I have great pleasure in sharing my interview with Julie Derrick, author of Hank the Hungry Monster. Julie talks about pushing ourselves out of that comfort zone, raising awareness about child OCD, and being fluent in Welsh.
Julie Derrick is a Welsh author and blogger, who lives in Bridgend, in South Wales.
Having experienced, first-hand, the impact that OCD had over her own daughter and family, she felt it vital to publish her Mind Monster series in order to raise awareness and to help others.
She created her first book, ‘Hank the Hungry Monster’, to inform and support other parents, guardians and educators, on ways to deal with child OCD and anxiety.
Helping others is now her fuelling passion and her goal in life is to prevent and raise as much attention and funds as possible, to help mental illness within children.
Tell us a little about yourself. (How did you get started writing? What do you do when you’re not writing?)
I am a busy wife and mum to two teenage daughters. I first developed an interest in writing when my daughters were young. We would often make up stories when out on a walk together. My favourite one was about a tree that we came across in the woods, which had a little door at the bottom. We used to call it the “magic tree” and we would each write our own story of who we imagined living there and what adventures they would have.
When I’m not writing, I love walking my cockapoo Iolo and to hang out with friends and family over a coffee or a nice meal.
Is this your first book? How many books have you written prior (if any?)
This is the first, (of many to come), books within my Mind Monsters series.
What genre is it, and what is it about?
My book focuses on children’s mental health and anxiety; in particular, child OCD.
What or who inspired you to write this book?
The inspiration for my book came from having my own daughter diagnosed with severe OCD, and the massive impact that it had, not just on her, but on the family as a whole.
What writing advice do you have for other aspiring authors?
Just do it!
I am what could be referred to as an “accidental author”, because had my daughter not developed OCD, then I would probably never have published my book.
I am a big believer that challenging things often happen to push ourselves out of our comfort zone in order to achieve greater things: things we never dreamed ourselves capable of doing.
My final word of advice would be this: Don’t allow lack of funds to hold you back either, because there are always ways to raise additional funds, including using affiliate marketing (making money by selling other people’s products), which is what I did to raise the funds. If I can do it, anyone can.
What do you enjoy most about writing and why?
The thing that I enjoy most about writing, is being able to help others and to hopefully deter other families from going through what we went through.
I am also driven to try to raise as much additional funds for CITT (a specialized team within CAMHS- Children’s and Adolescent Mental Health Services) as possible.
Because without their help and support, our daughter (and us as a family) would still be trapped within her OCD world and rules.
List three interesting facts about yourself
Hmmm, this is a tricky one as I don’t consider myself to be that interesting really, but if I have to choose, then I guess it would be:
I love using memory tricks to learn boring lists of information or numbers (I did say that I was a bit boringJ ).
I speak fluent Welsh having attended a Welsh speaking school.
My ‘happy place’ and my favourite place to write, is sat in my car overlooking the beach.
What is your least favourite part of the publishing/writing process?
The most challenging part of the process for me, was making sure that all of the punctuation was correct; you’ll be amazed by how many pesky commas can get missed, even after several read throughs.
Also getting the finished images and text to marry up together nicely on the page was tricky too.
Fortunately, my publisher was on hand though to take those parts over, which was a big relief.
What can readers who enjoy your book do to help make it successful?
Social media has proved very powerful, for me, thus far, in creating sales for my book. Therefore, if readers could share a link to my website, on their own social media posts; as well as telling other parents, schools and organisations about my book, this would help enormously to raise more awareness to child OCD as well as much needed funds for CITT.
What is your next project?
My next project is to write the next books within my Mind Monsters book series. I already have a list of titles written down and am currently in the process of writing the next one.
Connect with Julie and buy her books here:
Copies of her first book, ‘Hank the Hungry Monster ‘are available to purchase on her website: www.themindmonsters.co.uk. There is also a FREE Hank Activity Book available to download on there too.
Alternately, you can purchase a copy of her book on Amazon https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hank-Hungry-Monster-Julie-Derrick/dp/1838144609
And From Most Other Major Book Retailers.
Other places that Julie hangs out are:
You Tube: ‘Copy What I Use for Teenage Anxiety and Revision http://bit.ly/387hDGb
Hank is a very hungry monster, but he’s not hungry for food, he’s hungry for POWER!
Meanwhile, Annabelle is a bubbly little girl who loves to play with her friends. Until one day something happens that makes her feel sad.
This book was written by a mother to raise awareness of and help parents spot the early signs of OCD before it takes hold.
The message behind the story is to convey the importance of confiding in someone about OCD and showing children how to ‘switch off’ the OCD thoughts.
The sunburn theme within the book also offers an opportunity for parents, guardians and educators to gently raise awareness of the importance of applying sun cream before going out into the sun