Book Corner

Christmas Comes Early for Children’s Author

Mel Taylor-Bessent tells TW about her inspiring literary journey, from launching her own writing workshops to getting a publishing deal.

Although I grew up just down the road in Ashford, I seemed to spend most of my childhood and young adulthood in Twickenham; my mum worked there, and I went to St Mary’s University where I studied a Creative Writing degree. 

After graduating, I launched Little Star Writing – creative writing afterschool clubs for 7 to 11 year olds, predominantly in the Twickenham and Teddington areas. In fact, every week I taught at Archdeacon Cambridge, Trafalgar Juniors, Collis Primary, Stanley Primary, Orleans Primary, St Mary’s & St Peter’s, Twickenham Prep and lots of surrounding schools in Whitton, Richmond and Hampton. I also ran half term writing retreats and weekend workshops at St Mary’s University, so a lot of the parents and children in the area will know me! 

Although it took me nearly 15 years to fulfil my dream of becoming a children’s author (I nearly got published at 18), running the workshops in Twickenham and Teddington taught me so much and helped hone my writing skills immensely. The Little Star writers taught me so much about pace, humour and current trends, and I don’t think I’d be where I am today without them.

I also went on to launch Authorfy.com – an award-winning online platform that promotes children’s books, supports teachers and inspires children. I ended up working with most major children’s publishers, interviewing the likes of Jacqueline Wilson, Michael Morpurgo and Anthony Horowitz. When I met a literary agent at an author’s launch party two years ago, it felt like the universe was finally telling me it was time for my own books to be published.

We signed a three-book deal with Farshore in November 2020 and the first book in The Christmas Carrolls series will be released this month!

Available to pre-order at Amazon, Mel’s debut novel The Christmas Carrolls is a heart-warming and hilarious tale about the world’s most Christmassy family. Perfect for 8+ years, it’s a story about the power of spreading cheer, the magic of friendship and what really matters most at Christmas. Illustrated by Selom Sunu.


Becoming Your Best Self

Looking to unlock your potential and achieve personal growth and more success? A new book by Teddington’s Duncan Christie-Miller may just hold the key…

A former Royal Marines officer, Duncan has written many workbooks over the years to help his clients achieve the most from his management training sessions and coaching initiatives. During the first lockdown he seized the unexpected time on his hands to combine some teachings from these workbooks with fresh, new content and his latest book, The Optimum You, was born.

Focused on unlocking your potential and motivating you to aspire to achieve significant personal growth and development, it doesn’t promise to turn you into a superhero, but it is packed with practical, sensible advice and Duncan’s trademark common sense wisdom.

Progress, personal growth and success is self-identified, with the individual reader setting personal objectives and development opportunities according to their own parameters, timescales and talents. Progress reviews help you to judge the progress you are making and maintain your momentum.

The Optimum You challenges you to discover and use your latent talents to maximum advantage. The reader is encouraged to develop and implement a personal plan; the author has refrained from telling readers exactly what this should be, as devising and implementing the plan yourself is a key part of becoming your best self.

If you’re not looking for a specific challenge, The Optimum You provides a framework for maintaining a steady state, whilst encouraging some new learning and motivations – making the good even better.

The book is suitable for all but is most useful if you’re seeking sensible and satisfactory personal development – regardless of your age, ability or background.

If you’re facing a personal challenge or a work-related dilemma, or find yourself at one of life’s crossroads, then this book is for you. Students and those entering the world of work should also find it a highly useful read.

Find out more at theoptimumyou.co.uk.

Price £12, available at all good booksellers and on Amazon. 


An Intriguing Web of Deceit and Corruption 

Blind To Danger is the third book in the Dan Foster trilogy by local engineer and author David Lindsley. 

When a lawyer in India contacts crusading Texan attorney Scott Klein, the American is jubilant. He suspects the final piece has just dropped into the jigsaw of his long-running battle with the gigantic energy multinational, Global Consolidated Resources, GCR. 

The Indian had been defending GCR against charges of manslaughter following a fatal incident at a power station, and had uncovered evidence of a cover-up and perjury. But when he confronts his client he is thrown off the case and fired from his job. All doors are locked against him and he is forced to take on menial work to support his family. 

Aware of Klein’s fights with GCR, the Indian has decided to appeal to him in a last bid attempt to defend himself. Klein contacts his daughter who is living in London and asks her to find Dan Foster, a forensic engineer who can provide the expertise needed to bring down GCR. Initially reluctant to become involved, Foster finally agrees to look into the case. 

The ensuing drama is a web of deceit and corruption, involving a ruthless executive, manipulative lawyers and a sinister criminal organisation. 

Blind to Danger is available from Amazon. 

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