It feels like only yesterday since “Food from an Irish Garden” was launched. In my wildest dreams I didn’t think it would be so well received. That it has become a beginners bible for many starting on the road to growing their own food is truly an honour. I was so fortunate that the reviews were all great and in no time “Food from an Irish Garden” was an Easons Best Seller. Any author will tell you that the months after the launch are a whirlwind of interviews, talks and demonstrations. It’s great fun. And then you have to decide what you are going to do next. My sensible head told me to write the follow up – “Gifts from an Irish Garden”. This was the most obvious direction with my little notebook already packed with ideas. I was approached to consider writing a memoir (oh lads, seriously who’d want to read that!) and I was also approached to collaborate on a cookbook. There was no shortage of offers and options.
But there was another idea in my mind that wouldn’t go away. I wanted to write childrens books with a food provenance message. I wanted every child to know that their potatoes come from the ground, not the supermarket. I wanted every child to know that milk comes from cows and goats, not a factory. So I did some research with school teachers. It still came as a shock to hear that there are young children out there who didn’t know that their chips came from a potato.
But childrens books? It is, without doubt, one of the hardest markets to break into. God knows I’m no JK Rowling! So I researched some more. I surrounded myself with a brilliant team, and found a way to turn all the reasons I couldn’t write these books into reasons why I should.
I always follow my instinct so why not childrens books?
During this time I had many conversations with my mother about my plans. She shared ideas she had had many years ago for childrens books. One thing led to another and Freddy Buttons was born.
Freddy is the main character in my new series of childrens books which will be launched in June this year. Seriously, I think I love him almost as much as my own children – how mad is that?!
Through a series of adventures, Freddy will encourage children to think about where foodstuffs like eggs, honey and apples come from.
Of course this wouldn’t be possible without the help of so many people, but this week, I’ll mention just one. Derry Dillon (no relation) is the genius responsible for the illustrations in my books. That I’m getting to work with someone so incredibly talented is still hard for me to fathom. Of course he thinks I’m slightly bonkers but we work really well together and it’s fair to say I would be lost without him. I can’t wait for you to see his work on the entire series.
There are so many elements to this new project and I am really looking forward to sharing them with you over the coming weeks. This is without doubt my biggest undertaking yet. It’s terrifying and exciting in equal measures and to have this plan come to fruitition is truly a dream come true.
Stay tuned over the coming weeks for lots and lots more exciting news about the new series of Freddy Buttons books.