Touching children’s hearts

Touching children's hearts

My first reading close to my Swiss hometown: all 30 chairs at the Bistro Bechandra in Elgg were taken.

What are the most touching moments during the readings of children’s books?

My very special moments are when small girls and boys start telling things like about a cat, who came to their house, who did this and that and how that felt or like today, how a small boy told a long, long story with plenty of unimportant details about moving and so on in order to reveal at the end how it was that the cat purred.

It is amazing to realize that my story about the boy Leonard and the cat named Loulou resonates with children.

But not only with children… Another touching moment was when an adult told me at my very first reading that my story reminded her so much of her beloved dog from childhood that she was moved to tears. Or one colleague bought my story because when he was a kid, his cat always walked him to school as Loulou does with Leonard in my story.

Today, at my first reading close to my Swiss hometown Winterthur, I didn’t expect a big audience. Fifteen minutes before the start, half of the restaurant was full of joyful, small and big children and even elderly people, and at the start, all 30 chairs were taken.

What a moment to stand in front of this big audience and to see all these open eyes and minds to listen to me!

I’ve been reading stories to children since many years. My two boys, now 13 and 15 and in puberty, listened to me every night. We read together so many books, we read all books written by Astrid Lindgren. We travelled with Jim Knopf and Lukas, the train conductor. We suffered with the figures of Brother Grimm, and when we didn’t have a book at our hands, I started inventing stories about an elephant who was too big because he loved eating, and how many times, my boys told me to continue the story about Frederic, the elephant.

Reading to a big audience like today is completely different. It is strange because I am not that close to the children and I cannot feel exactly how they perceive the story. That’s why I love to ask questions in between in order be able to hear what they have understood and what they have been thinking of it.

One thing I was reassured of today: Animals like cats and dogs have such a big impact on people’s lives.

It gives so much color to my life with my two sons. Besides, our cat story only started five years ago with two cats. Then, Loulou joined us, gave birth to four babies. We kept two of them. Meanwhile, we only have three cats because one of the babies decided to stay at the neighbor’s house. I could tell so many stories about our cats, how they disappeared, how we found them again, how many dead mice, but even more living mice had visited us, and how many of them, I had to catch. Funny moments, I can tell!

The sequel to the first book won’t talk about mice but will be the story about «Leonard and Lea», and there will be a dog playing a big role together with the cat Loulou. The story is already complete in my mind, and more than three-quarter of it written down. As soon as I have some quiet moments without running after mice, I will get it finished.

Encouraging people to write their books

Encouraging people to write their books

My first meeting with over 30 Swiss female writers gave me a lot of inspiration.

I’ve been writing since I am 12 or 13. I filled up many journals with my thoughts, and I always dreamt of writing a book. But, and this is something which I discovered this very year, I was scared of publishing my thoughts, because people would judge me, and I did not stand this idea of putting myself in a public place and giving others the chance to put me down.

I was writing a lot as a journalist for newspapers and magazines some years ago. But this wasn’t that difficult for me because I was writing about other people’s opinions and I did not have to expose myself too much.

Publishing my first book, a children’s book called «Leonard and Loulou» this spring, gave me such a great pleasure and self-confidence. Of course, I was very skeptical at the beginning because again, I was afraid of other people’s judgment. Getting more and more nice feedbacks to the story about a boy and a cat, touching people’s heart when doing my reading, I started believing more and more in my capacity in writing. And, yes, there will be a follow-up to the first book, a second one with the title «Leonard and Lea» which will be published in 2019.

A wonderful moment and very reassuring had also been when I discussed with the New Yorker publishing house, Morgan James, about how my book will be printed and sold in July 2019 in the States, in England and in Australia. I got so many compliments by the editor board for the story and the book itself. It might sound crazy, but I couldn’t believe that I had created this book when I heard them talking about it. Honestly, I got goose pumps when I read the description of my book written by their marketing department because it sounded so great.

This book is also the starting point of my new business which is to help people to write their books, to give them the confidence they might be lacking of as I did and to get them to this wonderful moment in their lives where they open the first page of their printed book or published e-Book and they feel overwhelmed and have goose pumps.

I want to encourage people to write what they want to share with the world. I want to help women and men not to hold back their stories, their experiences and their knowledge, because it is so amazing what I receive when I dared to share my story: a great assurance of myself that there is a sense in being on this planet, and there is a mission I am asked to fulfill: helping others to write their books. It might sound strange to some of you, but I don’t know how may times I was willing to leave this world because I didn’t see any sense of being here any more. This could be the story of a book for adults I will be writing some day. We will see.

I am very grateful for having met wonderful, inspiring business coaches in the last 12 months, who empowered me to take action, among them are Kane and Alessia Minkus, Kevin Paetz and Michelle Masters. Thank you so much for your guidance and encouragement and thanks as well for this amazing community I met through you.

My first children’s book is born


My first children's book is born

My friends are very supportive. They all are very fond of «Leonard and Loulou». Many thanks!

Publishing a book is like being pregnant and giving birth to a child. “Leonard and Loulou”, my first children’s book, is like a child who is taking me on a journey I never thought it would exist.

I had sent the German manuscript to several publishing houses in Switzerland, and guess, nobody wanted to take it. I was sad at the time I got these answers. Today, I am happy that it worked out for me like that.

End of October 2017, I decided to put the book on the Swiss crowd founding platform called wemakeit to raise some money to print the book in Switzerland. And I was so excited to see how the money came in because 34 of my dear friends decided to support me. Thanks so much again.

“3000 Swiss Francs should do it to print some hundred of copies of my book”, I thought. To find a printing office took me a long time. I asked at least 10 printing offices to get an offer. I always wanted to have a nice hard cover with a solid binding because the book should be resistant to a lot of hands to be touched by and to get handed over to the next generation.  How I love my children’s books, which I looked at as a child and I could look at again with my two boys now!

As a multicultural being, having studied French, English and German, I wanted to start with the book in three languages. Again, my friends are so wonderful. They translated the story into English (Marlyse Treichler) and French (Jacques Roch, the father of my two boys), and another friend (Cornelia Schmidt), who has her own translation office (I can give you her address because she’s got no website), lectured it. Thanks a lot to you all!

The very beautiful layout was made up by my neighbor, Adrian Ochsner and Printed Matter. Thanks, Adrian!  You may ask him for editing your book.  But at the moment, he loves doing some big construction works, he is driving construction machines and will be having time for graphic design again in about one year. That’s what he told me when he was devotedly repairing his newly-bought old tractor the other day.

Last but not least, also many thanks to my friend Kiril Charov (Swiss-Bulgarian doctor and artist) who found the great Bulgarian illustrator Teodora Dimitrova. She invented the main characters, my boy Léonard and our cat Loulou according to the pictures she got from us. Thanks to her, the book has been published. Before, Kiril had found another illustrator who didn’t fit at all to the story, and I nearly stopped my project to publish the story because I couldn’t imagine the book with other illustrations than they are now.

And the picture shows the wonderful action launched by my friend Dave Hertig (the big Swiss expert for Content Marketing Services) when he interviewed me in Zurich at his event, and half of the participants wanted to have my book.

You can order “Leonard and Loulou” as a hard copy by sending me an e-mail or you can buy it as an eBook at Amazon or iBooks.

My latest and craziest idea is to bring the book into the Chinese market. Chinese people are very fond of Heidi and a lot of Swiss products. And I already see “Leonard and Loulou” in front of my inner eyes in Chinese. I let you know when this idea will be starting to fly.