Writing a book or becoming a published author has never really featured particularly high on my bucket list.
It’s true, I’ve always loved writing and for many years it has been my profession as a former journalist and now a self-employed PR professional but it’s never been a dream of mine. Climbing Mount Everest, yes, becoming a forest ranger, yes, but penning a book, no, not so much!
It feels rather funny therefore to be talked about and referred to as an author. It’s all happened rather accidentally and the catalyst – becoming a mummy!
The latter, I might add, wasn’t accidental. I absolutely did want children and thankfully I was blessed with two amazing boys who have changed my life forever.
Every day since they were born has been filled with fun, laughter, love, tears, noise, chaos and more recently mud! Some days there have been more tears than laughter, others have been noisier and more chaotic but everyday, without fail, there has been love and there has been lots of mud!
For me, parenting presents major challenges on an almost daily basis but I’m finding my way, albeit slowly! However, recently I did learn one of my biggest lessons yet and that is if you make a promise to your children – you absolutely have to keep it and here’s why:
For one, it demonstrates a commitment from you to them. Secondly it shows them you can be trusted. Thirdly, it indicates respect. And finally, if nothing else, kids have amazing memories and they won’t ever let you forget if you don’t keep your word.
It was in fact a promise to my two boys that kickstarted my accidental journey to becoming a mummy author.
Like most parents, I began reading to my children at a very young age. Surrounded by an ever advancing technological world I was determined that they would grow up loving books, enjoying reading and using their imaginations. Together, we must have read hundreds of books and when we don’t have books we make up our own.
And, the tale of Wendy and the Biscuit Tree (my recently published book) was just that – a story I made up one day because I didn’t have a book to hand. Little did I know at the time that the new found adventures of Wendy and the magical biscuit tree would become their all time favourite story.
The boys often asked me what Wendy looked like, how big the biscuit tree was and what kind of biscuits it grew. And so followed my promise to them that I would turn my imaginary tale into a picture book we could all read together.
The boys were elated but I, on the other hand, had no idea exactly how I was going to make that promise come true. All I knew was that I had to make it happen and if I was going to do it I ought to go about it properly.
It goes without saying that the process of self-publishing can be a tricky path to navigate and rather daunting to say the least. But, I was fortunate enough to meet editor Sue Miller, who heads up the wonderful Team Author UK – a new collaboration providing a variety of professional services to independent authors.
Sue gave me the confidence I needed to step into this unknown world and before long I’d penned a first, second, third and final draft of the book, teamed up with the fabulous illustrator Holly Bushnell and was well on the way to getting my first ever book published.
From start to finish the process took around nine months and in November last year I received my first batch of author copies and my book went live on Amazon.
And so the day arrived for me to tell the boys I had fulfilled my promise and hand them their very own copy of Wendy and the Biscuit Tree. They were, thankfully after all the hard work, more than made up to receive their special book. And as for me, well, it was a moment I won’t ever forget!
Since that day, it has all been a bit of a whirlwind. I’ve met lots of other self-published authors who have been quick to encourage me with my new venture and I have attended charity events, Christmas fayres, nurseries and schools to read my book. I’ve had people send me photos of their children going to bed reading Wendy and the Biscuit Tree and messages to say copies have been sent to the other side of the world.
It’s all been rather amazing in an accidental mummy-author kind of way and I really cannot thank everyone enough for their support!
I’m now in the midst of finalising my latest book reading tour to celebrate World Book Day 2017 and I’m delighted to have been invited by Katie Millard to attend the fabulous Baby Bird Cafe on Monday 27 to do a reading at 1pm. So if you’re about in the Oswestry area why not pop in, say hello and have a cuppa. I’d love to meet you and share my story Wendy and the Biscuit Tree with your little ones! I’ll also have copies of the book with me on the day for those wishing to purchase a signed copy, priced £7.99.