Another month has flown by and it’s time for another 5,4,3,2,1 Things guest blog. This month it is children’s author Josie Dom. I’m so excited for this one! Over to Josie!
I’ve only ever written for my own blog before, so it is an honour to be asked to write for RowRow and Kades. My pen name is Josie Dom and I’ll keep my real name a secret for a little longer – those that know me, know, those that don’t, don’t need to know! Did you follow that? Well done! I love playing with words, and from my love of words and my love for my children my writing career was born. It all started when I began reading stories to my baby boy, 12 years ago, and my baby girl, 9 years ago. At the time, I just enjoyed embellishing the stories I read to them, making up rhymes and stories for the fun of it and to entertain my children. I would create stories at bedtime based on their demands. Once in a while I would write a story or poem down and squirrel it away with the vague thought of “one day …”. That one day happened in 2013, when I wrote “Lum” which has become my first published book. It did take quite a few years though, published in 2016, with my second book due to be published in Summer 2018.
RowRow and Kades asked me to join in with their theme of 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and it’s a pleasure to share my numbers with you.
5 stories I have written which I hope to publish
1. My Hero This story has been inspired by my son, who has helped me so much with his (usually) positive outlook and will hopefully make my son, and other children, realise that they don’t have to do anything except “be there” for the people in their lives.
2. Brave Brian is the story of “little Brian” who in his friends’ eyes becomes “brave” when he finds a rhino and returns it to the plains of Africa. As Brian and his friends live somewhere in the United Kingdom, this was no-mean-feat!
3. Superstitious Shaughnessy and Beeblieboo is all about a mouse called Shaughnessy who is very timid. Beeblieboo is an alien who has (inadvertently) stolen Shaughnessy’s favourite stone. Their story tells of how Shaughnessy overcomes his fears and becomes friends with the alien. I’m hoping that Shaughnessy and Beeblieboo will go on to have lots more adventures together. Years ago, when my husband (who is now my illustrator for the Lum stories) was a teenager, he created a mouse and I might just have created a name and a story for him now.
4. Taxi Driver is a series of stories, which I’ve written in both rhyme and prose but cannot decide which I like the most. The taxi driver in the story has a magical car which can take him to amazing places where he has lots of adventures. He’s been on adventures with a witch, a spaceman, a farmer and visited such places as the moon, a zoo, the jungle and a chocolate factory.
5. Why …? is another series of stories, this time based on nursery rhymes which we all know and love. There is Why Were There Ten In The Bed?, Why Did The Cow Jump Over The Moon?, Why Is Wednesday’s Child Full of Woe?, and Why Did Goosey Goosey Gander Throw a Man Down The Stairs? The main character in the stories is an Investigative Journalist (you don’t get many of those in children’s picture books!) who spends time researching these quandaries and reporting them to children. If you have a nursery rhyme that you want investigated, do let me know.
4 children’s books I loved when I was young
1. Winnie the Pooh by AA Milne – well he’s everyone’s favourite bear, isn’t he? As well as still having my book from my own childhood, I also have now bought quite a few Winnie the Pooh books for my children. We’ve even got the first stories on CD, and regularly have those playing at bedtime to lull my daughter to sleep – it works for me too!
2. The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton – I was such a big Enid Blyton fan, moving on from these to The Famous Five and then Mallory Towers, all of which I read avidly and loved. But my Enid journey started with The Magic Faraway Tree. When I had my own children, I genuinely thought I had imagined these stories in my childhood until one day came across one in a charity shop and the stories came flooding back to me. Needless to say, I bought the book, and have since bought the whole series. I’m on the look out for The Mallory Towers books now as it would delight me if my daughter loves them as much as I did, and will give me the chance to read them again.
3. Richard Scarry’s Best Rainy Day Book Ever – if you ever had a Richard Scarry book you’ll remember the cute animals going about their busy lives. This book was actually an activity book, but it was so precious to me I don’t think I ever wrote or drew in it.
4. Hilda Boswell’s Treasury of Poetry was given to me as a gift. The illustrations are whimsically beautiful and I think that is what drew me to love this book. I would read and re-read the poetry and daydream over the pictures. In fact, in the writing of this blog, I found a second-hand copy of this favourite online and ordered it straight away. I’ll be having my own little nostalgia-fest when it arrives.
3 people I am proud of
1. My husband who has supported me by illustrating my books and allowing me time to pursue this new career.
2. My son who tells me he is proud of my stories and doesn’t mind sharing them with his friends – he even asked his teacher if I could read to his class when he was in Year 5 and really they were all too old for Lum.
3. My daughter who loves every single story and poem I write and takes after me in her love of books and writing. I think she’ll become an author, in her spare time of course, as she firstly wants to be an archaeologist.
2 schools I would love to visit
1. Holy Trinity in Halstead, which was my primary school many years ago.
2. Soaring High Montessori in Coggeshall, as I am interested in seeing this teaching style in practice.
1 reason I am doing this
1. I wanted to be able to help others and for this reason, 15% of profit from every book sold is donated to charity. My first donation was made in January 2018: £229.37 to Brainwave, who help children with disabilities and additional needs to achieve greater independence by aiming to improve mobility, communication skills and learning potential through a range of educational and physical therapies. More details can be found on brainwave.org.uk.
As well as publishing my children’s stories, I also go to primary schools for author visits, which can either be in the form of reading stories and doing activities based around the story, or alternatively in the form of “Imagination & Creation” storytelling workshops. If you’d like to find out more about me, please get in touch via Facebook or my website. I’m also occasionally on Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram (but really only just getting to grips with these social media channels, so please bear with me).