I was born in west London but spent my first years in Germany where I was inspired by the Brothers Grimm fairy tales and German folklore. I’ve always enjoyed being creative and these old tales really sparked my passion for the arts – both written and visual. Through my artwork, I would either write short stories or poetry to compliment the images. Before getting published, my life was completely different. I have worked in a variety of jobs from being a Junior Graphic Designer to a Care Assistant for the NHS and then back to being a freelance graphic designer and illustrator again!
I had a life-changing moment in 2007 where I was in a car accident, it left me with a lifelong disability which meant that I could no longer work as a Care Assistant. It was from that moment on that I decided life was too short and I wanted to follow my dream of being a published children’s book author and illustrator, so I went back to college to study and refresh my skills in illustration, graphic design and creative writing.
When I started writing my book “Magic Wand Tales” (which is a story about the first of nine lives of a witch’s cat) I wanted to capture a modern take on the Brothers Grimm stories where each one has a moral lesson to be learnt. I wanted to show children that life can be a bit like a roller coaster at times with its ups and downs. Life is full of surprises, trials and tribulations which help to make us stronger and wiser – just like the witch’s cat in my book when he faces he’s foe the troll. When I completed my book I literally throw caution to the wind, and decided to be brave; I approached several publishing houses, where the wait seemed endless. Eventually, they got back to me. Some said my story wasn’t what they were looking for, some suggested that writing and illustrating my own book was not the done thing. The rejection is hard, but then you can’t make an omelette without cracking a few eggs so to speak. I expected to be rejected as not everybody likes the same thing. I remember reading somewhere that JK Rowling’s Harry Potter book was rejected by at least 20 publishing houses, yet she kept plodding on. I took a leaf out her book (no pun intended) and done the same.
After a while, I had a few publishing houses get back to me who were interested. Olympia Publishers were the first, and I was overwhelmed to think that my book was becoming a reality instead of just a dream. This was my first publishing experience but an extremely satisfying one thanks to Olympia’s team of professionals. They guided me through the process from beginning to end and made the whole journey for me a smooth one. I really didn’t realise beforehand how in-depth the publishing process was. I worked with the Production Team who created the editorial design and layout for my illustrations and manuscript, and then I was introduced to the Marketing Team for publicity and publication.
When I opened my box of books……….I was so thrilled that I danced like a two-year-old on a sugar rush. To say I was ecstatic would be an understatement!