The Monster’s Tea Party was my first foray into serious story writing, aged 7. The accompanying pictures (which I drew myself!) admittedly looked a bit more Muppets than monsters, but I took great pride in creating a new chapter every week. And I discovered that I loved – and had much more talent for – rubbing out pencilled-in sentences to replace them with better ones. These days, thankfully, I work with a professional illustrator. Colour choice and an ambitious vision for the finished images are probably all that I should be contributing on that front!
Creative writing and language, helping people and the natural world are the three things I adore most in the world. So, stories that support, educate and offer up a moral or important message are my particular leaning. During a 20-year career as a consultant, lecturer, writer and translator, creative writing was both a part of my work and also my hobby. And then one day, I was walking past a park… and Hector came along. Within the space of just a few weeks, Tyler and Penny had joined him and what was to become The Little Helpers series was born.
With governments around the world and the United Nations highlighting the importance of educating children about the environment, it seemed obvious why Hector and his friends had come to find me. I’d worked with children in many countries. Being a linguist, I thought it would be fabulous if the characters could travel the globe and help children learn about looking after their environment and each other in fun, innovative ways. I therefore set to work on publishing the first book “Hector Helps Clean Up The Park”. I approached a couple of translator friends to see if they might help and they loved the story enough to translate it for me. And then more translators appeared… and more… until suddenly, Hector had been translated into 12 languages!