Yvonne Blackwood is best-known for the books she’s written about her African travels: “Into Africa A Personal Journey”, and “Into Africa – the Return”.
The former bank manager loves books. Writing them, and reading them.
Not surprisingly, there are many books in her home north of Toronto. The photo above shows her in the bedroom “nook” overlooking the wetlands behind her home.
“I can watch the geese frolic there all year except for the winters. A bookshelf stands in a corner and it is chock full of my favourite books along with books bought but not yet read.”
More recently, Yvonne authored a humorous book “Will That Be Cash or Cuffs?”
Long before that book, however, Yvonne wrote two others.
“One crisp autumn morning after exiting the train, I walked briskly up University Avenue (in Toronto) to my office. I noticed a tiny park next door to a large courthouse, and a gang of squirrels were frolicking and having a good time there. The crab apple trees in the park had lost all their leaves.
“It was a beauty to see the slender branches covered with thousands of little ripe crab apples. Some were strewn on the ground and the squirrels were feasting on them. Suddenly, an idea came to me; write a children’s book about squirrels living in a city!”
But she couldn’t find a publisher. Last fall, she “dusted off the manuscripts, edited them”, found an illustrator and published the books herself.
Two Nosey Charlie books – for children 3 to 8 — were published earlier this year on Amazon’s platform, Createspace.
How is writing for children different than writing for adults? I asked.
“The big differences are―because it’s a children’s picture book―pictures show the readers a part of the story, therefore, there is no need to spell out everything in prose; you use fewer words. Each book has less than fifteen hundred words.
“You also have to be a bit more careful with the words you use. Although you never ‘talk down’ to children, at the same time you do not use too many big words, and you do not write long, complex sentences.”
As Yvonne enjoys the summer in her house and garden, there is still more news on the way.
A third Nosey Charlie book will be published in September .
Yvonne says: “I’ll keep writing the stories as long as I remain inspired and the readers continue to love Charlie.”