Today, I’m featuring a truly amazing woman who, despite the odds, has transformed her life completely – with inspiring success! Also, scroll down for a link to her free ebook download – available today, Thursday, March 10 through Saturday, March 12!
Q. Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your books.
A. I currently live on a small peninsular called The Wirral, in North West England. I only began writing and illustrating in 2013.
It’s really not a career path I ever planned on taking. I have a BSc and a PhD in Chemistry, and I enjoyed working in a laboratory. I had to leave that kind of work behind many years ago, due to problems with my neck that surgery sadly failed to fix. I have managed to fight my way back to being very active again some of the time (I rock climb, hill walk and swim with a snorkel), but I am unable to sit on chairs, or to look at any type of desk in order to work conventionally. My daily life also has to very much revolve around my variable pain levels.
When my husband won an iPad in a competition, I discovered that I could type and draw rudimentary pictures on it with my right hand, all while lying on my left side. I often had to hold the iPad steady by balancing my right leg up in the air, so I initially found drawing quite a challenge.
Since then it’s been a steep learning curve. It sometimes amuses me that I gave up lessons in both English language and art as soon as possible when at school. These are the two main subjects that I now use every day, and that I am constantly trying to improve my skills in!
I enjoy writing in rhyme, and after initially experimenting with poem books and Early Chapter books, I wrote my first proper rhyming picture book at the start of 2015. All of my children’s books are credited to both me and a team of cuddly toy book writers, called the “Top of the Wardrobe Gang”. Odd Sock, below, is one of the team.
I never even considered sending manuscripts away to traditional publishers, and learning how to self-publish has been yet another adventure. It puts me in control of everything, which I like.
Q. Tell us something about your greatest success and your latest success.
A. I think my biggest achievement so far has to be writing and illustrating a total of seven rhyming picture books in 2015. It was a lot of work, and it took me many hundreds of hours to accomplish. I had promised my husband I would slow down in 2016. I’ve already self-published two more in the series, though, and I’ve also just finished illustrating the first book in a new Beginner Reader series.
In July 2015, Amazon introduced “Kindle Unlimited” bonuses for the children’s illustrated books that were “borrowed” most each month. So far, I’ve been lucky enough to receive bonuses for one or more of my rhyming picture books every month since. I guess I also see that as a small success, and an indication that I’m going in the right direction.
Q. That’s fantastic! What has been your greatest challenge?
I think learning to illustrate has been my greatest challenge. The fact that I do all of my illustrations on an iPad, while lying on my side, has its own unique set of challenges. The fact that I also do not believe that I have any natural artistic ability has made things even harder.
I’m proud of how far I’ve come with my illustrating, and I like to think this proves you really can do anything you put your mind to, if you have enough determination. (I suspect “natural artists” can produce illustrations far more quickly than I can, though!)
Q. What are your plans for the future?
A. I shall certainly be continuing with more books in my Rhyming Picture Book series, and, for a bit of variety, I have plans for about 5 or 6 books in a new comic-style Beginner Reader series. Beyond that, apart from constantly trying to improve both my illustrating and writing skills, I’ll wait and see how things unfold.
BOOKS BY MELINDA KINSMAN AND THE TOP OF THE WARDROBE GANG
1. Don’t miss her FREE EBOOK March 10-12, 2016 http://getbook.at/Ragnar1 Book 1 in the Ragnar Rabbit series
2. All 9 of the “Top of the Wardrobe Gang” Rhyming Picture Books can be found on this Amazon series page:
Our latest release, Molly Mouse And The Bear Cub, is a gentle bedtime story about a tiny mouse who helps a scared bear cub. You can find it here:
3. You can find out more about the gang, and find links to all of our books, on our website:
4. COMING SOON: Look out for our new Ragnar Rabbit Beginner Reader Books!
Thanks for reading!