A man who was a partner in a Horsham estate agent has published his first children’s book.
Howard Ball, 54, released the picture book titled Wilbur and Friends with Pegasus Publishers on February 22.
The book is based on King Charles Spaniel of the same name from his family and features his two daughters, Lucy (11) and Emily (15), as the main characters.
Howard told the County Times: “I’m so thrilled, I never thought this would happen, but now that’s awesome. I know sales are important, but getting out there was the real accomplishment.
Howard, who now lives in Kent, was a partner at Henry Adam Estate Agents for 22 years but had to retire in 2018 due to a blood clot on my brain.
During this time, he also served as a board member of Shooting Script Films and executive producer of the 2016 film – A Street Cat Named Bob.
Howard said: “My children since they were very young have always sought to write their own little stories.
“We got bored one day during lockdown so the three of us decided to write a book. We thought about it and decided it should be about us. After about 5 minutes they had lost it all. interest and went to do something else. But I persevered throughout the first year of confinement.
The first edition of Wilber and Friends, titled Splash, centers on Wilber befriending a lost duckling, caring for him, and helping build a home for the little bird.
Howard said, “What I was trying to do in every book is have a subliminal message. Ranging from the environment to children’s anxiety. In this particular book, Wilber takes in a lost duckling, with the core message being that whoever you are, you should always care for someone in need.
“It’s mainly a children’s picture book so I had to work on the pictures before the text and of course it was minimal text so it was actually quite hard to write.”
The book is illustrated by Savanna Metcalfe, whose mother Tracy cared for Wilbur in real life while Howard worked at Horsham.
Howard penned five more Wilbur and Friends stories and says he spoke to Adam Rolston, producer and director of A Street Cat Named Bob, about the possibility of turning the book into a TV series.
Howard said, “I always dreamed of doing something like this. I loved working at Henry Adams. But I always had other interests which for me were more important than the real estate market. It wasn’t necessarily a dream to write a children’s book, but that’s where it all started.
“What I hope is that the first book will be a relative success and can bring the other books in time to add them to the series. I aim to release six in total. But everything depends on the success of the book.
“If we sell a book, that’s fine, at least we’ve produced a book. It’s always something I wanted to do and I did. If this succeeds, we can do more.