EARLIER this year, deaf autistic mother of one Elpeth Grace Hall defied expectations by landing a publishing contract for her first children’s book.
Now the children’s author has moved from Derbyshire to Caithness in the Highlands in search of peace and inspiration as she starts writing her second series of children’s books.
Cluck Chook Farm, a humorous look at farm life from the animal’s point of view is, for now, no more than a working title.
But Elspeth hopes that this time next year with 12 months of working the land under her belt she will be well equipped to bring the stories to life.
She said: “The idea for Cluck Chook Farm came when after spending 10 minutes explaining to a friend’s daughter how my chickens could lay eggs without a cockerel I realised that today few children know the realities of farm life and where food comes from.
“While Cluck Chook Farm started thanks to chickens I felt that I wanted to explore other farm animals, to do that accurately I needed to become a farmer.”
But why has she chosen to farm in Scotland rather than staying in Derbyshire?
Elspeth said: “Though I was born in England I was most definitely brought up knowing I was Scottish.
“My family hark from Forfarshire, my father was and still is very proud to be Scottish, my home life was infused with Scottish culture. Scotland is in my blood.”
In 2012 Elspeth and her husband came across a little piece of paradise nestled in the rural isolation of Caithness.
She said: “It was just perfect we knew at once this was where we wanted to be. It’s taken a while to make our dream come true and there is going to be a lot of work before the small holding comes into its own but it will be worth it.”
She intends to take up the country life rearing geese, chickens, pigs and vegetables.
As well as writing, Elspeth works with her husband teaching history through costumed interpretation.
Her current series, The Adventures of Puss-Puss, is a trilogy of bedtime stories following a cat as she is abandoned on the side of the canal and learns to survive, making friends and having adventures on the way.
The books are published by Lioness Publishing.
Elspeth graduated from the Open University in 2014 with a BA Open that covered history, languages and creative writing.
After losing her hearing in 2009 Elspeth learnt Sign Language and enjoys writing poetry in both English and Sign Supported English.