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 sit and 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 ideas 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 Nicola 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 headache of trying to publish via a publisher or an agent was overcome by simply setting that option aside. After-all if JK Rowling struggled...!
But then the cold calling paid off when the manager at WH Smith agreed to stock my book. Even better he was keen for me to stand in the store promoting it. Early success has meant stocking in one store has led to the offer of a second and then a third and so on.
So here I am, an author and self-publisher, busily writing stories 2-5, a book for 8 and above and an online personalised book.
We live in exciting times.