A Special Bookshelf

When I was seven years old, the father of one of my best friends was a well-known writer, and I have some vivid memories: seeing him at the kitchen table reviewing a script for a TV series, us having to be quiet in the part of the house near his study, one of his children’s books being read to us in class at school - and most of all, one time when we were in his study and I saw the bookshelves.

As a kid I loved to read and had plenty of books, but these bookshelves were different. These were full of books he had written himself.

Browsing along the rows I found a number of different titles, all with his name on the spine - along with different editions of each one - and, even more exciting, translations of his books into many different languages, with his name being the only thing I understood. “Wow”, I thought, “One day I want a bookshelf like this”.

This motivated me to write more myself. I’d written some simple stories, but eventually I decided to write a whole book. And so, at the age of nine or ten, I published ‘The Secret Trail’, an action adventure starring me and my friends, with an exclusive print run of one. The book ran to a hundred pages, and, as you can probably tell, I even designed the cover myself with the help of a stencil and some stickers.

The Secret Trail

My career as a designer was shortlived, but the desire to write persisted. I became a journalist first of all, but eventually, in my early thirties, I got the chance to write professionally when I was commissioned by Pearson to write Start Your Business Week by Week.

That sold well, so they commissioned some more. A few of them were translated, and gradually I’ve been building up my own small bookshelf, just as I imagined when I was seven.

A special bookshelf

It may just be a small collection, but I’m really proud of it. So, it was with some excitement that I opened a package from my publisher yesterday to find the advance copies of the new edition of my first book.

I’m pleased to say that the novelty doesn’t wear off - having a book published still brings me as much excitement as it did the first time - so I’m bound to be nipping into Waterstones and WHSmith to check their stock levels and display.

But, most of all, it’s great to look back and feel that I’m achieving something I’ve wanted since the age of seven.

Written on January 26, 2013