I am a Liverpool-born children’s author based in Cheshire. For many years, I wanted to write a children’s book that draws on my own experiences and helps young children overcome personal issues.
One day, I had a light bulb moment. It dawned on me that porcupines have a very obvious defence mechanism where they show their quills, stamp their feet and chatter with their teeth when feeling threatened. They are also very cute, so perfect for a children’s picture book!
Unfortunately, due to traumatic events in my own life, I have also been defensive in situations where I didn’t need to be, and I was frightened to let people get close to me. The Problem With Poppy is a light-hearted and subtle way of teaching kids that while everybody has a natural defence mechanism, there is a time and a place to use it. By the end of the story, Poppy has learnt this valuable lesson and she makes a lifelong friend in the process.
The Problem with Poppy was published in June 2021. The second book in the Sumatran Trilogy – What’s Troubling Tawny? – was published in January 2022. Tawny is a lonely Sumatran rhino who longs to make a friend but is too shy to approach other rhinos. She also has body image issues. I wrote the book to gently encourage children to believe in themselves, to be comfortable in their own skin. I want kids to know that we are all shy and nervous sometimes, but with a little encouragement from a friend or family member we can overcome our fears and grow.
The third and final book in the Sumatran Trilogy – Hooray For Heidi! – is being illustrated by Olena Osadcha as we speak and will be published in late 2022. It’s a humorous and light-hearted story that celebrates teamwork and innovation as skills to overcome challenges in life, and how you should embrace both your strengths and your weaknesses and be proud of them as they define you as an individual.
All three books are endorsed by Rainforest Trust UK and I give £1 per book sale to the charity.