Fylde author Katie celebrates publication debut with call back to her old school

Katie Clapham at the launch of her book The Missing Bookshop at Storytellers Inc in St Annes
Katie Clapham at the launch of her book The Missing Bookshop at Storytellers Inc in St Annes

It's every writer's dream to see their book in the window of a bookshop - imagine how much that delight is increased when the bookshop is your own.

Fylde bookseller Katie Clapham has had her first book published - and where better to launch it than at Storytellers Inc, the bookshop in St Annes she has run with mum Carolyn since 2010?

The Missing Bookshop, a children's story aimed at six- to eight-year-olds with illustrations by Kirsti Beautyman, was published by Stripes, an imprint of Little Tiger Press, just in time for Independent Bookshops Week, a national celebration of local independent bookshops.

Katie, a 33-year-old mum-of-one who has always been eager to write for children, then went on to unveil the book and read from it to an audience of pupils at her former primary school, Heyhouses in St Annes.

"It was the perfect place to be on publication day," said Katie, who is already working on other stories she hopes will also be published.

"I enjoyed showing all the children my school photos and talking about the stories I wrote when I was their age, especially as one of my teachers is now the head teacher and was there to see it all happen."

Mum Carolyn said: "We are so proud of her and had a launch event in the shop as well as the event at the school.

"Katie has always loved writing and it is great to see this book in print.

"She has never actually met the illustrator but the specialist publishers have made sure the words and pictures work perfectly together and it has made a lovely book which has been attracting plenty of interest."

After leaving Heyhouses, Katie attended Lytham St Annes Technology and Performing Arts College and then gained a BA degree in English and Creative Writing at Royal Holloway the University of London, followed by an MA in Poetic Practice.

Elizabeth Hodgson, headteacher at Heyhouses School, said: "Katie was indeed in my class when I first started at Heyhouses.

"She was a great child to teach and her potential with her writing was clear from an early age.

"Katie had real flair and a natural ability to interest the reader and as her teacher I looked forward to reading her stories.

"Katie was also excellent at writing poetry; many a time I was amazed by the poems she produced; funny, sad, thoughtful. Her natural style and creativity shone.

"I have loved her first book, as have the children too. Heyhouses and all her former teachers are very proud of her.".

Ther Missing Bookshop is described by the publishers as 'a warm and uplifting tale about the importance of stories'.

It tells of Milly, who loves going to story time at her local bookshop.

Mrs Minty is an encyclopedia of books and knows the perfect story for every occasion ... tales of mischievous children and faraway lands, magical beasts and daring adventures. But the bookshop is old and creaky, just like Mrs Minty herself. And then one day Milly arrives to find the shop gone.

What has happened to Mrs Minty and her irreplaceable bookshop?