Melanie O’Sullivan, originally from South Africa, but who has been living in the Mealagh Valley for the past 8 years with her husband Tim and their four beautiful children, launched her first book ‘Let the Adventures Begin’ in the Spottea and Dottea series at the Maritime on the 29th May.
Cathal McCarthy, resource teacher and friend, introduced Mel to the audience and his humour and rapport set a warm tone to the entire evening. He claims that when initially approached for help, he had thought he was saying yes to assist with a flat tyre or a heavy box of groceries and did not realise he had just said yes to the task of being master of ceremonies!
Melanie thanked her family and friends for all their encouragement and support, ‘This journey started a year ago and people have supported me from the beginning.’ Melanie is a warm and caring woman with Christian views and firmly believes in the power of prayer. Not only is Melanie a popular substitute teacher in over 12 schools across West Cork, she holds a Higher Diploma in Education, B-Ed Honors and BA degrees. During her encounters with children, Melanie realised that many of them seem to ‘lack a sense of purpose and are also being affected by stress and depression that many adults suffer from’. Wanting to make a difference, Melanie decided ‘to write a book that would be appealing to children but still carry the message of scripture’. And so, her ladybird characters, Spottea and Dottea were born. Melanie addressed the packed room of over 250 guests by saying that everyone present was ‘entirely unique’ and that ‘having grown up in Africa, I know that no two Zebra have the same stripes, nor any two giraffe the same patterns. And just as no two snowflakes in a blizzard are the same, we are all different, unique and created for a purpose. We all have a purpose.’
Melanie found interest and publishing support from Maurice Wylie of Maurice Wylie Media in Northern Ireland who was so enthusiastic about the book when he first heard the idea, that he says ‘when I saw such potential,I realised that it was not a book, but a brand – and one that will touch children’s lives and help mould character and development.’ The central theme of this unique children’s brand is ‘education through truth’ and each book will inspire children to reach their potential through spiritual and educational growth.
Upon arrival, each person got an entry form to fill in for a draw. The first prize was a set of the first 4 books in the series, (which shows the commitment to future editions) and was won by Michelle Bishop from Glenkreigh . Second prize, which was two copies of ‘Let the Adventures Begin’, was won by Ber O’Sullivan of Caherdaniel and in third place, Aoife Barrett of Drimoleague won herself a copy of the book.
The second book in the series should be ready to hit the shelves by the end of June and Melanie is hoping to bring out a book a month after that. For more information and to see other products in the series, including gift cards, jig-saws and mugs, please visit www.spotteadottea.com