Police officer writes Our Mum Bought a Mountain Bike follow to children’s book

When a Burnie police officer wrote a children’s book about a dad’s painful new addiction to mountain biking, it was told through the eyes of his own bemused children.

Those kids still ponder the mid-life decision of their dad, Senior Sergeant Stewart Williams, to become an injury-prone daredevil.

Now, a companion book to the confessional Our Dad Bought a Mountain Bike is about to hit the shelves.

“It is a bit of a balance up, I guess,” Senior Sergeant Williams said.

The new book is called Our Mum Bought a Mountain Bike.

“There are a lot of women out there who are just as crazy as us guys, just as stupid and way better riders too,” he said.

Having previously managed Burnie’s traffic policing, Senior Sergeant Williams has changed roles to manage Burnie’s uniform section and 24-hour watch.

Against that career backdrop, he said he was grateful nobody recognised him when he broke his shoulder riding on a school pump track.

“The scapula was snapped in half,” he said.

“My daughter helped me to the Stella Maris school gates and we called a friend to help us to hospital.

“I had grand ideas of being safer after that and I bought some really good body armour.

“I think I’ve only worn it twice.”

He said writing and illustrating children’s books was, like mountain biking, a perfect antidote to a stressful day on the beat and allowed for a special connection with his children.

Dad becomes a clown on two wheels
Every time he designs a character or writes a story, he shows it to his kids.

The latest is a bit of a clown figure — an all too familiar dad who found mountain biking late in life, dreams of more expensive bikes, and arrives home with less skin after every ride.

Not surprisingly, it has been as relatable and popular at bicycle shops as much as at it has at bookstores.

“Drawing has always been a big part of my life and a great escape from the stresses of my work as a policeman,” Senior Sergeant Williams said.

“Traditionally it’s been pen and paper and a bit of painting as well.”

Bacterium named Bob
Senior Sergeant Williams said he could create and publish a whole book on a tablet.

“I work with an amazing program called Procreate, a Tasmanian program and one of the biggest-selling programs on the iPad,” he said.

The first children’s book he published was Bob’s Epic Journey, which was a fast-tracked look at evolution for children.

The main talent, Bob, was a lovable bacterium — so much so that a UK publisher picked up the rights to the book.

Senior Sergeant Williams has since decided he preferred the control of self-publishing.

His fourth title — Our Mum Bought a Mountain Bike — will be available before Christmas.

“I’d like to think that I’m more than just a police officer,” he said.

“My skills probably don’t resonate that well with being a police officer.

“I’ve always been creative and a bit of an artist so this is probably where I scratch that itch.

“I mean I love my job and I’m really lucky to be a police officer. Sometimes our hobbies just tick boxes that we can’t tick at work.”

A more serious challenge ahead
One of the next projects on the creative cop’s publishing schedule might entail a full cross-over into the world of policing.

It is about post-traumatic stress disorder, a subject that also accentuates the need for people in high-stress work situations to find healthy outlets.

“It may sound morbid for a kid’s book but the idea is to help children understand what’s happening to parents with PTSD, why they might be grumpy one day and not the next,” he said.

“The key idea is to explain to the children that it’s not their fault. That there’s a reason for this that’s hard to see.”

Senior Sergeant Williams said was approached by the director of the welfare area at Tasmania Police to produce something that would be available to families affected by a condition.

“I’ve been putting my mind to it but you can’t write a book like this on a whim,” he said.

“You’ve got to do some research, put some work into it because the way in which we think we can explain things doesn’t always work for children.

“It may be a case of using animals to de-personalise it a little bit.”