Firm friends Rachel Harker and Julia Williams first met 12 years ago whilst they were teaching at a secondary school in South East London. Julia taught English, whilst Rachel
Although they both loved their jobs, as with many teachers, the increasing work load and endless student leveling meant that they were both seeing less and less of their families, they have children the same age and say they spent their maternity leave together; ‘Dreaming big and talking of leaving teaching.’
When they both decided to leave teaching, Julia went to teach in Thailand and Rachel moved back to her hometown of Liverpool. She says; ‘It was with a heavy heart that I decided to leave the profession, but I wanted to spend more time with my young family.’ This is when she began to draw and paint portraits for friends and family, and rediscovered her love of making art.
Meanwhile in Thailand, Julia had been learning about Early Years and Foundation Stage development, which is the acquisition language and the retention of words through rhyme. She created the character, Peculia Fright and invented a story that tapped into the slightly scary side of a child’s imagination.
The story is centred around a little girl called Peculia Fright, who wakes in the middle of the night to hear a loud noise, and is determined to find out what the noise is and where it is coming from. The story captured Rachel’s imagination and she produced 8 illustrations to accompany it, some of them in full colour and others in an atmospheric black and white.
After initially considering turning the book into an app, they stumbled upon Britain’s Next Best Seller, which is a crowd-funded startup website. After submitting the manuscript and illustrations it was accepted straight away. Julia and Rachel received a huge amount of support in the first week, achieving over 200 copies in pre-order sales, but have to get 500 before they secure their publishing dream!
They are offering free resources to schools that go along with the book such as schemes of work, and ideas sheets in drama, literacy and art, and have already had interest globally from Australia, Dubai and Singapore, and are currently receiving support and advice from The Women’s Organisation
If you would like to help Rachel and Julia achieve their big dream of publishing, then you can pre-order Peculia Fright’s Awful Night at Britain’s Next Bestseller, and follow their progress on Facebook.