Sunday

Where I get my story-telling inspiration - Hey, What's the Big Idea

One thing I am not good at is promoting myself.  Other people, yes for sure and I love it.  There are so many interesting and creative people in Brighton that writing about other people is easy.

When it comes to my own endeavours, despite writing it for my niece (that's my inspiration); setting it in one of my favourite gardens and writing about some adorable little scamperers, my efforts to tell people about my story pretty much fall flat.

Scanning my emails tonight, 78 unread (I've got to learn how to unsubscribe to things) I came across one from the Mumsnetter gang, which read, here's your chance to meet a children's publisher.  Go on Sarah, they said, enter the Big Idea competition and add your link!  
Ok, so the email didn't quite emphatically address me personally, but that's what I understood. 
 
~ Brighton Pavilion Gardens ~
It all started with a commission from my brother for a book for his 3 year old daughter Olivia. From there I just had to come up with an idea and it didn't take me long to decide on a story about squirrels for the content. During daily walks through St James' Park in London and Brighton Pavilion Gardens I loved watching the busy-ness of squirrels - approaching people for nuts, jumping through trees and generally scurrying around.
~ Alfie the Squirrel ~
It was at this point at a family meal a chance conversation led to an offer from my aunt to produce some water colour illustrations for me. So, with that, I had the commission, a hero, an illustrator and now all I needed was a story.

Then one day in October, while walking through Brighton Pavilion Gardens I noticed that the grass had gone. Well, I thought, what would Alfie make of this (because he now had a name).

So, I took some photos, to accompany the story and started to write the tale for Alfie, I mean Olivia. The story completed, I received some water colour illustrations from my aunt Joy, which were fantastic and I was delighted.

Further good fortune meant that by chance I happened to be walking through the Pavilion Gardens at the very time the men on the quad tractor came to lay a new lawn, giving me the perfect opportunity to take more photos.

Finally, I needed to work out how to put it all together and a friend at a Brighton Writers meet-up recommended Blurb to me. I found out I could design the layout myself and publish online.

After a few proto-types, one flew across to NYC for Little Miss O to preview.  



Finally, I published Alfie the Squirrel as an ebook on Blurb and I think so far it has sold about three copies at a price of 99p.

Dedicated to my three beloveds, Olivia, Max and India, the story is accompanied by some wonderful water colour pictures by my aunt Joy.  Please check it out.  

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