This news has been a long time coming. My little publishing company, R&D Publishing, named after my two daughters, Rose and Dotty, and originally set up to publish and market my own books, is in the process of launching the writing career of its first signed author.
Hetty Backstage is the debut children’s book by Lowri Madoc.
It has always been my intention to grow R&D Publishing beyond my own titles and for the last couple of years, I’ve been busy trying to find the perfect author to work with.
As part of this search, I’ve collaborated with numerous aspiring authors, both in-person and online, while running a training program designed to help people write and publish their first book.
Through the execution of this course, it became very apparent to me that while many people dream of becoming an author, very few have the “stuff” to follow through on their dreams and deliver a completed manuscript.
I met Lowri in a very modern setting — via a Zoom meeting room. She was introduced to me by a friend and a previous attendee of one of my training events in Gibraltar. Our first meeting almost didn’t happen. I had foolishly forgotten about the time difference between the UK and Gibraltar and joined the meeting late.
Lowri wanted to write a book (with plans to expand into a series of books) about a young girl who attended boarding school during the week and would follow her famous parents around various theatrical settings at the weekend.
It was quite a simple idea — the best ideas always are — but I wasn’t initially sold on the concept. This probably had something to do with the fact that more than half of the aspiring authors I had met over the years were “working” on a children’s book set in a boarding school. If this was going to work, it would have to be something special.
Lowri certainly had something special up her sleeve. Unlike most of the other writers I had spoken to, she had actually attended boarding school and could, therefore, produce an incredibly authentic account of the life of a weekly boarder. But the authenticity of her story didn’t stop there. She also had two famous parents, who she would follow around British theatres, TV studios, and film sets at weekends.
Lowri was introduced to me by her married name and so it wasn’t immediately obvious to me who her parents were and she didn’t reveal their names until I enquired. It turns out Lowri’s parents were a huge part of my childhood. In fact, if you watched British television in the 1970’s and 80’s, you’ll know exactly who they are.
Lowri’s mother is Ruth Madoc, who is perhaps most famously known for her role as Gladys Pugh in the 1980’s situation comedy Hi-De-Hi. Her father was the late Philip Madoc who many will remember as the U-boat captain in Dad’s Army — “Don’t tell him Pike.”
Hetty Backstage is undoubtedly semi-autobiographical and I’m looking forward to seeing how the series develops to include many of the stories about Lowri’s unusually entertaining childhood she has shared with me while working on her manuscript — a highlight for me being a flight to the Isle of Man on a light aircraft with The Grumbleweeds.
Lowri later went on to work in theatre management, again allowing her to create a detailed illustration of the workings of the entertainment business. The moral of the story is, write about what you know.
As the story of young Hetty developed, Lowri pulled another ace from her sleeve — she was a talented artist and was keen to illustrate the book herself. Her simple sketches really brought the story to life and helped to create the perfect design brief for our cover artist to work on. This in itself is another story of discovering authentic talent.
While the manuscript was in its final stages, I’d been giving some serious thought about who would design the book’s cover. I personally know a handful of great designers, each with their own unique styles but wasn’t sure if any of them could create the perfect image.
I don’t really believe in luck but sometimes you just cannot explain your good fortune any other way. Unaware that I was looking for a cover designer, my partner Sarah (who also edited the book) showed me a painting that she’d recently commissioned from a young artist who had once attended the same dancing school as our daughters. I knew straight away that I had found our designer.
The artist absolutely nailed the brief and not only created an image that worked well with the interior illustrations and would appeal to the target market but also somehow, despite never having met Lowri, managed to capture her spirit so much so, that a close friend told Lowri that is how she imaged the author looked like as a young girl.
It’s been an absolute pleasure collaborating with Lowri on Hetty Backstage and I hope the reader enjoys sharing it with their children as much as I have enjoyed the entire process of publishing it.
Lowri Madoc’s debut children’s book, Hetty Backstage, is available now in paperback and ebook editions from your local Amazon store:
Amazon UK — https://amzn.to/2TSXBtL
Amazon US — https://amzn.to/2TTSny1
Amazon CA — https://amzn.to/2MdlBn3
Amazon AU — https://amzn.to/2AhS09s (Kindle Only)
Amazon ES — https://amzn.to/2M8u2A8
Amazon DE — https://amzn.to/301aO7V
Amazon FR — https://amzn.to/2ZPy48L
Amazon IT — https://amzn.to/2XHGzzV
The audiobook, narrated by Ruth Madoc, will be available soon.
R&D Publishing is actively looking to work with inspiring and authentic authors across a range of genres. For more information about submitting your manuscript for consideration, please check out our Facebook page.