Once upon a time, I was working in practice as a small animal Veterinary Surgeon. I already had a baby daughter called Olivia and my husband Matt and I were fortunate enough to be expecting our second baby. Before long (around 9 months I believe!) Poppy, our second baby girl, entered our lives. My husband was having to travel overseas a lot on various business ventures back then and so we decided that I would take a back seat and stay at home, to raise our 2 very young girls.
Well, it could only have been 6 months or so from taking a career break from Veterinary Medicine, when one of the main characters in my ‘Whimsy Wood’ children’s series for 5-8 years old, appeared in my head all by her little self! This particular character is called ‘Posie Pixie’ and she is terribly persistent! Extremely loveable, but very persistent nonetheless! With Posie chattering away to me about all her exciting adventures in the enchanting Whimsy Wood, I really had no other choice but to sit down and start writing her stories.
I didn’t consciously think that I was going to start writing for children during this interlude in my Veterinary career. It just happened. I know that sounds rather strange but that really is the only way I can explain it. I didn’t have to think of a name for Posie, as in my peculiarly wired brain, she was already called that. This was similar for many of my Whimsy Wood characters.
Perhaps my subconscious had been busy for a while creating my 35-book children’s series, as I can see a number of influences in my woodland stories. These influences range from my favourite books when I was a child (Enid Bylton’s ‘Far Away Tree’ collection and Jill Barklem’s ‘Brambly Hedge’ series to name a few), to the places we spend a lot of time frequenting now as a family. There’s also my Veterinary background and my love for all animals, so I guess these fabulous furry creatures were always going to feature in my whimsical children’s books.
When I finally sat down and penned Posie Pixie’s Whimsy Wood adventures to paper, I discovered how much I absolutely love writing and getting lost inside my own imagination. Before I knew it, 6 months had passed and I had 4 decent Whimsy Wood stories. Since I had discovered a passion for writing and I had 110% belief in the Whimsy Wood Series that I had created, I didn’t want to give up on it. So I decided to ‘bite the bullet’ and start submitting my manuscripts to literary agents and publishing houses.
This was the beginning of an almost 3 year roller coaster of rejection, followed by picking myself up, rewriting my stories and resubmitting them. To cut a very long and soul-searching story short, I was finally taken on by Abela Publishing, a small publishing house based in Sandhurst, England. My much desired author’s contract with Abela Publishing arrived in January 2013 and book 1, ‘Posie Pixie And The Copper Kettle’, was published in July that year.
We are now 3 years on and book 9, ‘Fearne Fairy And The Chocolate Caterpillar’, was launched on July the 2nd 2016. You’ll notice that the main Whimsy Wood character has changed from ‘Posie Pixie’ to ‘Fearne Fairy’. This is because the 35 books in my Whimsy Wood Series are divided into 5 sets of 7 books. The first 7 stories are all about Posie and her adventures in Whimsy Wood. The second 7 are about Fearne. As for the rest of the books, well you’ll just have to wait and see!
Well that’s all from me for now. I hope you’re enjoying the summer and wishing you a wonderfully whimsical weekend! 😊
Sarah Hill, children’s author and creator of The Whimsy Wood Series.