Thursday, 10 July 2014

Brace Mouth, False Teeth

It's so exciting receiving an advance copy of your new book through the post. I got my daughter to take this photo.

'What do you think? Can I use it?' I asked her.
'It's a bit cheesy mum!'
'Perfect!' I said.

'Brace Mouth, False Teeth'  published by Barrington Stoke in August (Edited by Ruth Williams) is an intergenerational story about a girl called Zeni who gets sent on work experience to a care home for the elderly. Zeni's just had her brace fitted so when she meets Alice ( who suffers from dementia) and is searching for the right pair of false teeth, a bond is formed.

The idea for the story came from doing a 'Plank Tale'.. well that's what I call them.  A ' plank tale' is a story told while holding your body in a plank position for one minute. Why would you? I was part of an exercise class that was led by Cathy Woodman and it was typical of her motivational style that she would come up with this fun way to  get through a minute of stomach exercise and lift the spirits! One week she told a tale about her mother in law's lost false teeth. None of us could hold the plank... we ended up crying with a mixture of  laughter, outrage and compassion and  the idea of ' Brace Mouth, False Teeth' began to emerge.

We were devastated when Cathy became ill and died very young and the dedication in this book is to her: 'Cathy is deeply missed but her spirit of kindness and compassion lives on'.

Every Friday ' Cathy's' group still meets to do exercise, continue our plank tales and remember our friend...

In 'Brace Mouth,False Teeth' Zeni begins her journey feeling like she's been given the worst deal ever working with old people.... until she realises that working at the home is not only hard work.... but ' heart work'.

Questions I have already been asked:

Did you wear a brace growing up?
Yes!  I remember it well!

Have you ever spent time in a Care Home?
Yes.... and met some amazing people like the jazz musician, retired barrister and one time Selfridge shop-girl in the book.

Do you wear False Teeth?
I brush and floss and hope never to be in poor Alice's situation ( which is more common than you would think for people in hospitals and care homes) of wearing the wrong false teeth because of a mix-up.