Last Wednesday was a very special day in my fledgling career as a writer. In the glorious surroundings of Norton Priory, I was joined by friends and family, for the official launch of “Tales from the Woodpecker Tree” and, for the first time, read my stories to an audience.

Any pre-event nerves were quickly dispelled by the excitement and enthusiasm of everyone around me and I soon realised that they were all willing me to do well. I had my book in my hand and I knew that I believed in and loved those stories, and I was going to revel in sharing them.

I had decided to start with “A Duck for Dinner” as I knew that it was a firm favourite with the children who had read it and this was followed by “Rock Star Tiger”. As a teacher I’d had a great deal of fun with Chester the tiger and the character of a cheeky, lovable tiger had always been a success with the younger children. Since featuring in his own story, Chester’s naughty side has blossomed and as he performed for his audience, I found myself thinking that more stories have to follow. However, don’t tell Chester; he’d be unbearable…

“Koji’s Smile” was the first story I wrote when I was beginning my journey as a writer. The tale of the little boy who learns that there is beauty in the world around him, to enchant and delight, carries a message that was a very important one to me. One of the main reasons I chose the Woodpecker Tree as a title, was to convey the belief that children need to be taught to love the natural world and learn from it. As the children left last week, they were all clutching a tiny box to collect treasures in; I hope they will do so and remember, with a smile, the day they found those things.

Team work. Writing is a solitary occupation and something I enjoy, being a person who is often content with her own company. Yet getting the book published has taught me how important it is to be part of a team. The support of the family team, the inspiration and advice from the team of friends and colleagues, and the guidance of an expert team in the publishing world: Team Author UK.

The next stage in the journey is to work on the next book. What next for the Woodpecker Tree? A young squirrel who has daring adventures deep in the forest? A dog who learns about friendship and sharing with the help of a bright-eyed blackbird? A girl whose journey from inner city to country village, is heading for disaster, until she finds the ospreys? All ideas, whizzing around in my head; it is time to start writing.