Sunday, 29 November 2015

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Dad's bedtime stories inspire Cumbrian woman's children's books

Bedtime stories told by a father to his daughter when she was young have inspired a range of new children’s books.

Fiona Woodhead photo
Fiona Woodhead and son Max

Fiona Woodhead of Asby, near Lamplugh, created and self-published Once-Upon-A-Slime, a series of picture books about her sons Max and Arthur and three slugs – Slitter, Slatter and Slutter.

The first run of the original book sold out, prompting further print runs, and Fiona’s second book called Spindler the Spider is out this month.

Her original idea was to create a Christmas present for her father Howard Bouch, inspired by the stories he used to tell her and her siblings when they were children.

Fiona became a product and graphic designer after her time as a pupil at Keswick School. She turned her hand to writing and illustrating the picture books while she was on maternity leave in 2010 following the birth of her second child Arthur.

She said: “I had the idea for my dad for Christmas.

“My dad is a father of four and it was his role to tuck us all up in bed and tell us a bedtime story. It was either a Richard Scarry book or a made-up story about three gruesome and funny slimy slugs.

“These stories used to make us roll about in bed with laughter when the slugs had such horrid adventures that mainly focused around dog or cow poo!

“So I set about writing and illustrating a picture book for my dad’s ultimate Christmas present.”

Fiona added: “The story was a long way from what the book is now but the characters of the slugs remained consistent.

“After sending a few copies off to publishers and agents and receiving very complimentary letters about the book, they were all actually rejections.

“My dad and I pondered about what to do. It seems a far-fetched idea to actually get a book printed and into the shops.”

Fiona and her father decided to pay for a small print run to show shops and schools.

Further print runs have been approved since the first copies sold out.

Copies of Fiona’s books are on sale in Touch Wood, Keswick, and The New Bookshop, Cockermouth.


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