A BILLERICAY mum’s bedtime stories, written to comfort her daughters as she divorced their father, are soon to be enjoyed by children everywhere.
Sibel Beadle, 46, who lives on a former farm at the edge of Stock, started penning the Witchy Travel Tales for her girls Vie, now ten, and Kei, now eight, two years ago.
Now the first of the five tales is on sale in book stores nationwide.
But how did it all come about?
“My husband left two and a half years ago and my decree absolute was almost a year ago,” Sibel explains.
“I had told my girls goodnight stories every night, however, I never remembered what I told them the night before and always started a new story.
“When we separated my ex-husband didn’t like it when I called my children when they were with him, so, I started texting them paragraphs of a good night story on WhatsApp. And because the next night I could read what I said the night before I managed to write the story line for my first story during the two weeks they were away with their dad for the first time, without me.”
Being away from her girls was and is hellish, Sibel confesses.
“I felt so sick when my kids went away for the first time with their dad. It felt like cutting off my arm. I was too devastated to work during the two weeks and as a result had to ask for time off from my day job. I couldn’t manage to focus on work. I had a cabrio car back then and I have a giant German shepherd dog called Mickey. I popped him in the back seat, put down the top of the car and drove to Low Wray Campsite in the Lake District, a place I often went camping with my kids.
“I had to sleep with my German shepherd in my tiny tent, because I found it really hard to be on my own and I cried myself to sleep. I woke up every morning around 4-5am and immediately started hiking with my dog. I usually managed to calm down around lunch after several hours of hiking.
“That’s when I sat down and started texting my kids my stories. My older daughter struggled every night to fall asleep without me and the first story I wrote is about a little girl who struggles to fall asleep. However, from a publishing point of view that ended up being my second story. So the first book I wrote is going to be available shortly after my first book is released.”
Sibel’s series Witchy Travel Tales tells the story of a witch called Miranda, who has seven beautiful daughters.
In the first book of the series, Miranda and her daughters cross seven seas in search of a better home. One stormy night they land on the Seven Sisters Cliffs, south of England. The night they land on the Seven Sisters Cliffs a magical bunny that lives in the hills visits Miranda and helps her to build seven magical houses.
The series of travel tales about the witch and her seven daughters, sees them explore the beautiful land they have arrived in and visit ancient sights throughout England and the world in search of magic.
But what does Sibel’s girls most enjoy about her tales of Miranda and her daughters?
“I discuss the books with them and if they don’t like it I’ll rewrite it,” she reveals.
“They are my biggest critics. If they are at their dads and I am texting them I usually judge their response by how many emojis I get. They love that I listen to them and they love being characters in the book. They always tell me what they want to say or how they want to be in my story. I can’t always fulfil their wishes, but I carefully listen to them.”
And what’s the one thing she hopes children will take away from her stories?
“A love of nature and a love for exploring,” she asserts. “I love England, but I loved every country I have ever visited. The world is so beautiful and exciting. I hope kids who read my books, want to visit the places I write about.”
Does Sibel still go away when her girls are away with their dad?
“I struggle when my kids are away and hiking with my dog Mickey helps me,” she sighs. “So I often go hiking with my dog when my kids leave. That’s why I have seen so much of England.”
In today’s app-happy, technology-filled world, is it harder to get children interested in books and stories and magic does she think?
“My girls love Roblox and Mind-Craft,” Sibel says. “But every night when we cuddle at bedtime they want to hear Miranda’s adventures. I am open to their world and they love venturing into mine.”
Are bedtimes stories as important now as ever I wonder?
“Yes, because kids tell you all their secrets when they feel safe and warm,” Sibel smiles. “You should never miss a bedtime. No matter how much work you have to do. And if you can’t be there yourself for bedtime you should make sure they have a ‘precious’ person with them who will make bedtime safe and warm.”
The Witchy Travel Tales series is published by Grosvenor House. The first book, the Seven Sisters, £6.99, is out now and available on Amazon and in all good book shops. Click here to buy the Seven Sisters by Sibel Beadle
This feature was first published in the Echo newspaper on Wednesday, September 27, 2017: www.echo-news.co.uk