I had an active imagination when I was growing up, so from the minute I was able, I was writing stories and poems to share with friends and family. Growing up in Portsmouth, there was a strong military link and for me, a real felt sense of closeness to France, two of the biggest influences which came into play when I came up with the idea of ‘Little Creatures’ later on in life. By that time, I was a member of a French pipe band attending the D Day commemorations in Normandy regularly each year to play for the veterans, and I had my home in rural Normandy. The house had been occupied by the Nazis during the Second World War, and the locals would talk to me about stories that had been passed down to them. How many more stories were out there, that had never been heard, or would never even be told? I felt I needed to do something to contribute to a legacy for the next generation and in a way that children could connect to and understand. When a little toad started appearing outside the front porch every evening, sitting there as if he was stood to attention, the plot for Little Creatures began to formulate in my mind. I was so excited about the idea that I remember I phoned my Aunt to share it, and I actually couldn’t sleep that night! My brain was racing!
Once the story was written I shared it with the son of a friend of mine and he drew some pictures. I knew then that it worked, as he depicted exactly what I had in mind, and I then set about submitting it to various publishers, braving myself for the rejections to come! However, my belief in the story and the feedback I was getting from those I had shared it with drove my determination to keep going, and then came the email from Olympia Publishers. Another night I couldn’t sleep with excitement! Olympia have been so supportive as I have journeyed with them through the new and unfamiliar process of seeing my book published, and the illustrations have exceeded all expectations. Seeing the characters bought to life has probably been one of the most exciting aspects to it all. There have been some incredibly poignant moments since the book has come out such as seeing the proud looks on my daughters’ faces as I presented them with their copies, learning that copies had been sent to an orphanage in Africa, knowing that ‘Little Creatures’ was waiting under Christmas trees across the world for younger readers to discover and enjoy on Christmas morning, and enjoy.( I love Christmas!), a lovely lady who I had never met offering to make some purple poppies in honour of the animals, and a local shop showing me that they had put up a photo of the main character to enjoy looking at, to name but a few. If you have a story to tell, don’t give up, if you believe in it, you will find others that do too, and you never know where the journey will take you.
For ‘Little Creatures’ the adventure is just beginning! A big thank you to Olympia, and now I need to begin work on my next idea!