A B.C. children’s author best known for writing about an Okanagan Lake monster is releasing a sequel after more than 35 years.
Don Levers’ 1985 classic, Ogopogo: The Misunderstood Lake Monster, has sold 30,000 copies and after taking a three-decade hiatus, the author has returned to reveal his fresh take on the famed creature.
Ogopogo: And the Mysterious Stranger will be released on July 22 to tell the story of Okanagan Valley children coming together to throw a celebration worthy of the creature and its bravery.
“The tale combines fiction and fantasy,” Levers told Black Press. “It’s about my interpretation and experience I had with the Ogopogo in 1981 while driving with my wife through Kelowna.”
The author stood before Vernon council in March 2021, asking permission to use the “Ogopogo” name in his planned sequel after the city had obtained the copyright in July 1956.
The stage is now set, though, for a new Ogopogo story more than 35 years in the making to be introduced to a brand-new generation of children, thanks to the granted permission of council.
Levers’ interpretation of the sea creature is based on a mid-December drive more than 40 years ago when he and his wife saw something they’ve never seen before in the water by the concrete barricade on the Okanagan Lake bridge.
“We got confirmation that it wasn’t just us who saw something when another car in front of us stopped right away,” he recalled.
Levers’ second daughter was born later that day, sparking the inspiration to write a children’s book to mark the unforgettable occasions.
The original release in 1985 features Ogopogo saving busloads of children after the Okanagan Lake bridge broke apart during a summer storm.
Two years later, Levers had completed the sequel. Between raising kids, owning a business and relocating around Western Canada, however, it’s taken more than 35 years for the second children’s book to actually get published.
“I’ve had the story in my head since 1987, but it still feels new,” Levers said. “Now I’m a grandfather, so instead of the book being for my daughter like it was in the 1980s, it’s now for my granddaughter.”
The new title, a 25-page release, tells the story of the saved children honouring Ogopogo by organizing a party in Kelowna.
Courtesy of the Okanagan Publishing House, Levers’ sequel will feature illustrations from Kelowna-based artist Angelina Danielle.
“I’m hoping my art brings children into the world of this amazing sequel,” she said. “My wish is that both adults and kids fall in love with the Ogopogo and the Okanagan.”
Ogopogo: And the Mysterious Stranger will be available at local retailers across the region on July 22 and can be preordered now at Okanagan Publishing House’s website.
The author, along with those at the Okanagan Publishing House, has worked with the Okanagan Nation Alliance to ensure they respect the sacred name of Ogopogo.
Levers’ full catalog of work can be found at donleversbooks.com