6am for Romanian and French

With the initial launch of The Unique Unicorn with Sydenham Primary School, such is their passion for supporting multiple languages, that they asked me to provide a different version per language.

This is certainly a school that knows what it wants and so I find myself getting up at 6am on weekends and working late into the evenings to produce different language versions of the story, working with volunteer translators.

I don’t see this as a chore however. For me, it is about the learning experience.  If I wasn’t doing this at 6am in the morning, I would probably be studying or researching some other creative idea that my brain had awoken me with in the middle of the night.

I have found it fascinating and intriguing to translate the story into the languages of Romanian and French.  I find it a very rewarding and humbling experience to know that children may be able to get the story in their own language.

As long as there is a demand for the translation of the story into a different language and a willing volunteer to help, I will get up at 6am on a Saturday to work on that version.

The Romanian version is now available (French coming soon):

For all of my books visit: Lee Sterrey books on Amazon

Slowly I asked, “You want HOW many children involved?”

The Unique Unicorn Book Cover Image

A few weeks ago I took some vacation from my day job at IBM and spent a week with a primary school in the UK to embark on an extremely rewarding experience.

So why would I take a number of vacation days and dedicate it to a school?

The school had previously got in contact with me (as a children’s author), because the teachers were having different themed days celebrating the culture of the different languages (now 25) that are spoken at the school. They asked if I could read to the children on English day.

This was a simple enough request, as readings only take a few minutes, but the conversation took a somewhat unusual turn, as they started to enquire about the process of book creation.

Within minutes I found myself enthusiastically agreeing I would be delighted to help them bring out their own book and given the current theme, the subject was very quickly decided on as diversity.

Then something I hadn’t thought about, happened next.

“Well,” one of the teachers said, “we would have to involve all 330 children.”

I looked at both teachers, whom were wide eyed with excitement, but I needed clarification of the statement and quite slowly asked; “You want HOW many children involved?”

The reply hadn’t changed and whilst the teachers were chatting away about the possibilities and wonders of bringing out their very own book, my brain was racing with thoughts of “I’m not sure it’s possible…” and “how on earth?”

For me the publishing process tends to be;

  1. I write the story
  2. I work with my illustrator
  3. A lot of editing of both
  4. The book gets published

But to include 330 potential illustrators and authors seemed crazy.  How could I possibly include that many people in one story?

The stop of chattering of the teachers brought my thoughts sharply back to their attention as I realised they were both waiting for a response from me.

“I’m not sure how I can include that many children…” I began to say, but one of the teachers sweetly smiled and explained that diversity in their school meant the inclusion of every child.

They were absolutely right. I had to find a way to achieve it.

In a few days time… you will see the result.



His question was: “Are you famous?”

As I sit in my home office on a somewhat drizzly, cloudy Sunday, working feverishly away on the release of my 3rd children’s story, I look out of my window and smile at the memory that I just had. On finding out that I was an author, the gentleman behind the counter at my local post office immediately asked me if I was famous.

This happens every time someone discovers that I write stories, and I now believe that the words ‘famous’ and ‘author’ should be joined together in the dictionary.  My reply to the gentleman was the same as every time I get asked;  “Tell me what you think ‘famous’ means and I will then tell you if I am famous.”

Another assumption that people regularly make, is that any travel that I do must be related to book-signing activities. Alas, this is not the case and I politely explain to them that the books are not my ‘day job’.

I live a very full and diverse life, where balance is everything.  I’m married, mother of two children, work full-time at IBM as a business unit executive, run a small hobby farm, have two books published and working on four more.

I would be lying if I said that I wouldn’t give up my ‘day job’ to write stories full-time, however the fact is, I get inspiration for the stories from this diverse life that I lead.

When I start the creative process, I call upon many different areas and experiences of my life.  Inspiration for a story can sometimes jump out of nowhere, based on a few words that someone might say and then my mind explodes with ideas on creating a story around it.  Other times the story is based on true events that happened on my hobby farm.

A great example of how my diverse life helps, is that my third story (for the Adventures on Honey Bee Farm series) to be released would never have happened if I hadn’t volunteered to represent IBM Analytics at Warwick University’s International Healthcare competition in 2014.

For me, a story is like pulling pieces of puzzles together and these different areas of my life help to do that.   Even if I’m lucky enough to sell so many books that I no longer need to work for an organisation, I’m not yet convinced that I would want to give up that side of my life.

I presume it may just purely come down to the balance and time that I have left, after doing all of the activities that famous people do.