Hi there, Readersmagnet.club asked me to write a bit about myself and my first self, published book: “Sofia Lily Rose and her Magical Prose” for inclusion to their Authors Lounge, so here we go.
What is my book all about?
Sofia Lily Rose, aged 6½, goes for a walk in her local park, with Granda Jimmy and Koby, her little black and white Jackawawa dog. She happens to come across a Fairy named Rosella, whom she brings back to life by showing kindness. Rosella thanks Sofia and gives her the gift to talk to animals – but only in rhyme! So starts Sofia’s adventures, learning all about the animal kingdom and their homes, told by the animals themselves, in their own words and accents!
The book provides loads of interesting facts about animals and uses Sofia’s new friendships with “less exciting” animals such as flies, bees and crabs to explore real, current issues in sensitive, funny ways. It touches on the importance of friendships, promotes the virtues of kindness and the helping of others less fortunate than yourself, explains the importance of looking after animals and their habitats and teaches us that it’s ok to be different. All of this is done in rhyme with a smile!
What inspired me to write the book?
That’s really simple. First and foremost, my gorgeous, talented, kind, humble, helpful Grand-daughter Sofia Lily Rose. I wanted to give her something that would boost her confidence, give her a little legacy to pass to her kids and to help with her street cred in school! My other catalysts were the many friends and family down the years telling me to “give it a shot” after hearing my many poems and rhyming anecdotes read out at weddings, anniversaries, leaving do’s and funerals etc. I loved bringing tears to people eyes through laughter and sadness, all in the same sentence. This plus the fact that I had always been a frustrated storyteller trapped inside a Chemical Engineers body, gave me the impetus when I semi-retired at 55, a few years ago!
What is my target audience for the book?
My target audience is 3-8-year-old kids plus Mums and Dads, as I like to plant a bit of adult humour in there. The perfect age group is 5 to 7-year olds as they get to read it unaided, can transport themselves into Sofia’s situations with ease and they get the hidden messages!
What do I hope readers could get out of your book?
Entertainment, laughter and lessons in life. I want them to get immersed into the world of rhyme and try some writing and rhyming themselves. I also want the parents to like it enough to buy the next book in the series! 😊
What are my future goals/plans for the book?
I would love this book to put smiles on kid’s faces, all over the world, especially as it is linked to the charity Smiletrain. The book is the first in a series of 7, taking Sofia all around the world with Koby the dog, to explore animals in countries where we have lived or visited as a family and she can hear what the issues are from each of the animals – literally “from the horse’s mouth”!
And something about yourself.
After 35 years as a Chemical Engineer, Culture Change Consultant and Trainer, I recently took semi early retirement and made a leap into the world of writing books and poetry at the youngish age of 55 and so far, it has been a phenomenal journey. I have had a fantastic life to date and been privileged to work and live in over 40 countries, immersing myself and my family into many different cultures and customs, stretching from Saudi to Sweden, America to Australia and Jordan to Jarrow, thus making my kids a more than average “worldly” bunch! This work path, unbeknown to me at the time, has provided an amazing palette of colourful experiences to feed my ongoing writing frenzies and teach young children a bit about different countries, cultures, friendship and animals and the need to look after our environment! Oh how life pans out in unexpected ways!
I was brought up in a poor, working class, loving family of 4 boys, in the heart of the North East of England and as a result, I am a Geordie lifelong Newcastle United supporter living in hope each season. I was taught to value family, politeness and to say “please”, “thank you”, “I’m sorry” and “how are you” and have respect for the elderly. My Granda Jimmy Garrett, a poorly educated school leaver at 14 and British soldier in WW2, was and still is, my real life hero. He was the wisest and funniest man I have ever met and he taught me 3 life lessons:- Never forget your roots; Don’t get too big for your boots; Always keep a sense of humour. He has been my rock throughout my life well after he left us too soon and my author’s pen name is a lifelong tribute to my hero, Jimmy Garrett.
I’ve always had a thirst to write unusual, poignant, funny and sometimes edgy poems and I am indeed a big kid at heart. I love it when my work makes people laugh…and cry and as a typical Piscean, I am arty, trustworthy, dedicated, sensitive, emotional and very intuitive. I never break a promise and I am that guy who stops traffic to help an elderly lady shuffle across the road – in the hope that someone will help me in the not too distant future! I believe in the afterlife and saw 2 UFO’s when I was a teenager! I love animals and hate any form of animal (or human) cruelty. I played football and table tennis at quite a high level and made it into the Guinness Book of World Records as a teenager oh and I have hairless shins! What? Yep!