Today Tailored Yarn launches its first children’s fictional adventure story called Postpixie Missing in Action. This is a captivating and beautifully illustrated story about friendship; teaching children about empathy, confidence and perseverance. It is fourteen chapters long and suitable for children aged five to ten. I have read the book at my children’s school and it received a great reception. It has fifty pages of coloured illustrations which have taken years to complete but the results are breathtaking.
The story itself was inspired by a friend of mine who was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy, a rare muscle wasting condition, at the age of eleven. She worked as a hospital dietician and enjoys baking. We meet up for lunch every week and have read countless books together over the years. It was her idea to make the theme about the importance of depending on one another in a world which teaches us all about being independent.
The tricky part is that I am raising the money to cover the publishing costs through a kickstarter campaign which is an all or nothing platform. To get this charming tale, of pixies and woodland animals, onto the shelves in family homes, we need to hit a realistic and achievable target. I am selling my artwork for the first time along with copies of the book itself. I will mainly be relying on friends and family along with social media. It would be amazing to have a little help with publicity on this platform where I have read some amazing articles and met wonderful people through a local netwalking group.
A lot of people, after reading my profile, have contacted me to say I love the sound of what you are doing. For those who do not know, I write and illustrate meaningful bespoke stories for families with cancer or other terminal illnesses. I want to use my creativity and passion to make a difference in people’s lives when they face tough times. I have found this positive response so encouraging and I hope it means you might help me promote this book, campaign and business to get it off the ground.
So here is the exciting part: you can make a difference to this campaign and business without it costing you a penny. Just share or leave a comment on this article and the posts that I create over the next few weeks. By doing this you become part of this story. Your influence can make a positive difference in the lives of families with cancer and other terminal illnesses by helping this small voice be heard above the noise and traffic.
Not many people know that I struggled to get through English at school with the help of a tutor. Then I chose mathematics, avoiding essay based subjects at university. I was not actually diagnosed until adulthood, due to high grades in other subjects, masking my disability. As part of Dyslexia Awareness Week I thought I should reflect on how this disability has impacted on my choices in life. As an aspiring author and illustrator of children’s fiction, it can be risky and require an ounce of courage to admit, what some people might mistake as a weakness or failing, but I see as a strength and challenge.
While it may have lengthened the process, making it more challenging to write stories, I learned through studying psychology, that it may also be responsible for fueling my creativity. My diagnosis of dyslexia has helped me gain access to support enabling me to pursue academic qualifications with a strong dose of perseverance.
Initially, I lacked a lot of confidence in my writing ability but have been encouraged by attending a local group called Riverside Writers where at the beginning I used to enjoy listening to the stories of others but was too nervous to share my own work. This group has helped me develop my skills in this area and over the course of three years. With the help and support from my friends, family, fellow aspiring authors, several librarians, an academic tutor and a professional editor, I would not be where I am today. I am delighted with this outcome, being on the brink of publishing my first novel and enjoying the process of writing it more than anything else I have achieved.
I therefore created and identify with Reuben, the dyslexic fairy in my story, who muddles his spells. See the illustration above. I am keen to help dyslexic children in school to realise their full potential. It does not need to hold you back in life.
A few weeks back, I attended a book signing with the previous Children’s Laureate (2015-2017) Chris Riddell, with his latest book Guardians of Magic from the Cloud Horse Chronicles. The venue was my local independent bookshop Linghams in Heswall, who have won many awards over the years for all the effort they have put in to encouraging readers, promoting authors and hosting a multitude of interesting literature events on a regular basis.
If I am honest, as an aspiring author myself, I felt quite nervous and in awe of meeting someone who has not only achieved success in the field but also been officially recognised for his effort and lifetime work. Two things made this book signing really special for me. Firstly Christ Riddell took the time to illustrate each book with a picture of a bear as well as his name and secondly he put everyone at their ease by chatting comfortably to them while he sketched and signed. He was incredibly down to earth. It really was an honour.
My children are thrilled with the book and I have made a short recording of them talking about it.
Thanks to Linghams, for hosting this wonderful event. I look forward to returning and hopefully participating in my own book signing for Postpixie Missing in Action which is due to be released next month.