Watsontown native partnering with SU student on book series

Jan. 27—Brett Moyer had been working in finance in New York City following his graduation from Susquehanna University in 2013 when he began writing during the pandemic.

"This passion project was kind of a surprise," said Moyer, who grew up in Watsontown and now lives in Jersey City, N.J., with his wife, Grace Lazaro, and their 6-month-old daughter, Elizabeth.

It was Lazaro who encouraged him to start writing and during the pandemic he finished two history books while working his full-time bank job.

In 2022, his hobby took another turn when the couple — who volunteer with a wild bird rescue fund — came to know two Canadian geese in a pond near their home that they named George and Gertrude.

Moyer established Goose Gather Farm Books and began writing children's books about the birds. Each book contains a Bible verse.

"I wanted my books to bring people together and since geese always travel together" the endeavor seemed appropriate, he said.

Moyer even taught himself how to draw with colored pencil and made the book illustrations himself.

He reached out to the Jack Miner Migratory Bird Sanctuary in Ontario — which tags each bird they rescue and also includes a Bible verse with the tag — and secured a deal to write about one of their beloved birds named Karl.

To help him on what he expects will be a series of children's books, Moyer reached out to his alma mater and was connected with senior Sanaa Cannady who he hired to illustrate his first book, "Meet Karl."

Cannady, who uses the professional name of Malachai Carter, said she's grateful for the work and experience since she aspires to a career in illustration.

To illustrate a waterfowl that would be attractive to children, Cannady said, she experimented with shapes and using bright, saturated colors.

"Realism may fit the way the birds are but it isn't as appealing to kids," she said.

Cannady's illustrations free Moyer up to focus on the text.

"I love working with a professional illustrator," he said.