Sheffield mum turned children's author and the story behind her Christmas book

Suzy Senior with her book Tales from Christmas Wood
Suzy Senior with her book Tales from Christmas Wood
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Working everyday with other authors and their children's tales, Suzy Senior said to herself: 'I could do that'.

In 2009, the Stocksbridge mum-of-two took the plunge and turned herself at writing children's tales. She already worked in publishing and came across many of these books and with a bit of support, she decided to go for it.

Author Suzy Senior said Stocksbridge Nursery and Infant School has been really supportive of her book, Tales from Christmas Wood

Author Suzy Senior said Stocksbridge Nursery and Infant School has been really supportive of her book, Tales from Christmas Wood

And her latest book, Tales from Christmas Wood, is proving very popular with young readers.

"I had already worked in publishing for nine years, selling other people's books and visiting bookshops around the north of England and Scotland.

"Whilst I’d always liked writing rhyme and poetry, I’d never really considered that I could ever be an ‘author’. However, I was given the opportunity to write some text at work, and this along with great encouragement from colleagues, friends and family, gave me the confidence to pursue it."

Since then Suzy, 39, has never looked back and has penned a deal to write her seventh and eighth book and has a further two tales 'in the pipeline'.

Crossing patrol warden at Stocksbridge Nursery Infant School is a big fan of Suzy's work

Crossing patrol warden at Stocksbridge Nursery Infant School is a big fan of Suzy's work

But like any new author starting out, she's had to deal with plenty of knock backs and has had to adapt very quickly.

"I've had a huge amount to learn, from brushing up on punctuation and the basics of shaping a story, through to understanding which words and concepts don't work for international markets.That's probably still only the tip of the iceberg, and I'm learning all the time.

"Getting work published isn't easy There have been plenty of rejection letters, and there will be lots more to come. However it is an amazing feeling when a publisher takes on something you've written, and you get to see someone illustrate it and a book take shape. So it's worth sticking at it.

She's been shortlisted in the National Literacy Trust and Bloomsbury Poetry Prize, and was given the opportunity of performing at the Doncaster Book Awards launch event.

In a fiercely contested market, coming up with fresh ideas is key and having two young children in Zoe, 10 and Daniel, six, it's already proved to be a success.

"Ideas for stories come from all over the place - from things my own children say or do, funny things I see around me, or even just noticing words that rhyme or sound great together.

"My next book developed from a daft bath-time song we made up years ago, when my daughter was a toddler. Sometimes an idea will just pop into my head, especially while I'm driving down the motorway - then it's a challenge to hang onto it until I'm able to write it down!

On her book career, Suzy said some of her fiercest critics are no more than five or six-year-old children, namely from Stocksbridge Nursery and Infant School.

The mum-of-two said the support from the school has been 'fantastic'.

"It has been a wonderful experience so far," she said.

"I especially love visiting schools - talking with the children and getting them interacting with the stories. I'm also able to show them how a picture book develops from a little idea. In return they are a great sounding board for new material!"

Tales from Christmas Wood, written by Suzy Senior and illustrated by James Newman Grey is available at CLC Bookshop, Rhyme and Reason children's bookshop, Waterstones, Clark's Chemist in Penistone, Stocksbridge Community Leisure Centre and other online retailers.