The wonderful authors we work with at Fi & Books!
We are so proud to work with a wonderful bunch of authors from all over the world! Helping them on their self-publishing journey and bringing their stories to life as real books has brought us so much glee. All of their picture books are unique, inspiring and filled with joy, learning and loads of fun. You can read more about our authors below and if you fancy joining our author community, just take a look at our Become-An-Author package!
If you would like to get in touch with one of our authors for an interview or to buy their book please follow the links below to their websites, or you can contact us.
Helen Hasler, author of The Naughty Cough
Writing has always been one of those little niggles in the back of my mind. I’d have an idea but I never seemed to find the time to sit down and put pen to paper due to being mummy to two little ones alongside working as a dental hygienist and therapist. Most nights I make up silly stories for the kids before bedtime... (probably their way of dragging bedtime out longer) but I love it so I always give in!
During lock down in 2020 my dental practice closed. My husband was furloughed and suddenly I had the time to really take my book ideas somewhere and do something I had always dreamed of (it also gave me a bit escapism for being mummy for a few hours each day!). So The Naughty Cough came to life... initially it was only meant to be for my little ones, but it took off with my nieces and nephews too and before I knew it Fi and Books and the brilliant illustrator Bells Scambler brought my ideas to life!
I love writing because... I love the excitement of having that tiny idea in your mind's eye and watching it grow into colourful pictures and glossy pages in your hands. It has been incredible to get some amazing reviews and see pictures of other people’s children reading the story that I dreamt up. I can’t quite explain how lovely it feels to think that you are making a positive difference to a little persons life.
Jonell Hart, author of A Zat? What's That? and Grandma's Leprechaun
I am a mother of two grown sons and a grandmother of four adorable grandchildren. I can remember always liking to write poetry and wrote a lot of it as a teenager and young adult. As my children were growing up, I sometimes would just make up a short rhyme to say something about what they were doing. To this day, they don’t let me forget some of them – and it remains a running joke in our family!
I never really considered publishing any of my writings, but as my grandchildren came along, I wrote a short poem about a funny critter and wanted to get it illustrated and printed in a book for them. Last year, as the quarantine lingered on here for weeks and months, I had time to think about and look for an outlet to get my rhyming story illustrated and published.
I love writing because... I guess writing for me, especially in rhymes, has always been a way to express my emotions and feelings. My inspiration for a poem usually comes in the middle of the night, and I have to get up…or grab my phone…and write it down! I’m always touched when others read my poems and feel a sense of emotion, too.
Sometimes it’s a chuckle, and sometimes it’s a little bit of teary-eyed sentiment. I’ve never been a great conversationalist, so writing helps me to relay thoughts and feelings in a more fluid and relaxed way. And now that I’ve actually had a story published, it’s such a feeling of accomplishment to know that others enjoy it!
Angela Smith, author of Dear Santa, I can explain!
Angela started writing after she became a mother. It is one of the world's greatest mysteries just where she found the time to do this. Oh no she remembers now, everything was mostly written on her iphone, one-handed while she practised the art of mindlessness (which is the opposite of mindfullness but made her very efficient).
Despite having no time to write and the odds of being published being stacked against her she was addicted to writing. She went to the Winchester Writers Festival where a very kind agent said her work had promise further fuelling her enthusiasm. Angela has attended a picture book writers' workshop and has submitted to every agent and publisher she could find. Angela illustrated one of her stories Stella’s Starlings with her daughter during lockdown and published it to raise money for a children's charity. Having enjoyed seeing her story in print and the buzz of people reading her words she decided to approach Fi and Becs to enlist their help with self-publishing.
I love writing because... I love crafting a story. I love the excitement of finding the next part of the story or beating an idea into shape. I love lyrical stories and funny stories. I also love visual story telling. Although my artistic skills are limited (I’m being overly kind here) I can envisage how I would like a story to be told through pictures. I also like the manageable size of a picture book.
I enjoy how invested my daughter is in my stories so it’s something she loves to share with me.
Den Keanie, author of The Resilient Ratties series
I am a mother of two and a qualified occupational therapist working in the field of mental health. As you can probably tell from the title of my book series, I also have, lets say, a fascination with rats and keep various varieties as pets!
If anyone had told me 2 years ago that I would go on to publish children’s books I never would have believed them!
