The Author Spotlight on Sarah Hill, author of the Award Winning children’s series – “Whimsy Wood”
I am a children’s author and a small animal Vet. I gained my Veterinary Medicine degree at Bristol University in 1999 and worked in practice for 10 years. At that point I had my second daughter and soon after, I decided to take a career break to stay at home and raise our very young girls. Within 6 months of being at home, ‘Posie Pixie’, the main character in my first 7 ‘Whimsy Wood’ books, appeared in my head and she wouldn’t go away. She’s terribly persistent you see, so I really had no other choice but to start writing about her adventures in ‘Whimsy Wood’. I spent the next 3 years writing my ‘Whimsy Wood’ children’s series at home in Wiltshire (with my husband, our baby son, two daughters, two dogs, two cats and “a partridge in a pear tree”!) before my work was taken on by Abela Publishing, based in Sandhurst, UK.
There are 35 books in the Whimsy Wood children’s series for 5-8 yr olds. These are divided into 5 sets of 7 books. Each book is written specifically for a month in the calendar, so the flora and fauna within the wood change as you read through the series. There is also a proverb or well-known saying woven into every story for the reader to find, giving the Whimsy Wood books real meaning. Finally, at the back of every Whimsy Wood book is an incomplete map of the Wood for the child to complete using their imagination and what they have learned from the story. The aims of my ‘Whimsy Wood’ Series is to ignite children’s imaginations, whilst engaging them (and their parents, grandparents and carers) more with nature.
I adore animals and nature, so I guess it’s no surprise that I ended up creating the Whimsy Wood Series partly by happy accident. I also read a lot of Enid Blyton’s ‘Faraway Tree’ stories, Jill Barklem’s ‘Brambly Hedge’ series and Beatrix Potter’s ‘Peter Rabbit’ books as a child, so I expect they have influenced my writing and creation of my whimsical woodland tales. Please note that 10% of book sales is donated to The Wildlife Trusts, UK.
The 1st 5 books in the Whimsy Wood Series have all been awarded the Readers’ Favourite 5-star seal. Books 6 and 7, ‘Posie Pixie And The Snowstorm’ and ‘Posie Pixie And The Pancakes’ respectively, were both awarded the Story Monster Approved seal and they were tied winners in The Royal Dragonfly Book Awards in October 2015. Book 4, ‘Posie Pixie And The Fireworks Party’, won the chapter book category in the international Children’s Literary Classics book awards in Las Vegas in October 2016. Book 8, ‘Fearne Fairy And The Dandelion Clocks’, received an honorary seal in The Purple Dragonfly Book Awards last year. Finally, in January this year books 8, 9 and 10, ‘Fearne Fairy And The Dandelion Clocks’, ‘Fearne Fairy And The Chocolate Caterpillar’ and ‘Fearne Fairy And The Landing Lesson’ respectively, have all been awarded The Mom’s Choice Awards seal which honours excellence.
People seem to enjoy all sorts of things about my Whimsy Wood children’s books. They love my descriptive writing which helps paint a picture in their heads of the Whimsy Wood story that they are reading. They love the fact that my Whimsy Wood stories often make their children ask about the nature that they see around them in their garden or out on a walk. Here is an example from a reviewer named Briony:
“I’ll quickly explain why I love the Whimsy Wood books so much. Based in a lovely magical, woodland. They are soft and warm and filled with great fun and a strong sense of the natural world. They are the book form of that idyllic childhood feeling we all want our kids to have.”
In my most recent book, Fearne Fairy and The Landing Lesson, the marvellous month of May has arrived in Whimsy Wood, along with the delightful dawn chorus of course! Fearne Fairy is woken early by this twittering bunch of birds and so she decides to surprise her best friend, Mustard the Magpie Moth Caterpillar, with his favourite breakfast of scrambled ant eggs. Now, if you’re familiar with Fearne Fairy, you’ll know that she’s a fairy with flaws and you’ll be accustomed to her crash landing on a regular basis! On returning to her tree stump house from The Woodland Store where she went to get the ant eggs, you won’t be surprised to learn that she crash lands yet again into her front door! Since Fearne has had a number of accidents on landing in the past, Mustard decides it’s about time that she learnt how to land properly! For the sake of her sore knees and elbows if nothing else! But who will they ask to teach Fearne how to land and will they be able to find them in the enchanting Whimsy Wood? Well, you’ll just have to read ‘Fearne Fairy And The Landing Lesson’ to find out!