I PUBLISHED MY FIRST BOOK DURING LOCKDOWN

When the worst thing happens do you freeze or reach for the stars? For Natalie it was a no-brainer.

My passion for creativity and writing has been a constant throughout my life. Still, sometimes things happen that truly inspire us to take risks and share our creations with the world. For me, that realisation came with the Lockdown.
 
I started writing for children after having two of my own, Ellie Rose, now 6 and Nathaniel, seven. They are constantly pushing me into exciting, new worlds. Jumping into fairy tale landscapes for the afternoon or going for a picnic on the moon. It was only natural that these places started to appear in the pages of my books.

Working with groups such as The Women’s Organisation and The School for Social Entrepreneurs, I learned to focus and structure my writing and, eventually, to publish it. With their support, I founded my first social enterprise, Split Perspectivz, in February of this year, just as the world began to close its doors.

I am creating innovative, thought-provoking books, using storytelling as a tool for healing, confidence-building and growth. It’s more important now than ever, as families stay home. Connectedness, balance and wellbeing are things we are all aspiring to right now.
 
Though friends called me crazy, I decided to launch. I needed something I could control. Something positive to keep my emotions on track. Definite goals to enable me to weather whatever came my way. The idea that this could have a positive effect on so many families made it all worthwhile. Though funding opportunities dwindled, I pressed on. The news filled up with tragedy and worry and I wanted to even the score a little and try to give hope.

I launched my first book, My Mummy is a Monster on May 5th. This book explores the theme that there are always two sides to every story. Understanding why people do what they do brings acceptance, forgiveness and peace.

My second book, Ben and the Bug, hit Amazon on May 16th and went to number 1 in two categories overnight. It was so wonderfully unexpected, and a joy to know my decision had been a sound one. The new book really seemed to strike a chord.
 
It was inspired by spending such extensive periods amongst family and picking up on subtle signs that my kids were struggling to adjust to this new world. It was clear that while they were oblivious to the whys and whens of it all, they knew that there was a giant question mark hanging over us. The C words was a topic we once avoided, but as it turned out, honesty served us much better.  Perhaps children all across the world were feeling precisely the same way. By helping them understand something, we often take away the fear of it.

COVID. Corona. Quarantine. Lockdown. These words that now surround our surreal existence. I didn’t want them to become triggers, planting subconscious fears in young minds. I tried to find ways for families to discuss Coronavirus in a light-hearted yet informative manner. The result was Ben and the Bug
 
In the book, Ben meets Bug at the swing park, instantly becoming the best of friends. Ben notices everyone around him getting sick and wonders who Bug really is, and how they can stop the spread of this mysterious new virus.
 
Ben and the Bug encourages a family-friendly approach to discussions around Coronavirus. A way to understand the pandemic without the doom and gloom. The book is packed with little facts that pop up along the way.
 
Children need to know what is happening in the world, and Ben and the Bug covers all the bases. From teaching proper hand-washing techniques to superhero science mums, this book educates through creativity in a way families can enjoy together.
 
Was it the best idea to launch during a global pandemic? The answer’s pretty simple. When the alternative was paralysis through analysis, or to surrender and wait it out… Wait… And wait some more? Truly I have no regrets.

Sure, there have been ups and downs, tears and laughter, but aren’t there always? I now have something positive to share. That’s a win for me. I hope by launching in the midst of the madness, I can show that while some things inevitably change, others stay the same. We will get through this together, one step at a time. 

Words: Natalie Reeves Billing www.lollipoplodge.net

My Mummy is a Monster is out now on Amazon.