I am now working through my series one step at a time, publishing books for children aged 4-8 years old with the aim of teaching children skills to help understand and manage their own emotions. There is so much to learn about writing, publishing, running a business and marketing that it can sometimes feel extremely overwhelming but I am so glad I took the chance as I am loving every minute of this experience! If you are reading this and wondering whether you should take the first step or not – do it! I am confident that you wont regret it!
I love writing because... I get to see a story come to life. One of the most exciting things is when I submit my briefing and then I get to watch everyone work their magic! Being part of the whole journey from having a little flicker of an idea to putting a real life book into a pair of little hands is so rewarding! I absolutely love to hear feedback from those who have shared the books with their little people, and best of all – hearing stories of how children are using the skills to help them understand their own emotions and how to cope with them better. It is an honour to be able to share a little bit of their journey with them and know that these skills can be used as they grow into teens and adults. Oh! And the smell of newly printed books, I love that smell!
Matt Flukes, author of The Olly and Lilly series
I am a father of two wonderful children, who I adopted with my husband a few years ago. We live in a busy household with the four of us and three cats!
I came up with the series of Olly and Lilly as I found that many books aimed at talking about families and love didn’t resonate with our sons.
Through storytelling I cover important subjects without hiding from the truth but in a fun and colourful way that allows children to understand their own life story as well as open up for key questions.
I was diagnosed with Myeloma bone marrow cancer in 2018 and had various treatments and a full stem cell transplant. During my convalescence I decided to take the concept of Olly and Lilly that had arisen from an informative adoption training we had attended in 2016 and here we are today!
I love writing because... ever since I was a child I found books as a real escape mechanism and a chance to explore exciting worlds and themes. In between the ages of 8-14 if anyone asked me what I wanted to be when I was older the answer was always - an author! It has taken 30 years for this to become a reality.
Writing allows me to escape but it also gives me a format to tell a story. I want to write books that help children of all ages in all situations with circumstance they may face. By using fun and colourful illustrations, exciting language and characters that many children can connect to I hope to allow the to transport themselves into that story and to think and discuss how they might deal with a situation or theme.
Kelly Ayling, parent of the author of Me and My Cystic Fibrosis
I have always been a doodler, finding it very therapeutic and a good coping mechanism.
The first year Molly-Rose was born was full of hospitals, operations and appointments and drawing provided a good outlet for me.
Being born with Cystic Fibrosis, Tethered Spinal Cord Syndrome and Hip Dysplasia, finding that time to draw and create was even more important. Between working full-time and running my daughters treatment regime, I try to grab any downtime I can to escape. As my daughter grew older she would write short stories or we would create bedtime stories and I loved creating new worlds and characters for them.
During first lockdown in March 2020, Molly-Rose (now 7) started to ask questions around her condition and, utilising our time, we decided to draw a comic of her story, in her words.
She would sit and talk to me about how living with Cystic Fibrosis makes her feel, what she understands about it and what her hopes for the future are. I would then sketch characters around the story…naturally, this story would star her!
Our aim behind publishing was to try and help others like Molly understand that they are not alone, that there are others just like them and if we help just one other child (or family) linked to CF or not, then we will be so, so happy.
I love writing because... it’s complete freedom and can have such a positive impact on people you will never meet. You can reach others and let them know that they’re not alone, that being who they are is absolutely fine and in our case, that living with a degenerative condition does not define who you are, and as long as you have dreams and believe, anything is our to achieve.
Katherine Clarke, author of The Adventures of Wildwell Hollow
Working for many years in nature conservation, recognising that spending time in nature and truly noticing it leads to a relationship with the natural world, is the reason I began to write The Adventures of Wildwell Hollow; that and my love of fairies and the discovery that bodkins do exist!
As a child I was charmed by characters like Winnie the Pooh and Piglet, Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle and Mrs. Tittlemouse and the natural world they invited me into. Tilly Fairy and Bodkin Jack tempt children and their families into their magical world; the same world the reader is already living but has quite forgotten to notice. Harnessing their curiosity and sparking their imagination, the endearing characters inspire the reader to care for the natural world, simply because it is amazing!
I am a single mum of two extraordinary teenagers who I am beyond proud of. Funnily enough, the youngest is called Tilly who has long blond hair and blue eyes, but unlike Tilly Fairy, she has earned her final set of wings. My eldest is Jack who, like Bodkin Jack, has eyes the colour of hazelnuts and used to have long blond curls before deciding they were so last year!
