I love writing for children, possibly because I have always enjoyed children’s literature. As a small child growing up in the 60s and 70s we didn’t have computers or smartphones and although we did have a television, viewing was strictly controlled as it was at that time seen as an evil influence on children. In our family we were allowed to watch Jackanory which came on just after we got back from school and it featured a celebrity sitting in a really comfortable chair reading a story. There were no animations although they might show the illustrations. But basically, it was simply a story being read beautifully. It was a treat. In fact, my mother would say “If you’re good, I’ll read you a story.” I think nowadays in most homes it is a ‘given’ not a treat. This is because children read a lot themselves and it was quite normal to take a book to bed in the way that perhaps nowadays children watch a TV in their room. I was really lucky in fact and had a lovely Lloyd loom chair in the bay window of my bedroom next to a radiator.
We used to travel a lot in the car in Europe because my Dad worked for a US company and Europe was the market he was responsible for so in the longer school holidays we would join him on business trips which in those days meant driving rather than flying also it was easier to cart all our paraphernalia about I expect. In the car for hours we would listen to story tapes (yes cassettes!) and songs which we’d sing along to.
I had a successful career in Market Research before becoming a writer and when I made that decision I did several courses at the Open University: Creative Writing, Advanced Creative Writing and Children’s Literature. I honed my skills on Elance as a jobbing writer, and soon found myself ‘invited’ to apply for jobs. One of these was writing the Queens of Africa stories to accompany the dolls which are right now selling more than Barbie in the US. I find that so exciting.
It’s taking quite a while to see any books selling and to be honest this is rather frustrating as the dolls are being heavily promoted with no mention of the books which as a writer, I find quite upsetting because you know how small are royalties are and because the Queens of Africa project takes half the royalties, the remainder split between myself and the illustrator means writing is not a lucrative business but you know that as a writer yourself I expect! Luckily my publisher MX Publishing is very supportive of the project and of their writers so I’m hopeful that we’ll soon see some sales. If you want to have a look at the books please checkout the MX website or my own bookshop or of course Amazon etc
In the meantime, I am involved with another self-esteem for children project, this time in the US. It is the JNP Self-Esteem Movement and together we are co-writing children’s chapter books with titles like Truth, Kindness, Forgiveness. It’s a team effort and I’m amazed at how well it works. We meet up on Skype every Thursday afternoon and develop the next few chapters. In between, Kathy Szaj writes it up and drops it into our Google Drive where using different colour fonts we each add our feedback which is discussed on our call.
On Upwork I have been editing other people’s children’s books and I am about to write another series of books for a new client. You can find my Upwork profile here with my portfolio.