There are certain aspects of publishing that I adore and one of them is making things happen for people. There is something incredibly satisfying about looking at a finished book and thinking – yes, we created that.
It was back in the spring that we received an enquiry from Rabbit Productions, the TV company that has made all the Hayley Okines documentaries for Channel 5’s Extraordinary People series. They asked if we’d like to be involved in producing Hayley’s book as the basis for the latest programme. I must admit we were somewhat horrified by the timescale – filming had already started and the programme was scheduled to air in October 2011. Ever keen on a challenge however Alison Stokes and I headed off to Bexhill-on-Sea to meet Hayley and her family. I was immediately struck by Hayley – she is a lovely person with a wicked sense of humour and, without doubt, wise beyond her years. Her mum Kerry is a very warm, open person who spoke very honestly and about Hayley’s condition and the impact of it on her and her family.
Alison could tell that there was potential for a really good book and she agreed to ghost write it with Kerry and Hayley. She and Hayley really got on well and throughout the summer Alison made several trips to Kent. We also spent a day filming in London for the cover shots which was very interesting. Chelsey Browne the photographer was wonderful – she really made it fun for Hayley and captured some brilliant images.
And then yesterday was publication day and after all these months there was the book – on a table at the very front of W H Smith’s in Victoria station. All the people involved had made it happen – the sales team, buyers, printers etc and now this wonderful book is here! I also received this photo of Hayley with some special balloons we’d sent her. And that made me shed a little tear of happiness and pride because we’ve made a very good book about a very special person – and that’s why I love my job!
Please come and meet Hayley at Waterstones in Eastbourne between 2-4pm on Saturday 26th November.