Early life of a children’s author
I was born on the 14th January 1943 and lived in a small cottage in Stanhill, Lancashire. Most of my father’s wages went into the local Working Men’s Club so my Mother had several jobs to “Make ends Meet”. One of them was to take in sewing, and I used to help her. When I was about 10 years old I made dresses for a little old lady that was as wide as she was tall. She gave me 10 shillings a dress, so that helped the housekeeping. At this time we got a new Headmistress at the village school and the first thing she did was segregate the children in her class so that only the children from rich parents were educated and the ones that she classed as poor were put behind a fire guard. If we tried to escape she stuck pins in us to stop us from getting out. Eventually she was sacked but already the damaged was done. I never caught up to the level I should have been, having missed a year of education.
As a teenager I didn’t have much money so I made all my own clothes. I always stayed in fashion from tight skirts made in black and white gingham to dresses with lots of net underskirts. The best part of being a teenager in the 50’s and 60’s was the music. Rock and Roll, and of course Elvis. I have wonderful memories!
For my first job I worked in a cotton mill. It wasn’t what I wanted to do as I had been offered a apprenticeship to become a tailor. I was told that I would only get married and have kids so it would be better to start to earn some money.
I moved to the Isle of Wight when my first husband who was a Prison Officer was posted to Parkhurst Prison. It took me two years to settle because in those days there weren’t any supermarkets and the corner shops were expensive. I had to go to the mainland to buy the school uniforms for the children.
I married my second husband Roger in May 1982. He already had two daughters and as I had two sons and a daughter we became one big family. Roger also had his own tree felling and fencing business, So I taught myself to type and became his secretary. When the Island was devastated in the 1987 storms we worked all night for weeks to clear all the damage that had been done and I used to take food and drink out to the gangs that were working during the night.
After all the hard work during the storms of 1987 and 1991 Roger developed a heart problem. He was advised by a Cardiologist to sell the business and retire. We already had a villa in Denia, Costa Blanca, so in 1993 we sold our business and retired to Spain. After living there for 18 wonderful years, we thought it was time to come home to be with all the family, which we did in 2011.
The one thing I loved most about Spain was not only how friendly the people are, but the food is so good and fresh. There is nothing like buying fresh fruit and vegetables from the local market in the street or having a cafe con Leche in the village square.
I have always loved poetry but never written a book before. A couple of years ago when we were on the beach in Sandown I suddenly said to Roger “I want to write a children’s book”. I think he thought I’d gone crazy, but when I said that I wasn’t sure what animal to use, he straight away said butterflies. Thinking of my Mother, I said “Of course, Granny Butterfly”. That was how I started to write children’s books and my first book I wrote in a week.
I have self published my books using Grosvenor House Publishers, which have helped very much and of course my illustrator Brian has been wonderful and is very talented with the beautiful illustrations he has done.
First and foremost I want children to get off their phones and iPads and see all the wonderful things that nature has to offer them. One of the most wonderful creatures to see are beautiful butterflies fluttering by. As a child I spent most of my time out in the countryside collecting wild flowers and herbs with my Grandmother. There is nothing better for children to do than to get outdoors.
Apart from having my lovely family, the most magical thing that happened was sailing into the wonderful Island of Bora Bora, French Polynesia with the turquoise sea below and after lunch on the beach seeing the leftovers being fed to the stingrays swimming close by.
The one book that I would recommend is The Secret by Rhonda Byrne. I have read it several times and each time I have learned something new about life and it has helped me so much.
The one message I would like to share is that everyone deserves a chance in life whatever their colour, creed or backgrounds. Even though my level of education was very poor, I have still managed to do something that I am very proud of by becoming a children’s author.
Who is your favourite children’s author?