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How the story began

It really was one those random thoughts. I sat there with my new granddaughter in my arms, thinking normal proud grandfather type thoughts and then for no reason I recalled when 16, reading that Tolkien wrote Lord of the Rings for his nephews, and sent it to them as he completed each chapter ( no idea whether I remembered correctly !). My immediate thought though was what a grand idea to write something for my amazing little girl.

I thought no more about it, not in any real way, other than it would involve a girl and a dragon,  until visiting my brother and family in Spain two years later. My dear niece Nicola was having a tough time and had given up any form of art or any interest in painting, which was such a shame. So as we walked along the beach one afternoon, I offered her a deal - I would write the children’s story that had been percolating in the back of my mind since that day I held my granddaughter in my arms, if she would illustrate it.

And so there I was, sitting in Gibraltar airport thinking, my dear Nicola is so excited by the idea, I had better do something about it. Fortunately, and probably the only time I will ever say or think this, the flight was delayed for 3 hours. Suddenly I had the time and desire to put my story into words.

Of course, I had no idea then of the headaches ahead. Nor the worry when I sent the story over to Nicola, hoping she would think it worthy of her drawings. But what left me stunned, bowled over, speechless with pleasure was when I first saw Nicola’s drawings.

 

I had always known she was gifted, but hadn’t realised exactly how gifted. Her drawings are so full of life and depth. Then the real journey began. Testing it amongst family and friends and the most nerve-wracking review, would our friends 5 & 7-year-old children like the story? The relief that a resounding “yes” came back, was a remarkably gratifying moment that I won’t forget quickly!

 

Then the need to publish straight away, after all, trying to find an agent would take time and Imogen was growing so quickly. I printed it locally (so many steps and lessons to learn along the way) and a big step forward when the manager at our WH Smith agreed to stock my book. Early success has meant stocking in one store has led to the offer of a second and then a third and so on.

But one book needed more. A second book printed and then Imogen grew out of them. Time for first chapter books and then middle grade books. An emigration to New Zealand and three more books later, I decided to focus on short stories for radio. This has proved such fun. I have been commissioned by Suzy Cato and friends, award winning children’s radio show for 18 Imogen and Roari stories. I write, record, compose the music and produce them. The next challenge seemed to be audiobooks. Fresh lessons to be learnt and now, three audio books (two of my books and one radio play) and a podcast have been published.

I have two unpublished books, a children’s book - some very encouraging reviews by children to whom I have shown the manuscript and a historical mystery novel set in Regency England. I am now writing a new series for Suzy Cato's award winning children’s show, , a novel, and …. well there is always more.

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