When I was aged twenty-one, I was diagnosed with dyslexia and everything up until that point began to make sense. I was not lazy, like one teacher had told my mum and I was not stupid either. My brain just worked differently, and I finally began to understand that I could be academic when I had the correct support in place.
I knew within my heart I wanted to be a children’s writer!
I did an access course in Social Sciences and went on to study English Literature at the University of Sussex. Whilst at university I studied Gender studies as an elective course and this increased my interest in girls and women’s rights, with a deeper understanding of how society has prevented them from having equal rights and a true and strong voice. I also chose to study Jane Austen, as well as completed a dissertation on Angela Carter’s interpretation of the Fairy Tale. Both women challenged and changed the literary world and were radical feminists of their time. Jane Austen wrote books in a period when women were less encouraged to write, because it was considered ‘un-feminine’ but still she wrote inspirational stories, with strong female protagonists that we are all able to enjoy to this day.
Angela Carter shook up fairy tales and wrote about crafty women, bad girls, old crones, rascal aunts and odd sisters to help give a new perspective to the world as portrayed by Disney and others. After graduating I found it diﬃcult getting a paid job and wondered if my degree was worthwhile after all, but I knew within my heart that I wanted to be a children’s writer. I put it oﬀ for a long time because I just could not find the confidence to put pen to paper. The desire to write never went away but I continued to make up excuses as to why I couldn’t do it.
The first version was about all girls farting
Since becoming a mother the desire to write became even stronger and I spent a lot of time writing stories on my iPad. One day I was discussing this with a friend and said that I was unable to publish my stories because I didn’t have an illustrator and no money to pay one either. She said to me that her sister-in-law was an illustrator and gave me her number. It took me a month to build up the courage to send Cheryl, my now illustrator, a message and fortunately she was open to working with me and wanted to see what I had been writing.
Cheryl liked my work and was willing to the take the risk of working with me. I was completely honest about the fact that I didn’t have the funds to pay her, so we agreed to split any profits fifty, fifty. The first book that we created together was about my own two daughters playing on a sandy beach. This book was a fantastic way for me and Cheryl to get to know one another’s styles and personalities too. Once we had finished this project together, I suggested the idea of a ‘farting book’ for girls. Fortunately, Cheryl was more than happy to work on this with me.
The first version was about all girls farting and was much longer than the final edit. From this came the beginning of the ‘Girls Love to’ series, which is a project all about empowering girls, inspiring them to believe in their own abilities and strengths and not feel ashamed of their bodies or natural bodily functions. ‘Girls Love to Fart’ has been a book that initially received some critical reviews because of the content and the message within. Despite the negative response by some, it became a best seller in 2020 and has sold over sixteen thousand copies and has over one thousand reviews on Amazon.
Girls can have fun adventures too!
‘Girls Love to Burp’ came out in October 2021, the second book of the series, the potential of where this could go excites me just thinking about it. I have also written a book called ‘Princesses Don’t have stinky Bums’, which was inspired by my own seven-year-old daughter who came up with the title. This book starts oﬀ with the traditional fairy tale narrative and then goes on to encourage girls, that they too can have fun adventures, be leaders, be stinky, have a voice and that it’s okay to dress up in pretty dresses but also to do what makes them truly happy.
I have felt that the narrative within our current literature is limiting for girls, because it encourages them to like sparkly unicorns and to be pretty princesses. In a world where body dysmorphia, filters and low self-esteem are rife, I wanted to create something that shows the imperfect rawness of girls and that having lumps, bumps, scars and spots are natural and normal and don’t make girls any less feminine. Girls need to see characters that are real, that represent racial and cultural diversity and showcase varied abilities.
My books are all as inclusive as possible and celebrate all types of girls from all walks of life. I want whoever reads this to remember that none of this happened overnight and has taken me four years to build my business, but this all started a long time before that. If you would also like to have a bestselling book, my advice is believe in yourself and your story, write from your heart and be willing to put in the hours. Think of something that hasn’t really been said or done before, finally, be willing to take risks because your story and message are important and could change somebody else’s life, just like my books have.
WriteSeen allows writers to do what they do best…
By having access to a platform like WriteSeen from the onset, this would have given me the opportunity to get my books seen by a global source of literary agents and book publishers instantly. Prior to this I have had to manage the entire process of publishing, marketing, promotion and networking myself. As you can imagine it’s frustrating, time consuming and daunting to say the least. WriteSeen removes those demands by allowing writers to do what they do best, create content, and industry professionals the ability to discover this content fast and anonymously, to move forward with what they want to and both sides are winning. Now having these industry professionals all in one place, it undoubtedly helps me and my business progress to the next level, through connecting my material to a wide array of decision makers worldwide and at the click of my submission.
Take advantage and prosper from WriteSeen's access and share support for this movement, because I definitely will be.
Alice Clover is a bestselling author, owner of Alice Clover Stories & Girls Love to series. Check Alice out through her social media and website below.