Businesswoman and writer, Melanie Kane from Ponteland, is ready to publish her first children’s book.  Fulfilling a life-long dream to write, Melanie’s book, Belinda Gizzable, was created under advice and guidance from her friend Michael Bond – the famous author of the hugely successful Paddington Bear stories.

Melanie is no stranger to success.  After working as a practice lawyer in her native Edinburgh for eight years, she started her own prestige holiday home letting business in the city, Edinburgh Hideaways. The business flourished and as part of her corporate social responsibility commitment she helps various charities by allowing them to auction luxury stays in her holiday lets. She has also recently been appointed as a Trustee onto the Board of the PIE Project Trust helping young people to become more enterprising.

 Determined to follow her dream to write a children’s book, she recently moved to the north east and channelled her passions into her writing venture.

Melanie was a massive fan of the Paddington Bear stories as a child.  Many years ago, her sister went on a trip to Peru – home of the globally-famous bear – and she contacted author, Michael Bond, about her venture.  Michael was kind enough to sponsor part of her trip.  A special relationship formed between the two families.

 When Melanie finished her book five years ago, she sent a copy to Michael who responded with positive feedback and advice.  The pair then met up in London and became good friends.  Michael then mentored Melanie in the following years, up until his sad death last June, inspiring her to take the book to publication.

Belinda Gizzable – aimed at 8-10 year-olds – weaves a compelling story about 10-year-old Molly and the adventures she has with a soft toy called Belinda.  Molly first discovers Belinda discarded and unwanted in the bargain bucket of a local charity shop.  Strangely drawn to the rabbit-like toy, Molly buys her and takes her home where she discovers her new friend has amazing powers.  Not only can Belinda speak, she is also a ‘Gizzable’ from a magical land.  Belinda introduces Molly to the secret world of The Guild of Gizzables and delightful chaos ensues.  All seems lost when Belinda and Molly become separated on an aeroplane but their resourcefulness and special bond ensure they are eventually reunited and set for more adventures together.

Melanie says, “As a child, reading stories always transported me to a special place.  That sense of timeless wonder has stayed with me.  I wanted to write a book that would not only entertain children, but would also inspire and motivate them to achieve their dreams.  Years ago, I did actually find a special toy in a bargain bucket and this event inspired the Belinda Gizzable story.  Michael Bond helped me enormously over the years.  His insight and practical advice have helped me turn this story into a publishable book.  I’m now looking forward to creating an entire series featuring the adventures of Molly and her Gizzable friend.”

Melanie even has an innovative plan to bring her book to children all over the world.  Rather than following the traditional publishing route, the book is being published on a pledge basis.  This means that Melanie is now looking for 1000 pre-orders before the printing presses kick into action.

Melanie is a welcome addition to our culturally rich region.  With her business acumen, Michael Bond’s mentorship and a host of lovable, inspirational characters waiting to be discovered, the book is set to be a huge success.