A Tayside barista’s self-illustrated debut children’s book has hit the shelves.
Johnathan Liddell, from Piperdam, said he is over the moon to see his first book The Ellie Adventures, hit shelves across the UK.
The book, which Johnathan wrote while furloughed from his job as a bartender, was supported through a Kickstarter campaign which raised more than £3,000 and the former Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design (DCJAD) student is delighted to see his hard work pay off.
The story follows Ellie, who lives on the fictional Scottish island of Descendora with her uncle, a bear and a barn owl, and details her battle with self doubt.
The final section of the book, named “Over to You,” is designed for children to open up about their own troubles, inspiring them through leading questions and giving space to answer them, reflecting on their own resources and build resilience.
Johnathan, who wrote and illustrated the book, said the characters are an amalgamation of his family members, who have supported him throughout the process.
He said: “It has been quite the rollercoaster. I first thought about doing this 13 years ago.
“I went to art school but I never really went down that road. I refound my love for illustrating and wanted to write a kids’ book.
“I’d had set a target of doing it before I turned 30.
“I’ve been a bartender for the last five years, and am working in maintenance, as well as as a barista and at Middlebank Golf Range in Errol just now. I was furloughed in September and started then.
“I had the name and idea but I hadn’t sat down to do it.
“As an illustrator, I found the writing to be more enjoyable as a challenge.”
Johnathan says the book is something that parents and youngsters can enjoy together and subtly deals with difficult issues like loss of loved ones.
“Ellie is a combination of my three sisters,” Johnathan said.
“We started a Kickstarter to help get it published in October. It raised more than £3,000. I was totally humbled by that, especially in the middle of a pandemic.
“Seeing it in print was like a relief, and felt like I’d really achieved something. I’ve had messages from parents in 19 different countries and some asking for book two, which has been lovely.
“I’ve already sketched up a cover for book two and got a working story.
“Anybody can do it if they have determination, set a deadline and have the right people around them.”
The Ellie Adventures Book 1: You Have All You Need, is available online and in Waterstones now.