On the 2nd February a new children’s book arrived on the scene. What’s different about that, you might be thinking? New books are written all the time. What makes this one special? Well, this one is very special, not only for the subject matter but also for the special person that has brought it to your attention.
Meet Hannah Peckham – voice over artist, person centred counsellor, mum and now author!
Imagine you are meeting someone new and have to describe who you are in just a few sentences.
My name is Hannah. I have several jobs. I am a voice over and continuity artist. I am also a person centred counsellor. My most important job is that of `Mum` to my two year old son.
When I was five years old, I was diagnosed as a classic, severe dyslexic. Against the odds, I went on to read and write for a living and recently added author to my list of jobs. Not just an author, but a number one best selling author!!!
When you were a young child, what were your aspirations? What did you want to be when you were older?
It was very simple for me when I was younger. I wanted to be a princess. The fancy dresses and tiaras, that’s what I wanted!
What jobs have you had on your career path?
Just a few!! I have been a waitress and barmaid. I have done reception work and been a promotions girl. I have also been a radio presenter and floor manager.
How did you find yourself in media?
My media career started with me working as a runner. I then started to floor manage. After that I moved to radio. While I was doing my voice overs, I trained as a counsellor. Working and studying together.
What different forms of media have you worked in?
I have worked in both TV and radio.
You have mentioned your person-centred counselling training. Is there an age of children that you work with?
I work with 11-18 year olds at the moment. They are the age criteria with the charity that I work for.
You have commented in online media, that you are heavily invested in the emotional literacy of children. Can you talk me through what this means to you?
When I was training as a person centred counsellor, I was struck at how little I knew myself. That was the place I needed to start. I had to learn to self regulate, understand how I felt, set boundaries and maintain my own self care.
It was then that I noticed the we teach our children academically but getting to know them as a person, a whole person, is often an after thought. We always assume we know them and judge what we believe they are thinking but do we really know them?
Clients often come to me in crisis and unequipped to vocalise their feelings. This is something they have never learned to do. Getting young people to speak about their feelings at a young age, will give them a skill they can take with them into adulthood.
I would imagine this is incredibly rewarding. Do you have a story that you can share regarding this?
Client confidentiality stops me sharing stories of course but I was told once by a client that when they came to me, they felt that they had been staring at the same puzzle for so long that it didn’t make sense. They went on to say that they just couldn’t find the right pieces and how it all went together. I help. My clients fit those pieces together. My job is amazing, its wonderful. Whether I help in a small way or in a bigger way, the contentment and amazement that it constantly gives me, never goes away.
Can you tell me how you started on the path to being an author?
I can tell you that one very easily!!! It was just a little idea that wouldn’t go away, it just grew and grew and turned into Conker. My mum always told me I must write a book.
Did you write when you were younger?
Yes I certainly did. I often wrote poems and songs to express my feelings, I had a poem published when I was about 10. I have no idea what book it was in though.
How was Conker born?
Work and a little idea. It was that simple. I had an incredibly full on day at work and that little idea just popped into my head. I made my notes to get started The idea just snowballed as time went on.
Children’s mental health week was when your book was released. – was this a conscious decision due to the subject matter?
Yes it was. Fifty per cent of author profit from sales in the month of February 2021 is being donated to a children’s mental health charity.
“What makes you different makes you special” is a line i see in nearly every review I have read about the book. Are you pleased with how it is going
If I said I was over the moon, that would be an understatement!!! It doesn’t feel real. I knew Conker was a special little chap with an important story to tell, but to hear people tell me how it has helped their child, or see a picture of them loving Conker gets me every time.
What future plans do you have?? More Conker?
Oh yes… I don’t think we have heard the last of Conker… and I have at least 4 ideas for other books.