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Profile: Author Vanessa Farrell

Vanessa Farrell is the author of Maddy Paddy the Bear Cub, available in Ebook and print, and Seamus the Brave Puppy, which will be released this month. – © Wreckhouse Press Inc.

By CAMERON KILFOY Special to the Wreckhouse Weekly

The idea for Vanessa Farrell’s first children’s book came about quite naturally.

“I never considered myself a writer,” said Farrell. “I don’t even know where the ability to write came from. I never did it before. These stories just popped into my head.”

Farrell is a self-acclaimed science geek and has a biomedical chemistry degree from Mount St. Vincent University. She currently works for the provincial government in Port Aux Basques.

Recently she has begun carving a new path as an author. Her first book Maddy Paddy The Bear Cub, and her journey to writing the story and getting it published began two years ago.

When stories started to occupy Farrell’s mind, she took the time to write them down. She was reluctant to show anyone her work out of fear, and considered it more of a pastime.

“I had two stories written before I even worked up the nerve to show anyone,” admitted Farrell. “I decided after so long it would be okay to show my family and a few close friends.”

The response and reception from her peers were enough to push Farrell to take the next step with her work.

“Everyone was telling me, ‘Vanessa, this is good’. I thought that it would be a nice little home project for me to take on. I didn’t think it would go this far.”

She asked her daughter, Madison, if she would illustrate the story to bring to life the characters Farrell had crafted. After some convincing, her daughter finally agreed to help her mother and signed on. It was a full-circle moment for Farrell.

When they were young, Farrell would read to her children each night before bedtime. So working on this together let her relive that special time.

“It was something cute for us to do,” said Farrell. “She was a teenager at the time and when kids are at that age they don’t want to hang out with their parents. It was nice when she agreed. It gave us something we can both cherish.”

Farrell and her daughter worked together on the project until the very end. Although she had no intentions of publishing her book, Farrell wanted to put herself out there.

“Everyone has a fear of being judged or being criticized, and you are your own worst critic,” said Farrell. “After we finished, this feeling came over me and I said, ‘What do I have to lose?’”

After overcoming that fear, Farrell took her book to local publisher Wreckhouse Press Inc. to see what they thought of her creation. They also enjoyed the original tale and the colourful artwork and thought it was a perfect story to get printed.

Farrell’s book is currently available as both an E-Book and in print. Since the book’s publication, Farrell has sold 125 copies and says the feedback has been amazing.

“The initial reaction was really good actually,” said Farrell. “Everybody thinks it’s a very cute story with a great lesson.”

Farrell worked hard to ensure that, through her novel, the children reading it would learn a lesson, just as the title character did.

In the story, the main character Maddy Paddy, wanders off to explore the woods on her own. She learns that doing it alone wasn’t the best idea and she should have listened to her Mamma Bear’s advice all along. Farrell says all children’s novels offer a valuable lesson and she wanted hers to do the same on a more relatable note.

“I take inspiration from my own experience raising my kids,” said Farrell. “My first book – Maddy Paddy is based on my daughter. She was always adventurous. I wanted to give parents insight on how to handle certain circumstances.”

With the odds in her favour, Farrell has decided to keep her pen to the page. She currently has four other books in the works.

“It isn’t a series. It will always be different characters, but my characters are from the same world,” said Farrell. “I nicknamed them Farrell’s Fables.”

She adds, “I never planned any of it. It started as a project for me and my daughter as I said, but the ideas kept flowing out of me so I kept going.”

Her next release is inspired by her son. Seamus the Brave Puppy is due to be released quite soon and Farrell shared that her growing number of devoted readers are very excited to get their hands on her upcoming books.

“I can’t even describe the feeling of joy it brings me,” said Farrell. “It is overwhelming, hearing the positive feedback and knowing that children and parents are bonding through my work.”

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