ENCINITAS — It started with a walk on the beach and a question. It ended with a book, a yearlong labor of love for a 6-year-old girl and her father.
Shae Archambault was walking along a beach in Monterey, when she turned and asked her father, Worth, “Do you think something is looking back at us?”
“I asked her, ‘What do you think it could be?’” Worth Archambault said.
“Maybe a shark?” Shae recalled through a shy grin on Nov. 20.
That conversation gave Worth Archambault an idea: maybe he and Shae could write a story about what in the ocean was looking back at them.
A year later, the father and daughter have published “The Christmas Shark,” a story about a misunderstood great white shark named Lightning and his love for the Christmas holiday.
“It was a really fun project to do with my then-5-year-old daughter,” Worth Archambault said.
The family is donating the proceeds from the sale of the book, which was released last week, to the Surfrider Foundation to assist in its preservation efforts.
“We don’t want animals to get sick,” Shae said.
“I hope we can let people know that the ocean is a special place,” Worth Archambault added.
Writing a book was a learning curve for both Shae, the energetic kindergartener who loves gymnastics, watching TV, bouncing on the trampoline and boogie boarding; and her father, who manages a sales group.
“I don’t think I ever imagined writing a book,” Worth Archambault said. “I’ve done some business writing, but not much of the creative writing.
“One of the things we hope to convey to people is to encourage first-time authors to go for it,” Worth Archambault said.
“Shae came up with the story, and I helped her to frame the words,” he said.
Shae said sharks are her favorite ocean animal. When asked what she liked about them, she answered as only a 6-year-old could.
“They can smell blood from far, far away,” she proclaimed proudly.
So throughout the year, the father and daughter would talk about the story and what would happen to Lightning the great white shark. Worth Archambault used a freelance website to recruit an artist from South America, Marcelo Simonetti, to illustrate the 33-page book.
Once completed, Worth Archambault and his wife, Laurie, went through the process of self-publishing the book and setting up the donation arrangement with the Surfrider Foundation.
Laurie Archambault also has been busy promoting the book to multiple media outlets.
“We just want to get the word out because we think it’s such a unique book, and we think it would be a great gift and it supports such a worthy cause, protecting the oceans,” Laurie Archambault said.
So far, Worth Archambault said, they have sold 200 copies of the book in four days.
“We’re off and running and I have my wife to thank for that,” he said.
The family said one of the highlights of the journey was Shae getting to read the book to her kindergarten class.
“I was so excited, I couldn’t hold it in,” she said. When asked why she was excited, she replied, “Maybe they like sharks or Santa?
“My friends and teachers, they all thought Santa was going to get … ”
“Hey, Shae, don’t you think we should keep it a surprise, we don’t want to spoil it for people who want to buy the book,” Worth Archambault interjected.
“Oh yeah,” Shae smiled, clasping her hands over her mouth.
When asked if this would be the beginning of a series of books or if a second book was on the horizon, Worth Archambault looked at Shae and her 2-year-old sister Tate.
“You never know,” he said. “I think we’ll keep doing creative projects with our kids.”
To purchase a copy of the book, visit www.thechristmasshark.com.