Ruth Pereira is a mum-of-two who has written three children’s books since the start of the pandemic. Here she explains how she wrote her latest, about a bear called Little Fluff, to help her children embrace the concept of diversity from a young age
When I was a teen, I was in an accident in which I was lucky to survive. Each day since then, I’ve really appreciated all the things I’ve been able to do, like go to university, see lots of beautiful places, meet my husband and have two beautiful children. Of course, there’s been lots of challenges that have come along too, but I’m grateful I get to experience life’s adventure and live my own little story.
I remember first hearing about Covid 19 on the news and feeling sorry for the people it was affecting, far away from me. I expected it to blow over. Each time I listened to the news, the pandemic seemed to be coming a little closer to home. Eventually, people around me were bringing it up as a topic of conversation. Finally, lockdown hit, and I was in a little bit of disbelief. I also felt a little bit panicked. I had been relying heavily on taking my two young children out to play at different toddler groups. Now I would have to find a way to keep them entertained all day, without parks, or seeing any friends, or any support from other mums. It’s amazing to think what we can achieve when we have to though, isn’t it? I found that as we adapted together, as a family, we all became closer despite it being a difficult adjustment. I found some silver linings in those Covid 19 clouds.
I first had the idea of writing my first book, Little Fluff, during the pandemic actually. My husband was working from home, whilst he was on his lunch break, he stayed with the children whilst I went to have a nap. Although tired, I couldn’t sleep when I laid down. Little Fluff popped into my mind, floating away from the North Pole on his little ice boat. I had to let him out of there by writing his story on paper. I’ve always enjoyed stories and dabbled in creative writing, but I’d never seriously considered completing a story and putting it out there. My husband read Little Fluff however and encouraged me to go for it. So, I created some pictures for the book, put it all together, then released it. I was so pleased that it did so well and was thrilled to even do a reading of it as a guest on BBC Radio Suffolk.
I recently wrote a sequel to Little Fluff, named ‘Fluff’s Next Adventure’. I also had the privilege of reading this one on BBC Radio Suffolk too. It follows Fluff around the world as he rides on Santa’s sleigh, delivering presents to the world’s bears. He discovers that there’s all sorts of bears out there that are different from him. He develops an understanding of how all the different bears are wonderful and make the world a better place. I wrote it in the hopes that I could help my own children embrace the concept of diversity from a young age. I hope that as they grow, they will be eager to learn about different cultures and how we all enrich the world in our own way.
I also wrote another standalone story called ‘Wand‘, a magical tale of how unicorns came into existence. There’s a lame horse in the story who turns out to be a hero. I wanted to include a little message in there for anyone who feels they are at a disadvantage somehow, that all of us have a role to play and that each of us can be an important influence on someone else.
My inspiration comes from many sources. I certainly am inspired a lot when I’m out in nature. Originally, I’m from Sheffield in Yorkshire. Presently, I’m lucky enough to be here in Suffolk, which is charming. I love seeing the beautiful places around where I live – so many inspiring spots of beauty. I find that my imagination is far livelier after being out and about in Suffolk.
I am also heavily influenced by my father, John Greenfield. I lost him to cancer just over three years ago. Since being very young, I used to beg my dad to tell me his ‘made up’ stories at bedtime instead of reading to me. His stories were always so much better. As I got older, my dad and I would write half a chapter of a story, then give it to the other person to complete. That way, we’d write stories together. It’s a precious thing that we did that I hold close to my heart. He’d always include a witch in his stories. The witch in ‘Wand’ is based on the witches he’d make up.
After releasing my first book, I had SO many people say to me, ‘I have a story that I want to write too, but I just haven’t gotten around to it yet’.
I’d say, if you want to write, do it! There are so many amazing characters imprisoned in people’s heads. They deserve to be set free for the world to meet them. I was so surprised by how well my writing has been received.
You don’t need your writing to be perfect, just see where it takes you. I sometimes write nonsense on scraps of paper in my kitchen! Wherever you are, whether you become the next Tolkien, or it’s forgotten the next day, just set those characters free! Pick up a pen and WRITE!
What’s next for me? I don’t have a clear plan yet. I have two more stories I need to get down on paper. I will continue to write as I get the time to do so.