Meet The Creators

Step inside to meet the team behind the Tawny Owl Wood book series. Creating books can involve many people coming together, three of the key people are Louise, Sarah and Lesley.

Three dynamic women with one very clear goal; to bring happiness to all those who read the books within the series, whether you are young, old, male or female, parent or grandparent, believer or non-believer, the books aim to lighten your day and bring a smile to your world.

Louise A Shaw – Author

A big Hello from me! Thank you for popping by and seeing our lovely website, we do hope that you enjoy it as much as we have in creating it and the books.

The creation of Tawny Owl Wood all started back in 2007, one sunny weekend while out on a favourite walk of ours in Sandringham Woods. My young family at the time consisted of three sons, one daughter and our four-legged fur ball.

On this particular walk, I was transported back to when I was a child with the memories of Fairy Bluebell who had been created by my grandmother.

Fast forward to 2022, one story led to another and here we are with a book series for both early and young readers. I have been very fortunate to be able to include my family in the process of creating these books and to be able to use our own trials and tribulations to aid the stories, hoping to encourage new ways or new points of view.

Becoming an author has been quite a hard process for me, it has taken me time in realising that I have wanted to become one. It has taken patience from my family in allowing me to follow what I would like to do and it has taken my own patience and self-belief in realising that I can achieve it.

I have loved creating this series and I am looking forward to seeing where this series and many other will take us.

Creating any book especially children’s books can take time and they involve many different people. I am so incredibly grateful for those people travelling this journey with me and I am so excited in introducing them to you. Come on let’s meet them!  

I had heard little snippets about what an editor was but I didn’t know how invaluable one would be. I was introduced to Lesley Hart via a contractor through another job. After sending her two of the books which were still in their primitive stages, she took a leap of faith and took me on. Little did she know how much work would be coming her way!

We have now worked closely together for over a year and what a difference that year has made. These books would most likely not have had the vision they hold now if Lesley hadn’t taken that leap.  

Finding an illustrator has been a long and challenging process for these books but then along came Sarah.

Sarah-Leigh Walton – Sarah is our Illustrator and hasn’t she done a fabulous job! Sarah and I clicked straight away when we first met. I like quirky, Sarah likes quirky, I like being different and not conforming, Sarah likes being different and not conforming. Once Sarah had sat down and read through some of the first books, we quickly released that we were on the same path straight away and we have never looked back.

What an amazing team Tawny Owl Wood has!

Lesley Hart – Editor

Hello, I’m Lesley and I’ve been working as an editor since 2020 and as a creative writing teacher since 2017. Prior to this I worked in primary education for eight years and in my local sixth-form college library for eight years – so I’m passionate about children’s literacy and books.

When Louise contacted me to ask if I would look at the first two of her Tawny Owl Wood books, I was immediately captured by the diversity and unique angle for Emilia, her main character and her international and equally represented fairy community. Just as importantly, her stories and characters were ones children would relate to and want to return to over and over. It has been a pleasure to work on these books and their development with Louise.

I’m sure you’ll also agree that Sarah has perfectly encapsulated Louise’s visions for her characters – they’re not aspirational in a way that is beyond reach but are characters that readers will see themselves reflected in; something that was important to us all.

Here’s a little more about me and my business background, in August 2020, I launched a complete author service called Author’s Pen UK. My name is Lesley Hart and I’ve been an author for around fifteen years and a creative writing teacher since 2017.

I graduated with an MA in creative writing from Lancaster University in 2018 and discovered that publishing can be a minefield. Authors are understandably desperate to avoid vanity publishers and other scams – who can blame them! Using knowledge gleaned from hundreds of online and in-person courses, I decided to help authors from initial idea to published author. Author’s Pen UK was born.

In 2018, I joined the Chartered Institute of Editors and Proofreaders (CIEP) and have taken their proofreading, fiction and copy-editing courses, together with others including Sophie Playle’s and Louise Harnby’s courses. By early 2020, I finally felt ready to begin editing fiction and non-fiction.

Since starting my business, I’ve had a little time to complete a necessary database of UK literary agents. I successfully applied for a LEAP grant to finalise my literary agent database and to invest in a self-editing course which will mesh with my existing knowledge and allow me to build an online pick-n-mix shop of creative writing courses. I’m sure my business will go through a lot more changes but I’m at a stage where I feel confident in working with authors in most areas of publishing. You can learn more about me and how I might help you with your writing here: www.authorspen.co.uk

Sarah-Leigh Wills - Visual Creator

Hi! I’m Sarah-Leigh, and many people know me as the ‘Happy Designer’! I have a HUGE passion for children’s picture books, not only in creating them, but I also have a vast collection of works by many other people in my library that I just love to read. I regularly get asked what it is about my profession that I like, and all that I can say is that, as I think and live in pictures and have a child-like imagination, being a children’s book designer and illustrator it just perfect for me! I can create fin and quirky illustrations in a style that children adore and bring big smiles to their faces, which is massively important for me.

As a brief background, in my earlier years, I was schooled in graphic design and pursued a path into higher education, where I won my first award – a first in the UK; Ireland Design Against Fur Awards in 2007. During the same year, my work featured at the London Design Festival, and my company, ‘Happydesigner’, was also born.

While initially concentrating on designing company branding and logos, one of my first projects was working closely on creating characters and designs for a speech and language book company. Utilising my designs, this company won several awards for its approach and uniqueness. Since then, Happydesigner has provided a children’s book creation services that is second-to-none.

We are a slightly quirky, very different (in a good way!), and a refreshingly approachable design and illustration studio. We provide a one-stop shop for all authors and writers to have their children’s stories turned into beautifully illustrated books and we think that this sets us aside from the rest.

During my career, I have gained significant experience working with clients, private individuals and various companies, including agencies and recongnised publishers, worldwide. Not only do I create and illustrate children’s books, but I have also designed complex layouts for books that are used in many schools and educational settings to help teach children subjects such as science, music and writing. I have even created designs for soft toys and jigsaws, amongst many other things.
More and more, I am becoming recongised for my creativity, innovation and, very importantly, the fun and energy I bring to every commission I undertake. What I do is not so much like work but a vocation of the most pleasurable kind! And although it may be a very large sea that I’m swimming in, my aim is not to conquer the world but to just leave a few happy footprints on the beach here and there!
You can learn more about us and the services we provide here: https://www.happydesigner.co.uk