Wednesday 9 April 2014

"Happy Memories... Are You Sure?" - how two wonderful real-life children brought this into being

[#798]  "Happy Memories... Are You Sure?" - how two wonderful real-life children brought this into being

Happy Memories... Are You Sure? is a book (a "work in progress"), which began life in May, 2013. If it wasn't for two beautiful real-life children, currently aged just 9 and 11, who are originally from Leicestershire, this idea would most certainly not have come about - it is, quite simply, their idea. Their identities (names) are being and will be kept a total secret, and will be as "pen-names" instead.  So far, a total of six people have contributed toward this project and its creation!

The book is or will be a "spin-off" (and is based upon) the much earlier Alexia / Hawk Meadows/ Nocturnals Wood storylines - which have existed, in one form or another, since 1994.  As such, the book is going to be in both story-book and comic layouts (format) - along with activities and puzzles, for children and young people to enjoy.

Like in the original story, this book is set in and around the city of Leicester, and features the main characters, Alexia and her best ever friend, Jenna - students who go to university in the city. The story follows the lives of these two girls - since when they first met in pre-school, right through until the present day, in the university. Other characters include Alexia's younger sister Maya, her cousin Quinn, Fiona "Bee" Pepper the Florist, Alexia's cat called "Tabitha" and Sophie, Jenna's little cousin. Also their friend, Sorcha Beeby - a university student in the city. There are also two new characters (in comic-mode) by students, from a locally-based theatre company who run drama workshops.

The two real-life children - both girls - are already followers of the earlier story and its characters.  The book features lovely, very colourful drawings and puzzles, that they have created. It has several main Aims and objectives:  To educate youngsters about being respectful towards others, and caring for school/ college/ university -friends who are suddenly feeling unwell (e.g. have caught a bad cold).... Also it aims to be available in schools, colleges and universities - in their libraries and hopefully, as part of the curriculum, too.

A few "sneak-previews" of the illustrations have already been shown on-line - e.g. on Facebook - the response so far has proved to be positive. On the earlier Alexia web site, the previews are currently set at page #798, (please note, that is not a hash-tag, but a numbering code in the huge file-directory).

The origins of the original story can be traced back to 1987 ("Hawk Meadows"), although the actual story itself - in comic format - began in 1994, and was initially about a group of animal friends in "Nocturnals Wood". The story has had many and quite diverse inspirations, over the years!

Alexia Ramsylla and her younger sister Maya, live in Hawk Meadows - a fantasy (mock) suburb, on the East of Leicester. If you can imagine this on a map of the city, then I suppose it would be somewhere between Scraptoft and East Goscote, if that makes any sense!  And the A47 would be one of the main routes running through the area!
"Nocturnals Wood" lies just north of Hawk Meadows. The area has both primary and high-schools, and shops and other amenities that serve the local community.

Alexia is a beautiful young woman from Leicester itself, where she was born, with penetrating brown eyes and long, black wavy hair, with a hint of a rich brown - which she usually has flowing down her back. She speaks with a gentle, quiet, soft voice, and is very caring and considerate, and quite shy. She is small - just 5 feet in height. She is often also affectionately called "Lexie", especially by Maya - her younger sister.

Alexia's elder family came to Leicester from both India and South Africa, several decades earlier - so she has mixed lineage. Her younger sister Maya looks a lot like Alexia, but has blue eyes, and is fair with golden blonde hair, and likes to have plaits in her hair. Maya now goes to Hawk Meadows High School.

Alexia's favourite colour is bright-pink, and her second favourite colour is purple. She also loves cats! She likes to have things that are pink, and it's even better if they have cats or kittens printed on them! For example, she has a bag with cats printed on it. She also has quite a wardrobe - a lot of her clothes are either pink or purple, and she has several pairs of pink shoes. Although, she doesn't spend too much money on clothes/ or shoes each month, "because I'm a student!", she says. If she's not wearing pink, then she's happy with wearing a white blouse.

Alexia has a part-time job in a Florist shop, in the city-centre, which is owned and run by a nice lady called (in full-name) Fiona Belinda Pepper. Her shop is called "Fiona Bee's Florist", because she uses her middle-name initial as "bee", and the shop front banner has bees painted on it.

A professor in the university, Professor Angela Lowell, is one of Alexia's friends. Professor Lowell helped Alexia when she had a severe bout of sickness, and had to go to the local city hospital. Jenna her best friend was with her the whole time! In the hospital in Leicester, a very kind and caring nurse works there, called Sarah. Nurse Sarah took charge of Alexia's care during her stay in the hospital - and she too became one of Alexia's friends.

Alexia has an admirer who goes to the same university, called Ben. He has had a crush on her since being in high-school together! And yes, they do become boyfriend/ and girlfriend, eventually! However, Alexia's cousin Quinn also dates Ben - in an attempt to make Alexia jealous. Unfortunately, that worked - and caused Alexia to split with Ben and a fall-out between her and Quinn!  Do Alexia and Quinn patch-up their differences?  And does Alexia get back together with Ben??....

Alexia's closest, best ever friend Jenna Reeder was brought over the the UK from New York state, USA, by her parents - when they emigrated while Jenna was just three years of age. Her mum Anna runs a cafe (diner) in the city centre.  Jenna has brown, (usually) shoulder-length hair and deep-blue eyes, and likes to have a blue streak in her hair, as a fashion-statement. Blue is Jenna's favourite colour.

Jenna has a very young cousin, called Sophie. "Little Sophie" as she is called affectionately has started to learn to talk, and likes to say, "me cold!" - even when she isn't! Jenna's mum Anna runs an American-style eating place in the city-centre, called "Reeder's Cafe"/ aka "Diner" - where the food and drink, and overall service, is the tops! Jenna helps out by doing waitress work there, and the atmosphere is very nice and friendly. I think that I would like to go there myself, right now for a bite to eat!  Alexia certainly enjoys going there - and her favourite food is "a fruit salad".   

Jenna and Alexia met for the first time in pre-school infants. When Alexia had a fall, by tripping over and grazing her knee, even though they were both aged only four, Jenna came to her aid and comforted her. Jenna could see that Alexia was a distressed little girl in floods of tears, so Jenna made sure that she was calmed and gave her new friend a hug. Jenna even went to the teacher, to get help. From that very moment, they became close - and have been best ever friends with each other, ever since!  Furthermore, Jenna doesn't have a younger sister of her own - so she sees Alexia as her sister, instead.


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