First-time author asks for help from community

Shirley Faichney has asked for support from the community. (Pic: George McLuskie)
Shirley Faichney has asked for support from the community. (Pic: George McLuskie)

A first-time author is asking the Levenmouth community to help her with her debut book.

Shirley Faichney (46) from Methilhill, has written a series of books titled The Adventures of Aidy and Wyn, despite admitting that she struggled with literacy for years.

On Monday, Shirley began tweeting and posting sections of the first book, Woodland Adventure, and is asking for feedback from the public.

She said: “I’m still unsure if I have the basics correct – the grammar, spelling – so any advice would be welcomed.

“I’d also love to hear if children and their families enjoy the story, its rhythm, its theme and perhaps most importantly if they would like to read more.”

Shirley, a practitioner who has been working in the Levenmouth area for more than two decades, working in childcare and learning services, says she has spent years telling stories to her children and those in her care.

Explaining why she decided to start writing down her stories, Shirley said: “Although I have enjoyed sharing storytelling experiences with children for many years, I never had the confidence to record those stories.

“At school, literacy was always my achilles heel.

“I wrote from right to left, jumbled my words and my teachers had so little faith in my work that they refused to enter me for my English O Level.

“My dad, however, did have faith and paid for me to sit the exam, and luckily his money wasn’t wasted when I passed – just.

“However, literacy remains tricky and although I eventually finished a childhood practice degree two years ago, I never considered myself capable of writing my stories, probably for fear of criticism.

Shirley continued: “When my eight-year-old daughter told me off for not trying I knew I had to lead by example and give it a go.

“I’m not an author, I’m never going to find literacy easy, but because I did keep trying, I now have a book.”

The result, The Adventures of Aidy and Wyn, contain environmental messages, and Shirley hopes that they inspire children to explore their own local areas.

To link with the release of the books, which she also did the artwork for, Shirley is also running a series of storytelling and workshops.

Participants will get to hear the story, take part in activities and take a stroll around Letham Glen.

Anyone who offers advice on the book will be automatically entered into a draw, with eight families chosen to take part in the first workshop in October.

Shirley hopes that, once she has received feedback, to self-publish the books.

To see the book on social media, search for naturallearnersscotland on Facebook or @muddytoad1 on Twitter.