Buchanan native debuts Ozzy Ox series
July 31, 2023
Connie Krapp is proof positive that if you have an idea in your head and a dream and vision to see it through, it's best to pursue it before it's too late.
A momentary health crisis caused Krapp to re-evaluate and dedicate herself to one of her life goals, and she is now a published children's author.
The first of Krapp's debut offering in the four-book Ozzy Ox series of children's books, "Ozzy Ox: Candy Stash," is slated for official launch today (July 31) on Amazon.
Krapp, who lives with her husband, Oren, on the Jamestown Reservoir, worked as an employee of Northern Plains Electric Cooperative in Carrington for 22 years, specializing in marketing and communications.
"I got to write a lot of fun things, and some things that were a little more technical in nature, such as informational work about the industry," she says.
One of her main responsibilities at NPEC was to coordinate and publish the co-op's eight allotted pages for the monthly North Dakota Living magazine.
Back in October, a debilitating migraine headache resulted in an emergency ambulance trip for Krapp from Jamestown to Fargo.
"I've had issues with migraines that have persisted for many years," she said. "I was thinking I might have a blood clot."
The hour and 30 minutes that elapsed in that time got Krapp thinking.
"It's kind of funny, because life is always busy," she said. "I've always had this bucket list item where I wanted to start writing children's books."
Several weeks later, with time and rest, doctors gave her the clearance to go back home. And, she started writing.
She created Ozzy Ox, a character she says encourages kids to employ practical solutions to making good life choices and abide by strong moral values.
"I like to think [of my approach] as, 'What would grandmas like to read to their children?'" she said.
To drive home that importance, Krapp says that Ozzy teaches the importance of admitting mistakes when they are made, and that "life's everyday difficulties can best be overcome by honesty, acceptance, levity and forgiveness."
The Ozzy books – Candy Stash, Toy Trauma, Moody Morning, and Ozzy Ox Takes a Stand Against Socks – all feature rhyming words to resonate with developing young minds.
"Rhyming things have always been fun for me to write," she said, adding, "They're not the easiest, but they spark imaginations and are all around, more fun. Also, rhyming picture books help children learn about words and language formation."
Krapp's stories are written under the pseudonym "Callen Kropp," a combination of Connie's maiden name, Allen, and a vowel change in the last name (pronunciation is the same) to make it more palatable to readers.
"I didn't think my last name would look appealing on a children's book," she said with a hearty laugh.
Several years ago, Krapp commissioned a painting of a photograph from West Fargo artist Emily Erickson Hagen, and Hagen's vivid and beautiful imagery that came of that assignment led the budding author to hire her as Ozzy's illustrator.
"She really brought Ozzy Ox to life," said Krapp. "I love her style, which lends itself well to the style of books I wanted to write."
One of the hardest parts of the process for Krapp was the legwork needed to get her books published.
"You have to obtain an ISBN (International Standard Book Number), as well as your own imprint, or publishing company, so you can be registered through the Library of Congress," she explained.
Once that went through, she approached Amazon with a dummy layout of her books.
"The typical size of a picture book is around 36 pages, and they suggest it be 500 to 600 words," Krapp said.
With Amazon's publishing model, she says that books can be published and printed on demand, and not necessarily be bound to a set press run of copies.
Toy Trauma, Moody Morning and Ozzy Ox Takes a Stand Against Socks are still in the works, and Krapp hopes to have those books online and to select vendors by the end of the year.
"A few people in our region want to sell copies locally, so I am gearing up for that as well," she says.
Future plans may include more Ozzy stories, and she says there could be new characters that could come to life down the line.
"There's no shortage of ideas with Ozzy, just a shortage of time," said Krapp.
"Ozzy Ox: Candy Stash" is available on Amazon, and also at her new web site, http://www.callenkropp.com. The site contains page previews of that book, plus images of the second and third books in progress.