Monday, 16 June 2014

World Cup Wonder

The World Cup has well and truly begun!  If you are a football fan you will be glued to the screen for every game and I can visualise many parents trying to find ways to amuse their children during the matches.  It's been interesting in our household to watch the girls asking their Daddy questions about the teams, etc.  Ella, my eldest daughter, approached me earlier with a pouty, sad face saying, "Portugal didn't score 1 and Germany got 4!  And we've got Portugal at our school!"  The schools in our area, and probably around the country, have been allocated a team to watch out for during the World Cup.  Maybe it's the Education Authority attempting to get our children interested in the 'Beautiful Game' because, let's face it, in many households they may not get a choice!

Now I personally am not really watching yet but I am sure that if England do well I, like many other English people, will 'jump on the band wagon' so to speak and suddenly take an interest.  I used to be an avid football supporter and knew the dates of every fixture, every team member, what strengths each player had, etc.  But for some reason I lost interest and I'm not sure when that happened...

So with the build up to the start of the World Cup recently something happened and it wasn't what I expected.  Maybe it was the thought of endless nights of football being on the television absorbing the attention of many.  Or maybe it is just a coincidence.  But I suddenly felt really inspired...

To those who follow me closely on my blog, twitter or my facebook page you will have noticed my lapses with the world of social media and blogging.  I don't know why this happened but I do think I needed a little time out.  So I have been a bit like Czechoslovakia in the 2014 World Cup: absent!  Maybe the players were too busy reading about Larry the Liger in Prague to bother training hard enough to qualify... who knows?!  I have been gathering my thoughts after completing a series of ten Larry the Liger stories.  I have written so many stories over the last three years, with the Anastasia stories too, I think mentally my brain needed a little respite break. 

I think I also needed to work outside of the house as my writing journey has kept me within these four walls.  So recently I have been working in a job that is very, very part time, helping out with exam invigilating at a school.  I was hoping for inspiration and was looking forward to working with real people around me again!  It's been a positive experience and I look forward to doing it again in the future.

So back to my point about the build up to the start of the World Cup, well I really wanted to share more of my writing for children again.  I had done a reading of one of the Larry the Liger books to a preschool in a nearby town and they listened wonderfully and enjoyed the stories and some asked me, 'Where are the pictures?' despite me having large Larry poster boards to pique their interest.  I explained the images were in their heads and many got this concept and described some things well.  I think it started a little cog in my mind that began to whirr from that moment on.  My stint of working outside the home also made me realise that I enjoy the world of writing and sharing stories for children.

I wrote some children's poetry a few years ago which I only ever shared with family or close friends.  I read through them once again recently and realised I had to share them and they had to be picture books.  Now, don't get me wrong, I wrote Larry the Liger stories as chapter books because I wanted to spark the imagination of the reader with the descriptions and this has been received well with young readers.  When I read to a local primary school last year they loved the stories illustrated purely by the text.  It was magical to see.  The poetry I am speaking of now, like Larry, would also be enjoyed by children of all ages because the poems encourage awareness of the world around us.  With Larry his image was burned in my mind from the lovely covers illustrated by Des Campbell and I know my eldest daughter could visualise everything as she read the stories and that is Larry's gift.

But... to produce a picture book would be wonderful and do you know what?   I may well to do it!  I am in talks with Des about working together again and I have such a good feeling about it.  I will obviously let you all know about this new writing journey and I am really looking forward to sharing news with you all... 

As if my renewed motivation wasn't enough Larry the Liger has been selling well, very well indeed!  He is currently number 1 through number 8 in the chart on Amazon for Children's books>Animals>Zoos!  Maybe it's because parents everywhere are downloading the stories to keep their children occupied during the World Cup or maybe it is just Larry's time to shine.  Whatever the reason it feels grrrreat (sorry!)  So all that effort, all the hard work I put into not only researching and writing those stories but also the hours of marketing are finally paying off. 

It is a wonderful feeling and for those of you who aren't sure what that might feel like... well it's a bit like how many would feel if England win the World Cup!  My writing journey is continuing and I'm taking a gentle bend in the road in my stride.  Good luck World Cup teams.  Come On England!  And Go Larry!

(While spell checking this post it did strike me as ironic that the blog spell checker does not recognise the words 'blog', 'blogger' or blogging'!)