Monday, 8 August 2016

Meet a Writer Monday Presents...

...Sarah Hill

1. Tell me about your book Fearne Fairy and the Dandelion Clocks and where you got your inspiration for it?

'Fearne Fairy And The Dandelion Clocks' is the 8th book in my 'Whimsy Wood' children's series for 5-8 year olds. There are 35 books in my award-winning series. These are divided into 5 sets of 7 books. Each book is written specifically for a month in the calendar, so the flora and fauna within the wood, change as you read through the series. Finally, there is a proverb hidden within every story for the reader to find, giving it real meaning. We also support The Wildlife Trusts by donating 10% of 'Whimsy Wood' book sales to this very worthy charity.

The first set of 7 books concentrated on the adventures of 'Posie Pixie' within 'Whimsy Wood'. Book 8, 'Fearne Fairy And The Dandelion Clocks', is the beginning of set 2, where 'Fearne Fairy' takes on the mantle of 'leading lady'. Now book 1, 'Posie Pixie And The Copper Kettle', happened to be written for the month of August, so if we follow the months along in the calendar, this means that book 8 is of course written for the splendid Spring month of March.

In woodlands here in the UK, there are many fabulous flowers that are emerging in March; daffodils, primroses, wood anemones and dandelions for example. You'll find all these mentioned in the story and illustrations of 'Fearne Fairy And The Dandelion Clocks' and it was mine and my children's love for blowing these delicate, almost magical dandelion clocks, that gave me the inspiration and indeed the title for this 8th 'Whimsy Wood' children's book.

2. Do you find your social life hampered by your writing life?

No, I don't find my social life hampered by my writing and the continuing creation of my 'Whimsy Wood' children's series. What social life in fact?! We have 3 young children ageing from 7 and a half, to 2 and a half years old, so between looking after our tinkers and writing, I'm too tired for a social life!

3. How do you feel about public appearances? Do you do them often?

I often get invited into primary schools to run woodland-related literacy and craft activities. For book launches and signings, the publisher of my 'Whimsy Wood' series, 'Abela Publishing', tend to arrange for them to be in book shops. I really enjoy all these public appearances and spending valuable time with my readers. Children have such a wonderful, free way of thinking and they tend to speak their mind, which is refreshing and constructive.

4. What do you plan to do next?

The next book in my 'Whimsy Wood' children's series is written for the marvellous month of April. Easter often falls in this month, so the title for this 9th whimsical book is 'Fearne Fairy And The Chocolate Caterpillar' of course!

5. How do you motivate yourself to keep writing?

I don't have any difficulty in motivating myself to write, as I absolutely love getting lost inside my own imagination! I also have 3 young children, so my writing time is precious. Whether I am in the mood to write or not, I always sit down and write something during the time I have set aside to write that day. That way time is never wasted.

6. If all the worlds a stage, where does the audience sit?

They sit comfortably on the clouds!

7. What was the last picture you took with your phone?

The last picture I took on my phone was of my son Monty. He is 2 and a half years old and the youngest of my 3 children. In this photo, he had been helping me drizzle chocolate icing over his daddy's birthday cake! You can imagine our son's face, hands and jumper were dramatically decorated in dark brown chocolate!

8. Do you have anyone you go to for advice? In person or Online?

I have a writing coach called Suzanne Lieurance who sends me (and many other writers) positive, supportive and constructive daily emails called 'The Morning Nudge'. Writing can be quite a solitary existence, so I find these daily emails really helpful. I am also a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). This is a fabulous group of like-minded literary folk and their annual UK conference in Winchester is always brilliant.

9. Are you still learning who you are?

I don't think you ever stop learning who you are, as humans are constantly evolving creatures.

10. Glass half full or half empty?

I used to be a 'glass half-empty' person until I met my husband. He is a very positive person and I guess from being with him, some of his positivity has rubbed off on me! So I am certainly now a 'glass half-full' person.

11. Why did you choose to be a writer?

Well in truth, I didn't! I went to Bristol University here in England to study Veterinary Medicine and I qualified as a Vet from there in 1999. I then worked in practice for 10 years and at that point our second daughter was born. My husband was travelling overseas quite a lot with work then and so I decided to take a career break to stay at home and raise our very young girls. Within 6 months of being at home, 'Posie Pixie', the main character in my first 7 'Whimsy Wood' books, appeared in my head and she wouldn't go away. She's terribly persistent! So I really had no other choice but to start writing about her adventures in 'Whimsy Wood'.

After 3 years of writing, editing, submitting to publishers, writing, re-editing and submitting some more, I finally received my author' contract with Abela Publishing in January 2013. 'Posie Pixie And The Copper Kettle', book 1 in my 'Whimsy Wood' series, was published in July 2013. Book 7, 'Posie Pixie And The Pancakes', was published in June 2015.

12. What was the last book you read without skipping through anything?

Well, I'm not one for skipping through a book. If it doesn't grab me after a while, I confess I put it down and start reading a different book. There are so many wonderful books to read and so little time to do it in you see! The last book I read that was a real page-turner for me was 'The Gates' by John Connolly. This fantastic book was sent to me from Warm Vellum Books as part of a 3-month book subscription service that I had won! If you like authors such as Terry Pratchett and Eoin Colfer and enjoy books allegedly for children but are just as good to read as an adult, then this is for you! Equally, if you're stuck for present ideas for a bookworm, then I would highly recommend Warm Vellum Books, as their subscription service was truly wonderful.

'Fearne Fairy And The Dandelion Clocks' is the 8th book in the award-winning Whimsy Wood Series for 5-8 year olds. There are 35 books in the series and these are divided into 5 sets of 7 books. Each enchanting book is written for a specific month in the calendar, so the flora and fauna change as you read through the series.
'Fearne Fairy And The Dandelion Clocks' is written for the marvellous month of March, so you'll read about white wood anemones and yellow daffodils and you'll meet Raspberry Rabbit, Bertie and Beatrice Bunny as well as Fearne Fairy.
These delightful woodland folk will take you on an exciting adventure, where sharing and teamwork play a crucial role in solving Fearne's dilemma. As for what her dilemma actually is, well, I couldn't possibly say! You'll just have to read 'Fearne Fairy And The Dandelion Clocks' to find out!


About Sarah

'Sarah Hill is a children's author and a small animal Vet. She gained her Veterinary Medicine degree at Bristol University in 1999 and worked in practice for 10 years. At that point she had her second daughter and soon after, she decided to take a career break. She was writing her 35-book 'Whimsy Wood' children's series, at home in Wiltshire (with her husband, their baby son, two daughters, two dogs, two cats and "a partridge in a pear tree"!) for a good 3 years, before her work was taken on by Abela Publishing, based in Sandhurst, UK.'




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