I never had any leanings towards writing children’s fiction but about a year ago, when my daughters were demanding made-up bedtime stories almost every night, I pulled a character out of thin air – Fartina Gasratilova, the world’s windiest kid. (Her name has since changed but I’ll come to that in a minute.)
Night after night, Fartina’s incessant wind either got her into trouble or rendered her a hero amongst her friends. My daughters laughed so hard that I wondered if maybe I was onto something. I typed a couple of stories out and asked my friends if they’d like to try them out on their kids. The response I got was overwhelmingly positive so I decided to “knock up” a little ebook called The Adventures of Fartina Gasratilova…
I glibly use the term “knock up” because I didn’t see it as anything more than a side project, an experiment, a bit of fun. However, once I got the ball rolling, I started to treat it more seriously. It would probably need illustrations. What age group was I aiming for? Did I really want to risk my writing credibility by writing a book about a farty child? But once I’d got started, I couldn’t help but see it through.
My long-suffering husband volunteered to do the illustrations, and what do you know? He came up trumps! (Sorry. Couldn’t resist.) Then, after editing, when the book was almost ready to publish, I came across another book on Amazon about a girl called Fartina. Aaargh! I couldn’t believe I’d been so stupid as to not check there wasn’t a character called Fartina already out there. (Well in fact I’d discovered there was a porn star called Fartina somewhere in the world, but I figured unless she’d released an autobiography, it didn’t matter too much.) And not to mention the veritable sea of fart-themed children’s books on Amazon. So much for my original idea…
By this time it was too late to turn back, and besides, the other book was quite different in style and content to mine, so maybe I didn’t need to change the name after all… But then my husband said that perhaps the name Fartina Gasratilova wasn’t a good idea on the grounds that, in the unlikely event it were to ever come to Martina Navratilova’s attention, she might be a bit narked that her brand name was being played with for the amusement of others. And sports brands, apparently, take these matters very seriously. So, I’d gone from silly made-up bedtime stories to potential legal battle. Blimey. I’ve never worried about any of this stuff writing grown-up fiction!
Anyway, I changed the name to Fartella and uploaded the book to Amazon (click here to take a closer look). Whether Fartella farts herself to stardom or deflates faster than a punctured balloon remains to be seen, but personally, I’ve enjoyed making her acquaintance. I hope you like her too.
PS: My latest novel for grown-ups, Blown-Away Man (which I assure you is nothing to do with bodily air), will be coming out in February.