Our second installment of our 16 part series on inspirational stories is written by author Angela O'Donnell for dandi London and how she created a children's book series.
Angela O’Donnell – Children’s Author
My passion for books began at an early age. My mother worked in a bookshop for most of my childhood and was always bringing home newly released children's books that publishers had supplied to the shop as samples. For me delving into a book, whether that be a picture book in the early years or novels in my teens, allowed me to escape into a world of fantasy, adventure and make-believe. My favourite authors at the time were Enid Blyton and Roald Dahl. Enid Blyton because of her well thought out adventures involving the famous five and Roald Dahl because of his fantastical stories and wonderful colourful illustrations.
It was these books that I took the most inspiration from when deciding to embark on writing my own children's book. Whilst on long walks around the countryside with my sausage dog Fred, I began to wonder just what crazy adventures he might get up to when I went to work. Escaping out of the cat flap (lets face it he is the perfect size to fit through!) and causing mischief and mayhem on a daily basis. Within a couple of months the first book was written, Fred ’n’ Friends, A Woodland Adventure. The hardest part was finding the right illustrations for my story. I searched long and hard and spoke to hundreds of illustrators until I found the perfect one in Timm Joy.
We are now five books strong in the series and during this time Fred has ventured to the seaside, canal, farmyard and even traveled on a steam train! I’ve loved every bit of the last 5 years since starting the series. Both myself and Fred have been to countless schools and libraries over the last few years and it’s listening and hearing the joy the books have brought the children that is by far the most rewarding. From BBC and local radio talk shows to magazine interviews, every day is indeed very different. For Fred however, it’s just another day of attention, strokes, cuddles and treats!
The Fred ’n' Friends Series is available through amazon by clicking this link and all good bookshops.