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My Dad Cashed in His Pension So I Could Publish My First Book at 16

When I was 16-years-old my Dad cashed in his pension so that I could self publish my first book, Snow Black the Seven Rastas and Other Stories. This selfless act told me that my childhood dreams mattered.

Happy World Book Day!


As some you may (or may not) know I am the proud Author of this book:


Snow Black the Seven Rastas and Other Short Stories - Book Cover (2010)


I wrote a note to myself when I was 15-years-old, which was published in the book as the ‘Preface’ in June 2010. It reads:

“Writing to me, is more than fancy words written on a page, it’s a creative part of my life. It allows me to express, imagine and explore, enabling my mind to think beyond the human mind-set and allowing it to venture out to reach the unthinkable.
My parents encouraged me to keep a journal from the age of five-years-old. This was the start of developing my passion for writing. At the age of eleven years I had an overwhelming desire to write a book but felt this was out of my depth. Somehow I believed that this was an area for experienced authors who were already established in their work e.g. Jacqueline Wilson, Malorie Blackman, Sharon G Flake. After all, I was only a child with a dream. I asked myself the question who would want to read my book? If they did, how do I begin? Where do I start? Fortunately for me I have the most incredible parents who believe that dreams are possible (even if it means giving up every penny they have in the case of my Dad). They encouraged me to rise to the challenge and follow the desire of my heart. My parents would tell me about people like Sir Richard Branson who refused to give up on his dream when others told him he would never make it. Where there is passion there is a way.
I have written this book not only to fulfil my own dream but to encourage and inspire all young people to go ahead and fulfil their true potential. I believe every young person is designed for greatness. We are all unique in our own way. We all have something to offer. Most young people think they should wait to reach the years of adulthood to accomplish their goal,; but this is simply not true. I wrote this book at 15.
I implore all young people to follow their heart’s desires especially those who write creatively like myself, it is the best decision you could ever make in your life. Remember! “Can’t means shan’t and won’t; I ‘can’ gives you the ability to succeed." It’s not too late to be the best that you can be.

Preface, Snow Black The Seven Rastas and Other Short Stories Copyright ©2010 Talisha Johnson

First published 2010

All rights reserved


Without a literary agent, representation, PR or marketing:

- The book went on to sell 1,000 copies across the UK

- I made the front page of The Voice newspaper

- I was interviewed on BBC West Midlands Radio 95.6

- I got copies of the book in the hands of Tarrus Riley, Peter Jones MBE as well as many other people of influence who I can't remember right now!

- Benjamin Zephaniah wrote me a personal letter to congratulate me.

To any parent, older brother / sister, aunt, uncle, grandparent, carer, youth worker or anyone working with young people, remember to let them know that their DREAM matters.


Watch my full story in the video below:



Tee Cee

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