WE all go to dramatic lengths for the things we love but one Wirral author knows more than most what it takes to follow your dream.
Nico Russell, from Spital, has sold the family silver, performed as a Polish folk singer – despite being unable to speak Polish – made and sold cupcakes and has acted as stand in for Hollywood stars including George Clooney, all to raise enough money to publish his debut children’s book.
Nana’s Knickers tells the tale of a rather frantic Nana and her search for her beloved pair of spotty knickers.
On the advice of her grandchildren, she retraces her steps from the previous day in an attempt to solve the mysterious disappearance.
Written with wonderful rhythm and rhyme, the story takes readers on an amusing adventure and is already proving to be a big hit.
The book tells the tale of a rather frantic Nana and her search for her beloved pair of spotty knickers.
With hand-painted illustrations and humorous text, 32-year-old Nico –who was crowned the youngest ever winner of the United Press UK National Poetry Competition in 2012 – believes it is a book that “both adults and children will find entertaining time and time again”.
“The book has already received some wonderful reviews on Mumsnet,” said Nico.
“And Linghams Bookshop in Heswall has said that it is the best-selling children’s book they have ever had.”
But how did Nico come up with the idea for Nana’s Knickers and how did writing a children’s book lead to him almost being run-over by a tank driven by Brad Pitt?
“The book came about thanks to the unceasing appetite of my nice and nephews for new stories, adn the process of postulation to paperback has taken just over two years,” said Nico, who also runs his own creative media company.
“I was very eager to produce a book that was fun and easy to read but which would also broaden their vocabulary, which I feel every book should do.”
The book’s font was especially chosen to help young children who are learning letter shapes and the plain backgrounds have been painted yellow to allow those with dyslexia to see the next more clearly.
Nico's extra work led him to a role in George Clooney's The Monuments Men.
Nico, who – despite receiving praise from publishing houses – was unable to get backing as a new author and was forced to self-fund his work, added: “In order to raise the money we have sold the family silver, I have performed as Polish folk singer, I have made and sold hundreds of cupcakes and joined an extra’s agency where I have found myself standing in for George Clooney and nearly being squashed by a tank driven by Brad Pitt.”
His extra work has even landed him a part in the latest Star Wars movie as a Storm Trooper but Nico says his heart belongs to the written word.
“As much as I would love to be an actor, I think my talent lies in the writing side of things, but it’s great to be involved in productions like Downton Abbey, Mr Selfridge and of course Star Wars.
“I’m currently writing my first sitcom and have a few ideas for films so who knows, I might write a line for myself one day.”
Nana’s Knickers is available to buy at BlueFluffBooks.com, Amazon and at Lingham’s Bookshop in Heswall.