My first ever book is coming out soon. Just to hear that sentence makes me smile because I still can’t quite believe it. It’s a children’s book and I was inspired to write it when our son was struggling so much with his reading. At night he would get cross and hide the books we were reading the night before or simply refuse to read. As a copywriter and avid reader myself, this was worrying me. I knew there had to be a way to engage him with stories and stop him feeling so anxious. So, I took it upon myself to write a story he would like to read.
A different approach was needed
After speaking to his teacher we discovered he has a mild form of dyslexia. Which is why the big pages of text in books like Harry Potter and Mr Gum, the sorts of books his peers were reading, were just too much for him. I spoke to an Educational Psychologist about it and she explained it’s because the pages are too text heavy, making it too difficult for him to read. It needs to be broken down a bit… which gave me my idea!
The light bulb moment
On a week when freelance work was quiet I took my laptop to a café and started to think about a story I could write that also worked as a play. Creating no more than four characters so we could share reading out loud together, my first story, ‘Football Madness’ was written. A bit of a light bulb went on in my head, a bit like that moment when you’ve cracked a difficult brief. I started to get excited. That night I tested the story out on my then 8-year-old son and he loved it. He even told me off when I accidentally read one of his lines. He was engaged form start to finish. This was brilliant.
A new concept in children’s stories
Of course, if this works on my son, there must be other parents out there struggling to read with their children so maybe this would work with them? Stories that are engaging enough for older children and just long enough so they go to bed with a satisfying conclusion as their head hits the pillow must surely work. This is when ‘Read a Play’ the concept was born.
Pinch me, a publisher said yes!
I approached a publisher who happened to be a friend of a friend and they snapped it up. I know getting a book published isn’t meant to be this easy but almost exactly a year after my first story was written, ‘The Spaceship Saga and Other Stories’ is now available to pre-order on Amazon and will be in my grubby hands the first week of January. I’m still pinching myself.
The future of ‘Read a Play’
My hope is that I get to write a whole series of ‘Read a Play’ books and parents and carers across the world enjoy doing silly voices and reading these short bedtime plays with their children. At least, this is the dream. For now, book one is out soon and I am happy with that… and you can order it here!