My first two novels, Searching for Steven and Getting Over Gary, have been out for a couple of weeks now with their brand new covers. Dreaming About Daran will be out soon but I just need to give it a final proof-read and have been so snowed under with the day job recently that I haven't had time to do that.
Although I've gone indie, I have released my books under the brand of 'Little Bear Books' and my husband has designed a gorgeous set of logos to go with them. The black version of the bear with the little bear inside it will be used on most books but there are some varieties that we can use on marketing materials.
Why Little Bear Books? Bears are very special to me. I'm an arctophile. No, it's not something rude! It's a collector of teddy bears. I love anything bear related - of the real or the teddy variety - and I have a particular fondness for collectible jointed teddy bears.
That's not the only reason we've gone for Little Bear Books, though. Bears do have a relevance to my writing. In 2002, I ended a relationship and had a big decision to make as to whether I bought another house in Reading where I was living at the time or whether I moved back to the north where I'm from and opened my own business. A friend gave me a gift voucher for a telephone clairvoyant. I'm not really into these things but I decided to give her a call one evening figuring I might get some clarity by talking through my options. What I got instead was the inspiration for the story Searching for Steven when the clairvoyant told me I was going to move back home, open a shop, and meet the man of my dreams called Steven. I did move home and I did open a shop which was a shop selling ... you've guessed it ... teddy bears. It was a dream come true being surrounded by them all day but retail is very hard and, whilst the shop ticked over, it was never going to make enough money to survive on.
Whilst working in the shop - Bear's Pad - I started on my first draft of Searching for Steven. The premise has always remained the same, inspired by that clairvoyant phone call, but the story (and my ability to write) evolved significantly before becoming the version you can now read.
A couple of months after opening Bear's Pad, I met Mark, to whom I've been married for over 11 years now (the clairvoyant didn't quite get the Steven part right!) We met online and one of the things that drew him to my profile was that I ran my own business. As a business owner himself, this appealed as I would (hopefully) understand the long and sometimes erratic hours someone self-employed needs to work. I gave him a small jointed teddy bear on our first date to remember me by. That bear - Hermann - still travels with me to job interviews to bring me luck. I call Mark 'Bear' and he calls me 'Little Bear' and, 10 years ago yesterday, we added 'Baby Bear' to our family. Happy birthday, Ashleigh Brooke xx
Little Bear Books therefore represents so much in my writing journey: the decision I needed to make when I called the clairvoyant and unexpectedly found the idea for my first book, the place where I wrote my first draft, and how I met my husband.
I hope you like the logos. I love them. Thanks Mark xx