author of the children's book 'The Dreamling'
Thank you for agreeing to be interviewed for Makarelle. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I've lived in Helensburgh since birth and have 3 brothers and 3 sisters. When my brother Brian was 3 he passed away from Pneumonia so I currently have 3 older siblings and 2 younger ones. I went to school in Dumbarton and when I left I trained as an Electrician and that is my current job. I was married in 1986 to Charlotte and we have 3 wonderful children. We have now been married 35 years and are still enjoying life.
"We can take you anywhere you wish, Peter," said the Dreamlings, "but remember it's working out how to get back home that's the fun bit!"
You have worked as an electrician in Scotland for over 40 years. What gave you the idea to write a children’s book?
Having been a childminder along with my wife Charlotte for several years, I had a bit of an insight into how some children were missing the adventurous side of their lives. Parental restrictions and other reasons made them miss the important part of their childhood. The book was an effort to help and Lockdown was the best time to do it.
Makarelle: Why did you choose to write about nightmares?
Paul Arthur: It’s more of a dream state adventure which could be frightening for some children but there is someone there to help them along at all times, a guardian if you like.
Makarelle: How did the Covid Pandemic affect your project?
Paul Arthur: Lockdown gave me time to think and time to work on the book when I would normally have been working. I travelled to Edinburgh every day and it was extremely tiring so Lockdown was a bit of a relief for me.
Makarelle: Do you feel that your creativity has helped you through the mental health challenges of this pandemic?
Paul Arthur: It has helped in as much that it has given me something to concentrate on rather than just the garden. The pandemic has been challenging for everyone and even as far as it took so much longer to have the book released with the Publisher's personnel working from home.
Makarelle: Do you have any tips for others who might like to write a children’s book?
Paul Arthur: if you have the imagination and can think of something authentic to write about then give it a try, you’ve nothing to lose.
Makarelle: The theme of the autumn issue of Makarelle will be ‘Twisted Tales’. I guess nightmares can be the inspiration for many of those stories. What is the strangest nightmare you have had?
Paul Arthur: If I told you that I have seen a ghost sitting at the bottom of my bed, would you believe me??
Makarelle: How did you help your own children when they had nightmares?
Paul Arthur: They mostly climbed into bed with us to be honest, thunder and lightning being the most frightening things for them. A bit of reassurance and they would be back asleep in no time.
Makarelle: Are there any mistakes you made in approaching publishers that others can learn from?
Paul Arthur: Make sure you do your homework, publishers can charge quite a large sum at the start and you get very little for your money. Make sure you check all the reviews.
Makarelle: When did you find out that your book was going to be published?
Paul Arthur: I spoke to three different publishers and they all agreed it was worth publishing so I picked the best one, in my opinion, and it took about 8 weeks from sending them the draft to it being accepted for publishing.
Makarelle: Has your life changed in any way since becoming a published author?
Paul Arthur: Not really, the book has only been out a few months and the reviews are good but I could do with more of them coming in. Plenty of people ask me how it’s doing though, which is nice.
Makarelle: Who illustrated the book?
Paul Arthur: Austin MacAuley assigned an illustrator
Makarelle: Do you have any other books planned for the future?
Paul Arthur: I have a sequel to The Dreamling, which I will release when I know more about the current book. I have a sci-fi book that I am currently working on and I have a short story called Granny’s Jumper, currently on Amazon.
Makarelle: Thank you very much for your time!
The Dreamling was published by Austin Macauley Publishers in 2021. See links above for content and purchasing details.
All image rights on this page remain with Paul Arthur and Austin Macauley Publishers.