New book inspired by days out with the family

Family days out were the inspiration for Jack, Thomas and the Miniature Railway (Nightingale Books, the children’s imprint of Pegasus Elliot Mackenzie Publishers, £6.99, available through bookshops and Amazon).

Graham, Jack, Samantha and Thomas
Graham, Jack, Samantha and Thomas

It comes from Graham Lelliott, aged 43, of Sompting.

“As a family, we often go on days out,” he said.

“The book is about my two boys Jack and Thomas who love exploring and visiting places. The book is actually based on a visit to Eastbourne Miniature Steam Railway. In general, children as a whole enjoy trains so I believe it will be of interest to them and they will enjoy reading it. Hopefully they will enjoy looking at the illustrations too.

“The book has been written in a way that I hope it may inspire children to get out the house, away from their computer games, to enjoy a day out at an attraction or place of interest. The same goes for the parent or carer.

“I think we’re so lucky here in Sussex. We have so much to see and do on our doorstep. You don’t have to travel far to enjoy a nice day out. It doesn’t even necessarily have to cost a lot of money. A walk across the Downs for example or visiting your local park.

“In the case of this book I’m hopeful it will be a learning tool for children too in the respect of how the miniature steam engine works, how it operates etc.

“This format is something I’m keen to continue with. Perhaps Jack and Thomas will visit High Salvington windmill and be fascinated by how it works, for example?

“Over the years I have enjoyed reading bedtime stories to my two boys and having previously written six books on local historical subjects, I began to realise that I’d like to give it a go.

“My first manuscript was about my boy Jack’s cuddly blue dog soft toy which was called Blue.

“Sadly I discovered a similar character on children’s TV so to progress with this I’d need to change the blue dog to something else and change the name which for me is something I wouldn’t want to do due to the personal meaning behind it. So this story may have to remain with the family only.

“Jack, Thomas and the Miniature Railway is a book that hopefully any child will enjoy. Very young children will enjoy the illustrations. Young children could be read the story by an adult and children learning to read will hopefully also enjoy reading it as it’s not too long. I believe it would be suitable for up to early teenage years.

“This is the first of what I hope to be a series of books about Jack and Thomas’ adventures. Over the years we’ve enjoyed visiting castles, the countryside, old forts, lighthouses, windmills, heritage railways, zoos etc, so they’re adventures and further book ideas really are varied.

“As it happens I’ve almost completed my next Jack and Thomas book where they visit the Isle of Wight by the hovercraft which is an exciting part of the adventure in itself and again they learn how it works.

“Having an interest in local history, my first book was about a German Heinkel bomber (A German Bomber on Worthing Soil) which crashed during the Second World War. My grandfather witnessed the plane get shot down and we both wanted to know more about it.

“With no books having been written on it, I realised that to get the information we wanted, I’d have to research the subject myself. As I collated the information, I realised I had enough to put it into book format for others to benefit from it also.”

“My following five titles were also written because there was no information about the subjects I had an interest in. They were: The Field Place Mystery, The Brooklands Miniature Railway, The Royal Observer Corps in Worthing, The Thakeham Tiles Railway and A Lancaster on Worthing Beach.”