Book in memory of daughter is published after years in a drawer
- Credit: Beverley Bowry
An Ipswich writer has published her second children's novel three decades after writing it, in memory of her stillborn daughter Annabel.
It was the late 1980s when Beverley Bowry first wrote her novel, Symphony Strange and the Amazing Annabatya de Vole, by hand - and proceeded to keep it in a drawer for thirty years.
She said: "It got updated and edited from time to time, but it was the relative success of my first children's novel that made it seem like the opportune moment to go for it and get this one self-published as well.
"If I didn't do it now I never would - and my two daughters insisted that it needed to be in proper book form."
Since penning that first book, Beverley has written other things - including poems, short stories and historical fiction - but her first published work was a children's novel in 2019 called Charlie Palmer Says.
"When I began writing in my early teens, I never envisioned being solely a children's author, but having two daughters and then granddaughters my ideas started becoming more centred around children.
"All sorts of things inspire my writing - Charlie Palmer Says came to me at a children's party. And Annabatya came to me as a character a few years after having a stillborn daughter, who we named Annabel.
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"I gave her special powers and as my eldest daughter was at high school I decided to make Annabatya the same sort of age - with a friend called Symphony Strange. Using some occasions drawn from my own school day memories I added some baddies and a magical twist, and the novel was born."
Events to celebrate Beverley's first release were halted due to the pandemic, but she's hoping that school visits, book fairs and signings will be making a return to help promote the new book.
And she's still writing, revealing that a sequel to Charlie Palmer Says is in the works - as is a historical novel for adults based on her newfound interest in genealogy.
But it's the story told in that first handwritten manuscript that means the most.
Royalties from the novel are being donated to Sands, the leading stillbirth and neonatal death charity in the UK, to thank the organisation for its help when the Bowry family suffered its loss.
She said: "When I was asked by the publisher if I wished to include a dedication I knew that it had to be for Annabel. But when I held the book in my hands I decided I wanted to go further to support a charity that kept me going in the years following our loss."
"All my family know just how much writing means to me but without their never-ending support and encouragement the experience would mean nothing. This book, in particular, has become part of the family and our dearest wish now is to see it out there raising funds for Sands.
"Knowing that this tribute to our little daughter is aiding this wonderful charity means a huge amount to us both."
Symphony Strange and the Amazing Annabatya de Vole is out now and can be purchased online.