Sunday, 11 July 2021

Guest Blog Post: Children of the Periapt: Escape from Elmsmere by Cimone O'Byrne (Children's, 9 years +)


May 2021, Jotty Press, 207 pages, Paperback and Ebook

Book summary

Vinnie Shadowsmith arrives at Elmsmere Academy. A tranquil paradise for some, Vinnie see's it for what it is; a prison for gifted children and a fortress of despair. He meets the enchanting Lilana Flowerdew and the defiant Kitty Midnight, and together they plot their daring escape.

Follow our heroes as they discover the truth about the world around them, harness their super human gifts, and learn how to conquer the magic of their Periapt charms.


Nayu's thoughts

I wasn't in the mood to read this book but it sounded like other books I've reviewed so I wanted to feature it here on my blog. I asked Cimone if she would like to write a post and she kindly said yes! Check out her  path to publication below. 

Path to Publication by Cimone O'Byrne

Children of the Periapt: Escape from Elmsmere is the first in a series of books I started to write 10 years ago. It really has been a labour of love, and I finally finished the first book at the beginning of 2021. 

If you had asked a 7-year-old me, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" I would have said, "An authoress". The outdated nature of the terms I used tells you a bit about my age, but the fact that I'm writing books thirty-five years later tells you how much it means to me. I am passionate about writing, particularly for children, and I hope this comes across in the words I write.

The book itself is set in a fantasy world. It's based on three main characters, Lilana, Kitty and Vinnie. They have been snatched from their families by seekers, and left at Elmsmere Academy for the Gifted. The book follows their attempts at escape, and the adventures that follow. It is crammed with magic, fantastical creatures, and loveable characters. My main aim was to write characters that children could see themselves in, and to draw them in to feel part of the story. I hope I have achieved that.

I published the book on 1st June 2021 and joined a lot of indie author groups online to get advice and support. The message that immediately came across is that self-publishing is hard, and getting books into bookshops or libraries is even harder. The best advice I got was to hire a good editor and find a strong book cover designer.

Having designed my own cover, I soon realised that I needed a professional. My talents definitely do not fall within the realms of design. I looked online and found the amazing Eleanor Loseby at Brush and Brew illustrations. She did a brilliant job at portraying my vision and producing a cover I loved.

Next, I e-mailed every local library in the UK. At night, I would sit in bed, laptop at the ready, while my husband reeled off the names of football teams, which I used as a list of UK cities and towns. A novel way to find libraries, I guess! I also e-mailed every local shop I could think of that may stock a children's book.

By publication day I had 11 libraries across the UK lending the book and 7 local shops holding stock. I was thrilled. 

When sharing this triumph with some online author groups, I was inundated with support and congratulations. There were also a few negative nellies. The online keyboard warriors whose aim it is to suck the joy out of any positive moment or experience. One sticks in my mind. He said, 'You won't make much money from a library. What is the benefit to you, may I ask?' 

I didn't reply. Not because he had a point, or because he worried me, but because he clearly had a different view of success. Some authors write books in the hope of a big sale (and I can't pretend that I don't dream of that too), but many of us are doing it because we love it; because it's our passion; because we love to write. Success is individual, and we measure it against our own criteria. Success to me is people reading my book, people sharing my book, people liking my book, libraries lending my book, shops stocking my book and me knowing that I did what I set out to do at 7 years old. 

One of my greatest achievements is being approached by a woman from the US who wanted a copy of my book to take part in a community library project. The book will be put in a mini library in New York, and a child 3250 miles from me will read my book.  

7-year-old me would be jumping up and down on her bed and whooping with joy.

Children of the Periapt: Escape from Elmsmere is available on Amazon UK in paperback and on Kindle, and Amazon US in paperback and on KIndle too.  It is also available free on Kindle Unlimited.

Find out more on Cimone's website.