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Libra odd spots inspired my picture book

Updated: Apr 5

Do you remember, in the early 2000s, when #Libra started adding #oddspot facts to the adhesive backing strip of their female sanitary products? They disappeared for a time, then made a comeback. It seems nobody has time to read newspapers on the loo anymore, but #Libra decided we can squeeze in a few quirky facts while tending to our business.

In 2010, I noticed that a number of #oddspots related to quirky facts about animals and insects, such as:

  • Lobsters have teeth in their stomachs and kidneys in their heads (so do some crabs, as it turns out)

  • Snails can sleep (hibernate) for up to three years, waiting for rainfall so they can come out and party

  • Kangaroos and Emus can't walk backwards

A notebook containing draft notes for My Purrfect Pet, covered by a hand holding a fan-shaped collection of odd spot adhesive backings.

Thinking they could come in handy for a poem or book, I started collecting those Libra odd spots.

In February 2011, I jotted down rhymes to match the facts relating to some animals, then progressively built a story around them featuring a child with a pet cat.

Come 2013, I had a picture book manuscript, My Perfect Pet, which I was more or less happy with. I have evidence that I prepared a publication submission for Penguin Books, but I don't recall whether I ended up sending it. Either way, I shelved the project, until June 2020.

2020. Not a great year for me - or much of the world, for that matter. I was still on a surgical waiting list (since June 2019) for a benign brain tumour. By June 2020, I had worked through a number of issues that had left me unable to focus on writing for any length of time. Looking for something to distract me, I turned to existing writing projects.

Then I remembered my #oddspot inspired manuscript. My husband, Joaquín, is crazy about cats. It seemed a perfect story for him. I set about revising the manuscript again, shaving off words, reworking rhymes, and setting them to images using Canva. I still had no plans to publish it, but I wanted at least a PDF to give him before I went in for surgery. Something special for him, should the unthinkable happen if / when surgery day arrived.

In 2022, I was sufficiently recovered from surgery to be working on writing projects again. We had adopted a cat, George, in 2021 (a small miracle, given Joaquín had been allergic to cats since he was a child in Spain). Despite this, Joaquín had been telling me since we met that he wanted to have a ginger cat named George one day. George is ginger, and he was named George before he came to us.

Ginger cat in foreground. Paw prints and love hearts in background. Title at top: My Purrfect Pet.

I got the idea to revise My Perfect Pet again, using photos of our cat in place of cartoons. The final version, My Purrfect Pet, features cartoonised versions of the photos. For more info about my Libra odd spots inspired book, click here.

I am donating a portion of the profits from sales to the not-for-profit organisation where we adopted George, #PawsAndClawsAdoptionsInc. For this first edition, that portion is fifty percent. I have ideas for alternate editions, which would require me to collaborate with an illustrator, and hence change the percentage I can donate for those editions.

Please like, share, and otherwise help me get the word out so we can raise a good donation for #PawsAndClawsAdoptionsInc.

Author Hayley Morton sitting on a toilet, reading odd spot facts for inspiration

The final kicker in al1 of this? That, once again, toilets played a part in one of my writing projects.

1 Comment

John Hall
John Hall
May 28, 2023

What an amazing and inspiring backstory to this new and fun filled children's book!

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