I’ve always been pretty creative. The charity I ran, A Way Out, won various awards for it’s innovation and entrepreneurialism. We pioneered a support service that had joy, creativity and innovation at its core. We created special moments and activities that sometimes, had no other outcome than to make people smile and feel happy. That was one of the favourite parts of my jobs I think. Seeing someone, a child or a young woman who had been through trauma, laughing and smiling. It’s such a gift to be able to do that for another human being.
I wrote my autobiography a few years ago about how I started the charity and some of my own life story. I had a publisher lined up but decided for a few reasons to put it on hold. The time has got to be right to put your life on display for all to see.
The journey of writing though, recaptured my passion for this art. Over the years I have written poetry and as a child, I would write short stories. It was my Mum who encouraged me to write a children’s book. It’s a perfect fit for my gift of story telling & creativity alongside my heart to make people feel happy & make them smile. I find writing exciting but also challenging. I suffer with mild dyslexia and I don’t think I could have ever even thought of being a writer, if spellchecker didn’t exist.
I started a couple of years ago and I am now on my way to finishing the first of a four book series called ‘The Imaginers’. It is aimed at nine year olds and above. So far I have written 50,000 words.
My relationship with The Imaginers has been up and down. I have absolutely loved writing and at times, I have felt like the book has written itself. There are days when I think it is going to be one of the greatest children’s stories ever written. Other days, I want to put it on a shelf and forget it exists. The story is a kind of dystopian fantasy fiction about a boy called Jack Little. He lives in a colourless world of strict rules, order, fear and control. One day his world is turned upside down by a new girl that starts his school. Leah Menyeatta is fearless, courageous and beautiful and Jack is captivated. They become friends but the more he gets to know her, the more of a mystery she becomes. Strange things and happenings seem to follow them. Eventually by accident he discovers her secret. She is not of Greykind. She is from another world and she is an Imaginer. Her and her family can use their minds to make things happen. Jack joins them and embarks on dangerous adventures as he learns to become one of them. To imagine. He will soon use his new powers to help the children save their land and the many children whose lives are at risk in both his world and theirs. It is not easy though. Book one see’s them rescue Leah’s sister from the clutches of an evil man, General Lathe who controls Jack’s world. It becomes apparent that although the rescue was a success, the war between the forces of Grey and of Imagine has only just begun.
I sent a synopsis to a few publishers and agents but didn’t get much feedback. I was beginning to lose heart when I had an 8 year friend review it for me. These were the words he wrote at the end of the book “Clap! Clap! Clap! It’s sort of like the story to be made to a movie… You have GOT (he put that in capitals) to make a number 2.
And so with my little friend’s encouragement I got out my lap top and began to work on it again. I sent it to a wonderful children’s writing academy called Golden Egg. I knew what I needed next was someone to work with me to help me develop the story, challenge me in the areas that need improvement and help me get the book in front of the right agents and publishers. Golden Egg Academy have many more people apply than they can work with so it was a bit of a long shot. Amazingly, they said yes. Next week I go on my first workshop and I am really excited. I’ve been working on the book for the last day and I am falling in love with the story again. Being in the academy is already giving me the focus I needed, its even made me brave enough to tell you all about it. I will keep you updated on how I get on.