Advocate Author Showcase: Helen Poole Nov 08 2013


Have you ever aspired to have your very own book published with your own words and imagination immortalized in print. Here with the help of the LaB team we are able to turn those dreams into a reality. Following a successful illustrative career Helen Poole wanted nothing more than to have her very own book published, and in 83 days and counting Helen's first title "Clara's Crazy Curls" hits the high street, infact it is available to pre-order if you are inspired to pick up a copy. We wanted to take this opportunity to share Helen's experience to prove that anything is possible if you put your mind to it. If you are inspired to come up with your own ideas please contact Caroline at [email protected] to begin the journey.

"For as long as I can remember I have always wanted to be an author-illustrator. I have been fascinated by books all my life having been taught to read before starting school. My favourite books as a child were the 'Mog' series by author-illustrator Judith Kerr, 'Topsy & Tim' books and anything by Enid Blyton. I was always drawing as a child, particularly cartoon characters and have always known I wanted to illustrate books for a living, but as I found writing stories equally as enjoyable, my ultimate dream was to combine both. In primary school, one of our teachers used to give us a single cut-out illustration for us to stick in our books and would then ask us to invent a whole story around what we imagined was happening in the picture. This kick-started my love for creating stories! I have fond memories of those lessons and I still think it's a great exercise in producing ideas to this day. My very first purchase from the school book club was a poetry book for kids by Spike Milligan called ‘Unspun Socks from a Chicken’s Laundry’. I loved that book so much that I still know some of those poems off-by-heart and it remains a firm-fixture on my bookshelf today! That’s when I developed my love for rhyming stories and started writing my own rhymes and drawing little accompanying characters. I adore the books of Julia Donaldson, Giles Andreae and Claire Freedman and always aspired to have my own rhyming picture books published one day. A few years ago I joined a creative writing course at my local college and one of our projects was to write something with the title ‘Backwards’. This is when I first got my idea for 'Clara’s Crazy Curls'. I thought about what would happen if our hair grew up instead of down and actually wrote the very first verse of the book for that homework. I didn’t submit that idea in the end but it stuck in my head and refused to go away so I started to develop the story. I had a strong vision of how Clara would look from the outset and created a sample cover and presentation sheet with a snippet of the story which I gave to my wonderful agents to show to publishers. I was absolutely ecstatic when I heard the news that Capstone wanted to publish it! It was so much fun to work with the design team and editors and watching the ideas from my head slowly come to life as illustrations. Seeing the final PDF of the finished book was really wonderful and it’s amazing seeing it available to pre-order online now! I’m hoping to receive some samples of the book from the publisher very soon - I cannot wait to hold it in my hands for the first time! I have since written a few more stories which are currently in development and am working on my first chapter book too, so hopefully this will be the first of many in the shops! Watch this space!"