How writing turrned a West Sussex great-grandmother's life upside down

A Steyning great-grandmother is loving the way writing has turned her life upside down.

Lila-Ann Gray
Lila-Ann Gray

“My first book The Lonely Christmas Tree was published in October 2021 and reached number-one best selling children’s book,” says Lila-Ann Gray. “My second book, published in December 2021, The First Magical Adventure With Granny – Crystal The Fairy’ reached number-three best seller in the UK.

“This book is the first of a ten book series and my third book The Second Magical Adventure With Granny – Beauty the Blackbird is due to be released within the next few weeks.”

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It’s been a remarkable story of success.

“My first passion is to bring joy and happiness to the children who read my books. I write with love and one of my reviews stated how this comes across. There is such magic in our world, and children need to know that and to know how to find it.

“My second passion is to encourage older ones to never give up on a dream. It’s never too late and it can become a reality. I have wanted to write children’s stories for as long as I can remember.

“I am now making up for lost time, and I want people to know that it’s possible to have a dream come true if it’s wanted enough.”

The Lonely Christmas Tree (Babysteps Publishing Limited, £6.99) is available from Amazon).

“I had already written one book, the first of a series,” she explains.

“But I suddenly felt I wanted to write a story for Christmas, and something a little different.

“I woke up one morning with my head full of the story and just wrote it, which was pretty amazing actually as I hadn’t even had my first cup of tea.

“The story is about a little Christmas tree who finds himself left in a strange wood and what happens to him over the next few months.

“Just as he thinks things can’t get any worse, he experiences his very own Christmas miracle.

“I think it will appeal to children because it’s a story of hope, encouraging them to realise things aren’t necessarily what they seem.

“I am a great-grandmother to two little girls, one aged three and the other about to turn one.

“My eldest great granddaughter inspires me constantly to have adventures and we live in a magical world whenever we are together: a world where there are fairies, creatures that can talk to us and, of course, glittery fairy dust.

“I have always wanted to write children’s books as far back as I can remember but life simply kept getting in the way.

“Through my little ones I have discovered my story telling is still alive and well.

“I am aiming my books for children up to the age of about six or seven.

“I love writing my children’s stories immensely and my dream is to bring the lovely world of imagination, magic and turning the impossible into the possible to children everywhere.

“I started writing seriously at the beginning of (last) year after starting some sessions with a life coach.

“My whole life turned around. My coach asked me what my dream was.

“And I immediately answered I want to write children’s stories.

“From that moment on she encouraged me to start, taking no excuses, definitely not accepting any negative thoughts and so it began.”