TRACEY Barker is hoping for the sweet smell of success with her debut story for children….Sansa (the Not-So-Smelly Skunk).
Tracey, who is the Medicines Management Site Coordinator at St Luke’s Hospice has been writing stories all her life.
But it was only when her love of animals inspired her to seek a publisher that she came up with the story of Sansa, her own pet skunk.
The new book, which is published by Austin Macauley, tells the tale of Sansa’s search for friends.
And proceeds from the sale of all copies bought through the hospice in Little Common Lane, will go directly towards St Luke’s patient care.
“I love animals and I love telling people stories about my animals,” said Tracey, who lives with her family in Lodge Moor.
“Skunks seem to have a very bad press with some people, probably because they’re afraid they’ll smell.
“But the truth is that they’re very friendly animals who really enjoy interacting with humans and are great pets.”
What makes Sansa is so unusual is that while most skunks are a instantly recognisable black and white, she is a distinctive champagne colour.
And it was that difference that inspired Tracey to make Sansa the central character in her first published story.
“For me it was a case of something very positive out of something quite negative,” she explains.
“My husband Steve was diagnosed with cancer and I needed something to do in the times we couldn’t get out and do our normal activities.
“My go-to means of escapism is writing, it always has been, so one day when I was feeling a bit sorry for myself I decided to do something creative and that’s how the story came to life.”
And Tracey has been so encouraged by the success of Sansa’s adventure that she is already working on a second story, this time based on the life of Nyma, one of her four prairie dogs!
A limited number of signed copies of Sansa (the Not-So-Smelly Skunk) are available to buy at £8 from the St Luke’s reception in Little Common Lane.
The book is also available in either paperback or Kindle format from Amazon.