I started on the journey of writing a book back in May 2020. I was super eager although I had no clue what I was doing or where I would end up. I think that added to the excitement though, the thrill of the unknown and getting to know lots of new people with the same goal. My book idea was actually very different when I started. A few things had happened in my life over the years, I had been thrown off balance and felt I had lost my way. I started training to be a life coach in September 2019 and I really wanted to link it in to a book idea and help others realise their strength and gain their confidence again. This book was going to be called 'Knocked Sideways', but I also had this niggling feeling that I wanted to write a story about adoption. As our son was coming to an age where he would ask more questions, it suddenly dawned on me that I could write a book for him, which would also help so many other children understand adoption much better. Out of the two book ideas it was an easy choice to make in the end. Knocked Sideways is still in my head and I definitely am keen to develop it more in 2021 and have started to approach some people I would like to include within it.
Since visiting Florida for the first time I have always loved flamingos, so I knew I wanted the main characters to be two flamingos. I wanted all the names of the characters to start with the same letter as the animal/bird, as that always has a nice ring to it. I have a yodelling flamingo at home that I got for my 40th birthday called Flossy so that name was already set in stone and then I went though a few male names beginning with F and Frank seemed to just flow nicely. I then had to decide what additional characters should be in the book. I needed a child, social worker, foster carer and a few friends for Flossy and Frank. I wanted to make sure there was diversity in the characters and wanted to show families can be made up in different ways. I chose an emu as I wanted the child to be a bird that was quite different from a flamingo, but also had long legs. Eddy Emu was born.
I knew I definitely wanted the social worker to be a Stork and went through several names beginning with S until Stella Stork was created. I wanted to pay tribute to our amazing social worker so tried to make sure she had many characteristics that were similar. I didn't necessarily want all the characters to be birds so I pondered on this for a while and then happened to take a picture of our son's frog rubber duck in the bathroom while it was stacked on top of some 'easy reading' books and Felicity Frog the foster carer seemed like an amazing idea.
I researched more animals and birds that live with flamingos in their natural habitat and thought I must include a pelican as I have always loved them. Our local wetlands also had a new pelican enclosure being built when we visited some time in June and it felt like a sign to include one. I wanted Patsy to be a little 'Ab Fab' if you remember the popular TV series, with a quirky over the top personality. She started off wearing star shaped sunglasses but then I toned it down as I thought it may be a little over the top for an adoption story.
Since reading Eddy Finds a Family a lot of people have told me Herbie Hippo is one of their favourite characters of the book. We have always adored hippos and when we visited Florida in 2015 we got to meet a famous hippo at Homosassa Springs called Lu who amazingly turns 61 on 22nd January 2021 and was featured in many films and documentaries. You could certainly hear him from a mile away with his loud bellow and he was fascinating to watch. We also had recently seen The Love Bug with our son on TV which features the iconic number 53 Beetle called Herbie. It only seemed right to name him after a Disney character as we are super fans. So the larger than life character of Herbie Hippo came to life. Finally I had all the characters that were important to create my book.
So now the the writing had to start...