A children’s book that introduces the topics of science and geology to young readers! Not the easiest challenge, but that’s what one London-based mum set out to do. Rachel Beckles is the author of The Butterfly Princesses and we caught up with her to find out about her motivation for writing the book.
Melanmag.com: What’s your background?
Rachel Beckles: I originally trained as a primary school teacher, and I taught for six years. I’ve also previously worked for a children’s charity for two years before being made redundant.
MM: Why did you want to write this book?
RB: I have always loved writing children’s stories and have done so for the past ten years. I particularly enjoyed the Brothers Grimm fairy tales and wanted to create an original fairy tale that featured black protagonists.
MM: Why did you choose the topics of science and geology for your book?
RB: I wanted to somehow involve a subject that could spark an interest or hobby for young girls so I picked geology. I spent some time studying precious jewels and named the characters after them.
MM: What do you want children to take away from this book?
RB: I want them to realise that being able to share or give to others is a powerful attribute. It’s important to me that children understand that sharing feels as good if not better than receiving.
MM: The illustrations in the book are beautiful, were they your original vision?
RB: Thank you! I spent a considerable time researching illustrators and found Çennet Kapaç, who was able to read the story and then we collaborated our ideas to create the images, she’s amazing!
MM: Any plans to write more?
RB: Yes! I will be publishing another children’s book this year, along with a fiction novel and a non-fiction book.
MM: Did you experience any challenges in producing the book?
RB: I did. Being a stay at home mum with my sixteen month old daughter meant I could only work in short bursts! Also, being my first book, I had to do a lot of research to find options that best suited me time wise and financially. Another tough task was formatting the illustrations for the book. I had no idea how to ensure the page bleed was the right measurements. Luckily, YouTube has a plethora of ideas and step by step guides on how to do things, and my husband was a great help.
MM: What would you say to a would-be children’s author, who is struggling to be published?
RB: I have been documenting my journey and will be releasing a blog later this year about my journey so far, that should help. I would suggest weighing up all the pros and cons of waiting for a traditional publisher or doing it yourself. Be resourceful and crowdfund for things that may be costly like an illustrator or editor. It’s all possible you just have to think outside of the box. It is definitely a magical feeling to have my book being sold around the world wide. I’m so proud of that!