I always loved a good story. There is nothing more delicious than hearing a well-told story read out loud by a story-teller. Perhaps this way of devouring and visualising the story comes from my childhood.
I was the youngest of six, and my older sisters used to read me Milly Molly Mandy by torch-light at night. Often I fell asleep before the chapter finished but they’d have to recap the next night. It was so comforting.
In my teens, I discovered I was quite good at making up stories, too. I remember my mother read one of my stories about climbing out the bedroom window to go to a party. There was no convincing her the story wasn’t based on reality. I was grounded. Oddly, even 30 years later, she was not buying my innocence. I decided to take it as a compliment. I was a storyteller and I was hooked.
The visual aspect of a story is very important to me. I love writing picture books and graded readers for this reason. It is such an exciting process – having the story you have dreamed up brought to life by the skill and imagination of a wonderful illustrator. Seeing your story presented in a little book is magic!
However, the love of writing does not necessarily lead to publication. The rejections are many. I may have given up years ago if I had not been encouraged by other writers walking the same path.
I strongly suggest that anyone wanting to be a published writer should join a writer’s group where you read your stories to others and get their honest feedback. It makes you brave and resilient, but most importantly, hones your writing and keeps you going. And, of course, you make some trusted friends along the way.