I love writing because... I can escape into the pages to take Tilly Fairy & Bodkin Jack on exciting adventures and show them how awesome the natural world is. And in turn, they get to share the wonder of nature with other children, leaving them with a thirst for their own wild experiences.
Children need nature; it’s part of their very being, and nature really needs children to love and care for it, now more than ever before.
In 2020 I was furloughed, along with the rest of the nation, from my job at the National Trust. I’m not great at doing nothing, so after setting up my new business, Bee kinder, concerned with connecting people with nature, I started to write about my two favourite magical characters, and once I started I couldn't stop! I hope you love them as much as I do!
Pam Lowery, author of Fluffy and Nutsy: Their first adventure
I am a wife and mother of one grown-up son and we all live with our much loved, but grumpy dog who thinks she’s in charge. And most of the time, she is!
I am sad to admit that I didn’t read much as a child and we did not have many books in the house, either. I felt a lot more comfortable with numbers and have remained that way throughout my adult life, working for over 25 years in engineering and science.
However, a few years ago, during a short break from work, the characters of Fluffy and Nutsy just popped into my head. For someone more comfortable with numbers than words, I found writing their first adventure surprisingly easy, with the words just flowing onto the page!
At that point in my life, my son had just finished primary school. Our house was full of books and we had spent many happy hours reading story books, looking through picture books and making up funny stories of our own with puppets. Seeing him happy and laughing during these times always made me smile and if the stories of Fluffy and Nutsy can bring similar happiness to just one child, this would be wonderful!
The stories centre around an unlikely friendship between an old teddy bear and a cheeky monkey. They show that you don’t have to be the coolest, most popular person to have friends. I certainly wasn’t when I was growing up! Friends come in all shapes and sizes and it is how they make you feel that counts. Good friends will not care about what you have or don’t have, what you look like or how good you are at something.
I love writing because... it gives me the opportunity to let my imagination run wild. I think back to when my son was young and all the stories we read and made up with our puppets, what made him smile and laugh. I try to capture that emotion and the silliness in Fluffy and Nutsy’s adventures. My only regret is that I did not have the self-belief to start publishing the stories sooner. If you think you cannot do it, believe me, if I can, you can too!
Gemma Yu, author of Ticklish Tooth Monsters
I'm a mother to two wonderfully energetic children, Olivia and Joey. They have been my true inspiration and the driving force behind my art and writing.
I travelled a lot in my 20s and lived in Switzerland working for a wonderful family as their au pair before moving to China where I worked at an international school. I had a number of roles at the school across the 9 years of working there. I began working as a teaching assistant before taking on the role as the school's Events Manager where I was able to learn and develop my design and marketing skills. In my last years at the school, I became an early years teacher and gained my Post Graduate Certificate in Education with the University of Sunderland.
As a qualified Early Years educator with a psychology degree, I have a good understanding of child development and enjoy writing stories to help support children with their development and understanding.
I love writing because... I love bringing an idea to life, and developing fun and silly characters that I know my own children will enjoy. The stories I have created originally came about while on maternity leave with my two young children...it was a way to capture the adventures and experiences that we shared.
Lots of these experiences were relatable to many parents with children of a similar age. I like to think my stories are relatable and add a touch of fun when sharing stories at bedtime.
Emily Hardwick, author of Seb gets bigger series
I have always loved reading and writing and have started (although not always finished!) many ambitious projects over the years. I’ve published the odd poem and article here and there, but finding Fi and Books has helped make my dream of becoming a children’s author a reality and I’m so excited to see an actual tangible book come to life.
Both my sons were born in Switzerland, four years apart, and each sparked a creative flurry as I tried to find a sense of purpose during maternity leave.
They, and our experiences together, are the inspiration for a series of picture books starring Seb, a little boy of around two years old. The series explores Seb’s world and engages the reader in universal childhood experiences that many might recognise.
‘A big change for Seb’ focuses on the process of ending a breastfeeding journey. It’s a topic that doesn’t traditionally appear in mainstream children’s literature and I’m hoping the book will help to normalise breastfeeding toddlers through a fun narrative, as well as offering parents a gentle way to support the transition into weaning. It’s basically the book I wish I had to hand when my son was two and a half!
I love writing because... it gives me a creative outlet and a chance to process my ideas and experiences. Sharing your thoughts with the world can be daunting at times and make you feel a little vulnerable, but I’m hugely enjoying the challenge of publishing something that I believe will help other parents and I can’t wait to share it with my own children. I’d love them to be proud of what they have inspired