Keswick school teacher and children’s author wins Dragons’ Den star contest

A teacher and children’s book author from West Cumbria has had her work noticed by a Dragon’s Den star.

Helen Heraldsen, English teacher at Keswick School, published her first book in 2019 by Cockermouth-based Elterwater Press.

But when Covid hit, the publisher shut down and Helen has continued as a solo “entrepreneurial author” since then.

In addition to working as a teacher and writing two series of books: Amber’s Pony Tales and Daley’s Dog Tales, Helen learned the trade of publishing.

Helen, who lives in Great Clifton, said: “I had already started the show and people were reading them. I would do.

“I have no business background, I was always a teacher, so I didn’t know anything about it. I found the community of self-published authors and learned as I went.”

This year, she published five fiction books and entered into a foreign rights agreement with a Turkish publisher for the translation rights to her book, “The Dalmatian Who Lost His Spots”.

And Helen has just been chosen as the winner of Theo Paphitis’ Small Business Sunday competition.

Theo is best known for his appearance in Dragons’ Den on BBC Two and is the owner of Ryman Stationery, Boux Avenue lingerie and Robert Dyas housewares.

The competition invites participants to describe their business in a single tweet.

Helen was chosen as the winner with her tweet: “I’m a children’s author, animal lover, book enthusiast and literacy advocate. I would love to win to help spread the word that literacy opens minds and doors … world and the opportunities it offers. ”

“I thought maybe it was worth it for me to participate. It was a bit of a shock. It’s nice to have the recognition,” she said.

The 41-year-old is passionate about literacy for children, which led her to start writing books.

Helen said: “The liberation that you can get by reading a book is amazing.

“A lot of people have found creative writing during Covid and Lockdown and have seen how wonderful it is. For a lot of kids, the allure of devices and technology takes them away from that.

“As a teacher, I notice that literacy skills are not improving or even declining. You can’t go out into the world if you don’t have good literacy skills. It holds you back in everything – applying for jobs, communicating, if you don’t have those skills, it’s a big slam.

“I really want to make sure that no one gets in the way of this in life. I produce books that children want to read and I have also started taking writing classes.”

Helen draws inspiration from her own childhood experiences with animals when writing her stories.

She added: “I put my own animals in the books. I was raised with animals. I spent most of my time with dogs, cats and ponies. They are my favorite subjects. . People say write what you know and are passionate about. ”

Books can be purchased on Amazon or ordered from a bookstore, if they are not already in stock.

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