THE first in an Islandmagee woman’s series of books about puppy dogs’ tales was launched this week.
Author Hilary Bailey’s inspiration to write for children comes from the experiences of her three springer spaniels.
Beautifully illustrated by artist Louis Humphrey, Hilary’s first book features her youngest dog, four-year-old Skye.
Skye And The Swallows introduces the black-and-white springer with the fly-away ears and co-stars her mother Jazz and elderly uncle Russy to a young generation of dog-loving readers.
Hilary, who lives at Island Village, said: “So many things have happened during Skye’s life that have made me laugh that I decided to write them down, in the same way, I suppose, as parents do with their children.
“It was intended originally as a memoir to myself. I never planned to bring out a book but I was encouraged to do so by a friend who gave the stories to some children to read and they apparently really enjoyed them.”
Local artist Louis is illustrating the series of eight short stories, which are aimed at children aged six to eight.
Hilary revealed: “When I met Louis and ran the idea past him he was very happy to get involved as he, too, has a springer. He’s done a fantastic job of capturing the essence of the three dogs in his delightful illustrations.”
The first book was launched at Billy Andy’s restaurant on Tuesday evening. Priced £5, it is available from local traders The Florist, King’s Road, Whitehead; Old Mill Saddlery, Larne Road; Bell’s Corner; Carrickfergus Tourism Office and; the Book Nook, Larne.
“If all goes well, and the book proves popular, perhaps as a Christmas gift, I aim to bring out the next in the series before March,” said the author.
“After all, children grow up quickly so if they want to read more they won’t want to wait too long for the rest of the stories,” Hilary added.