Get to Know Author Kay Fletcher

March 25th, 2021
We at Little Steps Publishing posed ten questions to the wonderful Kay Fletcher, author of Baby Dreamer and his Clever Friends!

Where did your inspiration for Baby Dreamer and his Clever Friends come from?

From making up stories to get my own little Baby Dreamer to sleep! I originally told our son stories I had made up to soothe him to sleep, along with singing him some lullabies. Sometimes I would get carried away though and tell him tales of dragons and magic that excited him more than settled him down for bedtime. So, Baby Dreamer became his story, how it felt to be a baby falling asleep and making sense of everything he was seeing, hearing, everyone he was meeting. I used the things that were familiar to him in the story, his bedtime bear Biff and the red blanket with the yellow dinosaur embroidered on it that he took everywhere with him. 
During lockdown I took the opportunity to write the story out, there are three stories about Baby Dreamer in all – so two more to come! I wanted to give people the opportunity to create time together, to share stories, listen to each other and learn from each other.

How does your role as a counselling practitioner affect your writing?

Perhaps counselling children and being a parent gives me a chance to see how we affect our younger people, the impact the world around them has on their sense of self, relationships, life choices, learning.  I aim to be supportive of a growth mindset, creating a space where families can have quality time with each other. There are so many demands on family time, it can feel like a juggling act to get the basics done – telling and sharing stories should bring us together and help us learn about ourselves and each other. 

What was your favourite childhood book and why?

Ooh, good question! So many books…I loved reading and I loved being read to. I remember mithering my mother constantly to read Brer Rabbit to me before I was school age and then reading Lassie and Black Beauty stories as I got older. You can see a theme here can’t you? Anything to do with animals really. I felt a deep connection to all animals and nature, however I could get very involved in the story. I am sure my family would groan inwardly when they saw me pick up any of these books, they knew tears would follow at some point!

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

No, I wanted to be a space pirate! Then a singer, actress, sorceress…journalist, archaeologist, historian, sociology lecturer, religious education teacher, vet, electrician…  As you can see the list was ever changing, I just didn’t know what I wanted to do, possibly, looking back, I struggled to keep it to just one thing – I wanted to do so much!  However, I have always loved writing, using the written word to try and make sense of myself and the people or world around me. I have always told stories, even as a child, making tales up for my friends to make them laugh or cry. They only cried because the stories themselves were sad tales and called for tears I hasten to add! I have always written, I just never thought of myself as a writer – until now!

Who is your biggest inspiration in general?

My family. My husband, son and mad Labrador. I wrote a blog during the first lockdown about us all being home together and how we coped, interacted. Again, I made sense, or tried to make sense, of what was happening by using the written word. My family are supportive of all my adventures and my son is aware he is the inspiration for Baby Dreamer and his Clever Friends. One of the next stories for Baby Dreamer has a dog theme and lots of my pets, past and present, were the inspiration for characters in that.

I know it’s not exactly a ‘who’, more a ‘what’, but I have to add nature as a big inspiration too. Protecting habitats, ensuring wildlife survives and that animals and mammals thrive and are respected. The sense of awe and reverence that nature gives me, the magic and history I sense there. I can feel another story coming on!

How long did it take you to write Baby Dreamer and his Clever Friends?

When our son was small it existed in an oral form for years, but then, as he got older, I forgot about it. It wasn’t until someone gave me a small book with a sparkly purple cover covered in mirrors and beads that I started thinking about writing it down. Something about the cover made me think it should be home to a children’s story! Also, this lovely little book was a present from a child.

After writing the story out from memory, I then spent weeks editing it – imagining the pictures I wanted to go with it. I was very lucky that Emma Middleton, the illustrator for Baby Dreamer, brought my characters to life in just the way I had imagined them. Weeks turned to months as I tweaked bits of the text and story, but I think I considered it finished after about three months of constant revisions.

What is the most challenging thing about writing?

For me, it is finding the opportunity to write the things down that go through my head. This always seems to happen when I have nothing to write with or on, or when it is not polite to suddenly start scribbling away. I have a pen and paper by the side of my bed as very often ideas will keep me awake unless I can write them down. My husband is bewildered by all the scraps of paper and post-it notes stashed around the house.  ‘Why can’t you write them down in one place, in a notebook?’, is his constant refrain as I moan, yet again, about misplacing the smallest piece of paper with some important inspirational idea on.  

What do you get up to in your spare time?

Writing! But I do have other loves, such as listening to music, walking – taking photographs is another passion of mine, and I try to snap away as I walk. Being with my family is important, making that effort to share time together. Visiting new places, especially if history is involved – we hope to visit Italy and see Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius! Reading is still something I enjoy and playing with my dog!

Who do you think will love Baby Dreamer and his Clever Friends?

I hope the book will appeal to children just starting to read and enjoy the written word and to those wanting to read their own Baby Dreamer a bedtime story. I think schools may also find the message of sharing stories to instil a love of listening and learning an important theme to discuss and build upon.

Tell us an interesting fact about yourself!

Well, I don’t know about interesting but certainly not many people know that I enjoy playing Fortnite on  Xbox!  I’m just not very good at it…

A big thank you to Kay for sharing such wonderful information with us!
You can find Kay on Facebook, Instagram, and on her website.

Baby Dreamer and his Clever Friends

When Baby Dreamer falls asleep, he visits Baby Dreamland. At Baby Dreamland, his friends Eviekins Bunny and Barnie Bear are always there to talk, share stories and create new ones. Baby Dreamer discovers the joy of listening and learning.
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Tags: kidslit, picture book, publishing, self publishing

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