Jeff Knapp is a story teller with a delightful sense of humor and a vivid imagination. He has taken local people, places, childhood memories and woven them into a wonderful tapestry of adventure, magic, and mystery.


Jeff Knapp is a story teller with a delightful sense of humor and a vivid imagination. He has taken local people, places, childhood memories and woven them into a wonderful tapestry of adventure, magic, and mystery.

His first book, “The Brave Journey” is the first in a series, “The Kingdom at the End of the Driveway’” and will launch on Saturday.

The 33-year-old author with the boyish grin and enthusiasm for adventure, grew up exploring the countryside near his childhood home in rural Butler County.  He attended Haverhill Elementary, Bluestem Middle School and Bluestem High School, transferred to Augusta High School in his junior year and graduated in 1995.

Although his mother was an English teacher and his older brother, Adam, a sports writer, Jeff didn’t spend a lot of time reading and had no serious ambitions to become an author.

“I did write funny stories in school, but it was more for laughs – not for the grades,” he advised.

And after college there was a time he dabbled in stand-up comedy.

But it was in 2008 while he was doing seasonal mowing work, he began thinking about his childhood and some weird and quirky events that would make a good story.

“I had lots of thoughts brewing. I was daydreaming and everything just seemed to click one particular day. I got out my voice recorder and began recording some of my ideas. I began the book in July of 2008 and finished that October,” he explained.

Writing the story was just the beginning of the publishing process however.

He contacted his favorite author, Steve Alten, for some advice.

He told Jeff that he needed to have the manuscript professionally edited and that’s when Jeff turned to Karen S. Davis, who he credits for a lot of “amazing” assistance.

The next challenge was finding a literary agent. The young author submitted 85 letters, received 65 replies – five positive and 60 negative.

“I knew that I did not want to go the print on demand route. I didn’t want to make a cheap book. The story deserved better,” he explained.

That is when Kraken Books was born. Knapp took a leap of faith – creatively and financially – creating his own publishing company.

With his brother Adam’s connections, Jeff was able to find a top-notch illustrator for the project.

“Adam had worked with Tim Ladwig, an illustrator of several award-winning children’s books, who lives in Wichita,” Jeff said. “He is fantastic. He made drawings from my photos and ideas and it was amazing to see the story come to life in his illustrations.”

Assistance with the book design came from the Wichita State University graphics department and a San Francisco printing company was the final step in the process.

The right people and the right process resulted in a professional and appealing book, but the true magic lies inside – a delightful tale that will intrigue children of all ages and leave them anxiously awaiting the next book in the series.

Because the Leon Harvest Home Festival is mentioned in the book and is a part of Jeff’s childhood memories, it seems appropriate that the official book launching will be at the festival on Saturday.  At the festival, the author will sign books and in honor of the special occasion, the books will retail at big discount prices.

Jeff also hired a film crew to produce a trailer for the book.  

The trailer will first be seen by Leon Elementary students then everyone will have the opportunity to see it on Facebook, YouTube and at the book’s Web site: thebravejourneybook.com.

The book tells of 12 year-old Benjamin Biggs’ adventure with Paco the dog, and all of the other creatures in the Kingdom at the End of the Driveway.