in La Jolla, but has traded the ocean and city life for the Colorado Rocky Mountains. She now lives at 9500 feet on a ranch in South Park with her husband, dog and 3 horses. Working time evolves around her many art clients. Marci spends her free time riding, skiing, doing the endless ranch chores or with her 3 grown children.
Linda Nagy, Illustrator of If You Tell Me, I Can Fly! Born in Atlanta, Georgia, Linda has been fascinated with art since childhood. She attended the University of Georgia where she earned BFA and MFA degrees in graphic design. Her career began at Hallmark Cards in Kansas City, MO where she designed greeting cards in watercolor media. Now retired in South Park, Colorado Linda writes and publishes Colorado Nature books.