Rik Carpenter knew he could be onto something when his two children much preferred his own stories to the books he’d dutifully read them at bedtime.
The ‘very young at heart’ 57-year-old, from Chesterfield, would write down his ‘silly and fantastical tales’ until his family spurred him to finally send his work to publishers.
Now his first children’s book ‘Stinky And His Mate’ has hit the shelves after being scooped up by Austin Macauley Publishers- having been in the making for more than 20 years.
The ‘rhyming story’ follows the journey of an intrepid swarm of flies trying to survive a hazardous adventure through a neighbourhood, illustrated by Peter Hudspith.
It’s the first in a series of books titled ‘The Creepy Crawly Stories’ which aim to address sensitive issues children encounter when growing up.
Rik, a part-time teacher, said: “The real thrill comes with being able to spark the imaginations of young people. I strongly believe in this era of screens that books are making a comeback.
“After taking turns to read to our children, I realised that many of the storylines lacked the fun, fear, and fantastical elements of a story that children love.
“I thought I could do better so I added the missing elements, and surprisingly I came up with a few different stories- and my children loved them.
“I believe that younger children like to see illustrations when reading text, and so I placed great emphasis on finding an illustrator who would compliment my writing, and after a searching the internet I came across the freelance illustrator Peter Hudspith.
“Peter’s wonderful illustrations have helped to bring my story to life, and it is testament to his talent that the book has been entered in the 2019 V&A Illustration Awards.
“Children are the most important people in the world. If we can get them reading early, and let them develop a sense of fun, knowledge and understanding, they’ll take that into their teens and beyond and create a better future for themselves and the planet.”
Rik can be contacted for library and school visits via his website: www.rikcarpenter.com
Stinky And His Mate is available to buy online at Waterstones, Amazon, Smashwords, Foyles Bookstore, Booktopia and Austin Macauley Publishers.