We all have something amazing to offer
In 2002 I moved to Wanaka. I realised if I was going to stay here I was either going to end up working in cafes or restaurants for the rest of my life – or I was going to have to get creative.
Enter eleven years of trying this and that, working in this cafe and that restaurant and having two absolutely beautiful children.
Last year felt like a year to step it up. I volunteered to be one of the speakers at the inaugural ‘Inspire Wanaka’ TED-style talks, and spoke about having been selective mute as a child and my thoughts about the way we label ourselves and each other.
Whilst preparing for this talk, my brother asked if I would illustrate a children’s book he had written for his son, Ben. Of course I said ‘Yes!’ and I enjoyed it so much that I decided I wanted to do more of the same. I thought about my message that I was conveying in my talk – and realised how important it is for children to believe in themselves and to develop a strong sense of self.
Meet Katie-Jane …
Within moments Katie-Jane was born, and the ideas started flowing for not one book, but six. I had so much fun coming up with the story lines, and this flowed into creating the illustrations.
In October 2013, book one was almost ready to print. There was a slight stumbling block here – and that was money. I had no idea how I was going to come up with the $5,000 I needed to fund the first print run. We had been in a bit of a financial pit since building our house in 2009.
The wonder of Kickstarter …
With a stroke of perfect synchronicity, a friend told me that Kickstarter was launching in New Zealand in November. I put together my campaign and went for it with high hopes (and quite a lot of trepidation). For the record, I would not recommend launching a crowd-funding campaign with zero online presence or followers, no email list and only friends and family to rely on. But that’s what I did, and some how I pulled it off! $6,078 later I was home-free. The printers received my artwork and I set to waiting for the end product.
It was my intention to launch the book on my 35th birthday; February 8th 2014. Unfortunately, due to printers having long Christmas holidays and a couple of delays in the proofing process – added to the books getting lost twice on their journey from Auckland – this was not to be. Twenty five boxes of books arrived on 19th February 2014 and I have never been more impressed with myself!!
I am now the proud author-illustrator-publisher of three Katie-Jane stories, with more on their way! These are all available to purchase on this website >>>
Billy Books and beyond …
There is more to this story – the birth of Billy Books (reminding us all of the magical World that we live in), the first of which will also be launched sometime in 2015. Billy is based upon my daughter’s imaginary friend, who used to live in our garden and join us for dinner and playdates. Ashley sometimes asks where Billy went and why she doesn’t see him anymore. I long to bring him back to life for her, along with the magic that imagination provides us.
I also have a ream of other possibilities in my head. I love to write for and inspire adults too. You can expect my first adult’s book to be published in 2015. “I have something to say!” is a book about the hidden treasures I found inside my experiences with selective mutism.
I am SO EXCITED about where this story is headed, because as it has unfolded I have noticed that my creations are coming about in answer to wishes and intentions that I had asked for as a child. Remembering what I wanted – and aligning with that possibility – is an incredible process. I realise now that I am beginning to practice what I preach, as I move toward being the very best version of me!