I cannot describe the puffed-out chest and butterflies when my first book was published. It was something I did not expect to happen, and I can assure you that my father and a couple of my schoolteachers would not have believed it.
The real beginning of all this was when the owner of Erhman Tapestries contacted me about supplying them with a counted sampler to be stitched on linen. I think they had seen my designs in Liberty of London and wanted to test out the counted rather than printed market. I have to say that they were not pleased with the response as their customers liked printed canvas projects and did not want to count!
Hugh Erhman featured my sampler in the Daily Telegraph, and it was this that was spotted by Vivienne Wells, one of the commissioning editors at David & Charles Books. In the middle of all this excitement, I gave birth to our whoops-a- daisy baby Louise Estelle. who arrived on her due date and was a bit challenging from day one. When Lou was only six weeks old, I drove to meet this Editor and to discuss the book which became known as Cross Stitch Castles and Cottages.
To cut a long story short (I know, I do a lot of that…), I set about writing a book, learning to type and cope with a baby who yelled from 6pm to 10pm every evening. Poor thing! I have no doubt that, in retrospect, she was hungry, and I was doing too much. I had been completely unprepared for the amount of work involved in preparing a page plan of the book, creating the charts for the printer and writing the manuscript. Even today, I know that I will underestimate what is needed to write a book and, with 25 books under my belt, I should know better than to be tempted to do it again.
There is no denying the thrill in being published and later in my authoring, I was thrilled to see my books appear in other languages – it is strange to see even your name translated!
These days, I am happy to say that I publish my own titles so I can please myself on the subject matter, on how the cover appears and what is included in the pages. Four of my books, either self-published or still in print are tucked in amongst my treasures and I am happy to sign and dedicate any title if you would like it. (Make your request at Checkout.)
It is an odd – but happy – feeling to be both international and jurassic!