A CHILDREN’S book inspired by the Conwy coastline follows the mishaps of an unlucky boat – and the importance of friendships to staying afloat.

The Little Yellow Boat is the first children’s fiction by author Diane Woodrow, 60, who usually writes gritty short stories tackling women’s issues. It features stunning watercolour illustrations and a simple but valuable message about sharing the ups and downs of life with friends.

“I do think since I have been living in Abergele and taking regular walks along Pensarn beach, and other beaches in the area, with my dog I have written more about the sea,” said Mrs Woodrow, who moved from Wiltshire in 2016.

“My heart is for parents, grandparents and guardians to read it to their children and gain some deeper understanding about the importance of friendship and not ‘travelling alone’.

“My husband says it is a great lockdown book. Even though I started writing it in 2019 he feels it is very relevant for the world we are living in now.”

Since moving to Abergele, the mum-of-two has used her talent and master’s degree in creative writing, to stage primary school poetry workshops in Abergele, Bewts-yn-Rhos and Llanfair TH. She has also directed and produced the Abergele Town Council Christmas play at St Michael's Church.

The idea for the book came about after a series of daily writing promotes that Mrs Woodrow was creating with her friends, and it was a friend that recommended turning the story into a children’s book.

“I then put a request out on Twitter and Instagram asking for an illustrator,” said Mrs Woodrow. “Interestingly the only person who got in touch with me was Danielle [Chapman Skaines], who used to be a friend of my daughter's when we were living in Scotland in a Christian community.

“I was also friends with Danielle's mum but we had not been in contact with each other for about 15 to 20 years as we'd just gone our different ways.

“This only came about because my friend David encouraged me and then Danielle did such lovely pictures.”

Mrs Woodrow enjoys helping others to practice their writing and has run groups such as memoir, well-being, mythical writing. A general creative writing workshop is held on the first and third Tuesday of each month, which began at Gwrych Castle and moved to Zoom during lockdown.

“I do enjoy running the groups as I love encouraging other people to write,” she said. “This is why I enjoyed doing the work with the schools.”

During lockdown, she also became involved with Youth Shedz Cmryu and judged its story writing competition, in which all participants aged 18 to 25 received a signed copy of her book.

“I think that if people really read it and don't dismiss it as ‘just a children’s book’ they will gain some greater understanding about their own lives, their support groups and their friendship groups from it,” she said.

The Little Yellow Boat is currently available via Olympia Publishers. For more information visit the Little Yellow Boat Facebook page.