You would think that looking after three children, editing a monthly trade publication for the nails industry and producing a bi-annual consumer magazine would be enough to keep anyone busy. Anyone that is except Qatar-based super-mum Alex Fox, who managed to find a couple of extra hours in her very hectic day to work on her first ever children’s book, Windsock Wesley and his Wild and Wonderful Weather Machine. And now, three months since she started writing it, the book has finally been published.
Alex is a lady who seems to have everything under control – something she puts down to her positive attitude, which she claims helped her get over those initial rejections and secure a book deal. ‘I always believed in myself and my product,’ she says. ‘I read that book, The Secret, which says if you want something in life, you don’t will or hope, you just make it happen. My half-sister’s mother drew the illustrations for the story, and every time I sat down to write I would look at a JPEG image of what would end up being the front cover, telling myself over and over that this would be published. At the same time I imagined holding the actual published book in my hand. So, despite 12 rejection letters, I just knew it would happen one day and didn’t get upset.’
The book itself, the first in a five-part series, focuses on a slightly eccentric weatherman called Windsock Wesley (a bit like Doc Brown from the Back to the Future films), and his companion Cirrus, a talking capuchin monkey. Together, with the help of their fantastic flying mini-motor home, Cloud 9, they follow extreme weather conditions all over the world and manage to help out a few people along the way. ‘I always wanted to write a children’s book,’ reveals Alex. ‘I think it’s a really exciting thing to do when you have children of your own, because you can explore fun ideas just by talking to them. When I moved to Doha and was packing up my house in England, I found that I had bought a book in a jumble sale called Writing for Children, but I’d never read it. I thought I’d take it to Doha, and when I finally had some spare time I would read it. So I did. I didn’t have many friends when we first arrived here, so, when the children were in bed and I didn’t have anything to do for the magazine, I sat down and wrote. Pretty much straight away it made sense.’
Alex points out that being married to a forecaster, meteorologist and weather presenter helped her come up with her theme. Aimed at children between the ages of eight and 13, her book is set in the Amazon Basin, teaching children about different weather conditions and types of clouds. ‘There aren’t any other educational books focusing on the weather out there,’ says Alex. ‘Weather systems are taught in schools as part of the curriculum, and I wanted to write a book which supported that.’
And what do the next four books have in store? Well, book two is all about Qatar. ‘The extreme heat and dust storms will be the basis for the story,’ she reveals. ‘I will be including a Bedouin element as well as an expat one, and will use the inland sea as a fixed factual point of reference for the adventure to centre around.’ Future books will also feature the UK, America and Sri Lanka.
Windsock Wesley and his Wild and Wonderful Weather Machine is published by Strategic Publishing in the US, available from amazon.com for US$16.50