Monday, 1 April 2013

Rory the Dragon and Princess Daisy

A very warm welcome to multi-talented author, Bill Kirton, whose latest book for children, Rory the Dragon and Princess Daisy, is both a fun read and a great means of raising funds for an important charity.

 Rory the Dragon and Princess Daisy

Rory’s not a typical dragon. He’s gentle and doesn’t like the idea of capturing princesses and locking them up. The problem is that his gentleness has been noticed and the older dragons don’t like it.

Daisy isn’t a typical princess either. She quite likes the excitement of being captured but isn’t keen on marrying the various princes who come to call. The two of them meet just after an older dragon has lodged a formal complaint with Rory and a prince with a loud sniff has come to marry Daisy. As they help one another to solve their respective problems, they realise it’s quite fun being different.

How the story came about

Like many of my children’s stories, this one was born in bed as grandchildren arrived needing their usual early morning entertainment. Over the years when they were young enough, this produced many variations – Goldilocks reworked as Tracey the Lion and the Three Giraffes, a nameless giant whose wife played rugby, the six feet two inches tall basketball player Dib Gringe, who wore soft leather trousers, no underpants, and a top made of seaweed and was already six years old when he was born. A lot of the stories are generated by combining things that don’t belong together, such as creating a male fairy called Stanley who lives under a dripping tap and is always grumpy and miserable. And, with Rory and Daisy, I had two characters who refused to conform to their stereotypes – a gentle dragon and a princess who was generally unimpressed by princes.

The specialness of the book to me, though, comes from a strange and very sad coincidence. It was written over a year before my great-niece, Daisy Elizabeth Warn, was born. Daisy was just 5 weeks old when she was diagnosed with (Type 1) Spinal Muscular Atrophy, a rare and very severe neuromuscular condition. Sadly, it’s incurable and Daisy lived for just 16 weeks. I live at the other end of the UK from her family’s home so I never met her but the photos and videos show a beautiful, smiling baby and it must have been heart-breaking for those around her to know that she’d never survive.

Copies of the book (£4.99 + £1.20 first class p&p) are available from:
 
The charity

Throughout her short but happy life, Daisy and her family received amazing medical and emotional care, support and love from the Children’s Hospice South West (CHSW).  It’s the only charity in the whole of the South West of England which offers help and support to children and their families who are living with life–limiting conditions.

To show their gratitude for the work and love of the CHSW’s staff, Daisy’s two grandmothers and two great aunts formed the Friends of Daisy Chain, a family group which since its creation has helped to raise thousands of pounds for the charity. And it occurred to me that this book, with its Princess Daisy, might help to add to the total. My nephew, Joe, did the illustrations and my brothers and sisters have worked hard to publicise and market it. It really has been a family affair dedicated to the memory of our own Daisy and the love she inspired.

The CHSW website

I’ve been lots of things – university lecturer, voice-over artist, actor, director and always a writer. I used to write plays for stage and radio but nowadays my main output is crime fiction set in north east Scotland. I’ve also written a historical novel, a spoof crime novel, a fantasy about online role-playing games and many short stories. I have three children and eight grandchildren, so there’s no shortage of critics for my stories for a younger audience.

Bill's website                                                                                                      Photo by Anne Darling

13 comments:

  1. Thanks for featuring the book, Rosemary. I think you know how important it is for me and the family.

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  2. I have a copy - it's a lovely book and a very worthy cause.

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  3. This sounds like a lovely book, Bill, and even better that it's helping a great cause. (I also loved the sound of those other stories you told your grandchildren!)

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  4. You're very welcome, Bill.

    Thanks, Myra - I've ordered mine!

    I liked those too, Vikki!

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  5. Thanks all. Yes Vikki, those other stories are lurking there waiting to be dusted off and printed.

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  6. Your stories all sound wonderful, Bill. And this is a very special book indeed. What a great cause you are helping.
    Thanks to you and Rosemary for telling us about it.

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  7. Many thanks for coming over, Joanna!

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  8. The book sounds lovely, Bill, as do all your stories. What a great cause x

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  9. Bill, I'm waiting for my copy to arrive. My granddaughter, I'm sure, will love it. Well done on the support for the Children's Hospice.

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  10. Thanks Teresa and Joan. And the choice of charity was easy, Joan.

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  11. I'm a bit late coming in here but I have now read the book myself and enjoyed the story and I know my two youngest grandchildren are going to love it. Thanks Bill and good luck to the Daisy Chain. You certainly are a multi talented writer.

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  12. Thanks for dropping in, Teresa!

    I now have my copy, Joan, an it looks great!

    Thanks for that, Gwen.

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