“I love my job.” You can hear the joy in Sarah Lean’s voice as she talks about her work as a children’s author.
But it hasn’t always been that way.
She has worked as a page planner for a newspaper, a stencil maker and a gardener, among various other things, and even trained to be a primary school teacher before she found her niche.
“I had lots of jobs,” admitted Sarah, who lives in Broadstone with her husband, teenage son Edward and dogs Harry and Coco. “None of them were particularly satisfying.”
It was around ten years ago that Sarah decided to train as a teacher.
She gained a first class English degree and did a two-year teacher training course, but still didn’t feel she was in the right place.
She returned to university to do a Masters degree, during which time an agent saw some chapters of a book she was writing, which gave her the confidence to follow her dreams.
“I thought: ‘Let’s write a book’,” remembers Sarah. “I’ve now had three books published, the fourth one will come out fairly soon.
“I’ve met people who love their jobs and I thought: ‘That’s surely how it should be.’ Now, I love my job.”
Sarah’s first book, A Dog Called Homeless, aimed at children aged eight to 12, was a huge success in 2012, selling in excess of 15,000 copies.
Total sales of her titles are now close to 30,000 copies. It’s a measure of both Sarah’s success as an author, and her passion for her work, that has seen her named as one of this year’s ten World Book Day authors.
Sarah will be attending a number of events in the run up to the day, on March 6, including visiting book shops and schools to encourage youngsters to get involved in reading.
“There’s a lot said about how reading has become another thing that children are tested on,” she said.
“It’s getting away from the whole idea that there’s pressure there, it’s just to make it fun, with quizzes and dressing up, making that connection to stories so that children are, by themselves, saying they want to read a book, because they understand there’s so much more than just learning words.
“I think the biggest thing for me is that when you love something you want to share it.
“As an adult, you know the value of reading and that enjoyment.
“You get so much out of it, and you want your children to have that.”
World Book Day aside, Sarah is looking forward to spending time on her next book.
“You don’t stop,” she smiled. “You love the job, so you’ve always got your mind open. I just want to keep doing this as long as I can. I wouldn’t swap it for anything.”