I’m excited to announce that I’m publishing the first novel in my children’s book series Lindy and the Fairies on Amazon on 5 April 2023. Sandals in the Snow is set at Easter 1977 and is now available for pre-order as an ebook. I’m hoping to get the paperback listed in the next few days, too. Keep your eyes peeled on my children’s novels page!
‘My name is Lindy, and I’m 10 and ¾.’
‘I’ve never had enough of anything – including money, friends, and brothers and sisters. Then my Daddy won some money on the football pools and bought us an old house. It’s really nice but needs a lot of work. But it meant I had to start a new school. Everyone else has known each other for years, and now I’m being bullied and no-one likes me.
‘Then Daddy took Mummy on a cruise, and my Nanna moved in to look after me. But their ship sank and they drowned. I miss them so much my throat hurts. And most of the money Daddy had left was spent on getting them home and buried, so now we can’t afford the repairs to the house.
‘And now my Nanna’s been taken ill. She’s all the family I’ve got, and I’m scared she might die too. Who would look after me if she does? If I could catch a fairy, would it grant me three wishes? Then maybe I could get my Nanna healed, stop the bullying, and get the house repaired.’
I wish I could tell you where the idea for this children’s book came from, but I honestly can’t remember. However, that spark, whatever it was, gave me Lindy’s voice almost straight away, and writing her stories has been a joy. It’s now a three-book series! Book 2, The Backyard Fairies, is due out in late May 2023. The third book, A Fairy in my Schoolbag, comes out in early September 2023. I’ve written them, but have yet to edit a single word. So I’ve got my work cut out to get them ready in time. I’ll say more about these books in a later post.
Q & A
Why these dates? Because the books are set at specific times, and these dates correspond with the dates in 2023. Sandals in the Snow starts on 5 April 1977. It was a Wednesday in 1977, as it is this year, and as this year, it was the Wednesday before Easter. I couldn’t find school term dates, but it suited my story for the holidays to start on Good Friday. As there wasn’t a national set date for school terms back then in the UK, I hope it’s believable enough.
Why is it listed now, and why on pre-order? Because my marketing strategy revolves around social media, especially Goodreads. Goodreads is set up to connect readers with books. So if you’re on Goodreads, I’d be really grateful if you’d take a moment to add the book to your ‘want to read’ list. Then all your friends, and their friends, will get a notification about the book on their feed. Hopefully some of them will like or comment, and the word gets out even further. If you could also like or comment, it’ll become even more visible. And on publication day, everyone who ‘wants to read’ it will get an email to let them know it’s now available to buy. Facebook is apparently also a good place to market a children’s book, as a lot of mothers use it. So I’d also really appreciate a share on Facebook, or any other social media.
It’s been quite a journey to get this book ready for publication, and the major sticking point has been the cover. I could have made the pre-order available weeks ago if it wasn’t for the cover art. The friend I originally asked to create it, Fiona Edwards, had a series of health challenges. These culminated in eyesight problems so she couldn’t see to draw. (Thankfully that’s cleared up now.) Luckily she’d already produced the image of Lindy at the bottom of the cover. But I had other ideas for the cover, so I asked another friend, who first said yes, then became too busy and felt she couldn’t get it done in time.
I panicked at that point! It was way beyond the date I’d hoped to begin marketing, and I didn’t feel I could sell it properly without a cover. That’s when Facebook became my friend. A quick appeal on my Facebook feed, and I had several offers of help.
One was from my talented sibling, Chael, who produced the image of Lindy drawn in the story by Maria. Chael even did a full cover version, but I wanted the image on the front to give readers an idea of what she looked like, and I much preferred Fiona’s drawing for that. Then Jo Pierotti came up with the images of Lindy with the cake tin and the lovely brownie. Her images pepper the book, and I think they really enhance the text.
So, later than planned but in time to market it before publication, the book is now on Amazon to pre-order as an ebook. Once I have the text ready so I know how wide the spine will be, I’ll add a back cover and make the paperback available.
For most of my writing career, I never thought I could write a children’s book. I thought I needed to be intimately acquainted with children’s lives as they are now. But here, I’m drawing on my own experience in many ways, having been about Lindy’s age in 1977. And I must have got something right! When my 11-year-old nephew read it and I asked him for feedback, he gave me a thumb’s up, then added a second one. Then he grabbed his mother’s hands and made her do two thumb’s ups. I said, ‘Wow, you liked it then!’ He replied, ‘I need ten thumbs, really!’
I know family will usually say your work is great, but that sounded to me like a genuine review. Marcus reads a lot, both to himself and to his parents, so his opinion means a lot to me. Everyone else who’s read it (all adults) has also given it warm praise, some of which is on the cover.
Ready to read it for yourself yet? Here’s the link again.