Moorestown resident ‘draws’ inspiration to write book from life’s challenges

Josh Williams hopes his book “The Good Night Knight” teaches kids not to fear the unknown.

Josh Willliams’ wrote and illustrated a children’s book to inspire his daughter. Featured above is a scene from “The Good Night Knight.”

Two and a half years ago, Moorestown resident Josh Williams found himself laid off for the sixth time. Working as an artist designing products and packaging for the kids’ market, Williams said he was used to his contract ending and the uncertainty that came with it. But with a 1-year-old at home, he said this layoff hit him particularly hard.

Despite being fearful and unsure of what lay ahead, Williams knew he wanted to set an example for his young daughter to look back on. He said he wanted to demonstrate the importance of remaining strong when life throws challenges your way, and so he decided to make his long-deferred dream of writing a children’s book a reality.

Williams is fundraising via a Kickstarter campaign to self-publish his book “The Good Night Knight.” Williams is fundraising until Dec. 1, and his goal is to raise $4,500 to finance the book’s publication. To date, he has raised approximately $4,000.

Photo of Josh Williams. Photo credit: Tony Vargas.

For as long as he can remember, Williams has had books filled with his ideas and sketches. He said he was drawing since the time he could hold a crayon, and he graduated from the Hussian School of Art in Philadelphia.

Williams, 42, went on to design packaging for Mattel, Hasbro, Spin Master, Marvel, DC, Band-Aids and Topps. However, working on his own project was always the goal, he said.

Having spent each night reading to his daughter, Williams decided he wanted to create a book of his own with a strong moral. He said when he set out to create the book, he knew he wanted it to be fun, wanted it to rhyme and wanted it to have a deeper meaning.

“The Good Night Knight” tells the story of a knight who is held in high esteem in his local village for keeping creatures at bay during his nightly watch. His biggest fan, the baker’s son, uncovers the knight’s secret — that he is not battling these creatures but is friends with them.

Williams said as the story unfolds, the moral that even though there are things you might be afraid of, these frightening things may not be as scary as you initially thought.

The book has been an ongoing process from more than two years, Williams said. Following two months of being unemployed, Williams returned to a 9 to 5 job, which he said limited his time working on the project. During the last few years, Williams wrote the story, illustrated every one of the book’s 32 pages and edited the book.

When the book was finally finished, Williams found a list of agents to pitch his creation to. When his efforts weren’t going to plan, he said he wasn’t deterred.

Instead, Williams decided if he couldn’t get an agent without experience in publishing and couldn’t get experience in publishing without an agent, he would bypass these barriers and publish his creation on his own. For that reason, he took to Kickstarter to get some help funding the project.

He said he hopes his journey resonates with people.

“I hope it’s an example; I wanted to do a children’s book,” Williams said. “Even though there are a lot of unknown things and hurdles along the way, I produced my own project. I was determined to do it. Overall, the moral is not be afraid of the unknown.”

Josh Willliams’ wrote and illustrated a children’s book to inspire his daughter. Featured above is the cover of “The Good Night Knight.”

If all goes according to plan with his fundraising efforts, Williams said “The Good Night Knight” should be out by Christmas. He said the book will be available for purchase on his website, www.joshwill.com, and the digital versions will be available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble’s website.

Williams said he has shown his now 4-year-old daughter some of his drawings, but he’s excited by the prospect of showing his young inspiration the finished product.

For more information on “The Good Night Knight” or to donate to the project, visit
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1001615005/the-good-night-knight-childrens-book