"Never underestimate the worth of a good book. I used to think that books were made only for those times when people involvement appeared too hectic and unpredicable and where a bit of escapism was required instead to still the mind and settle the soul. However, I have long ago learned that books are designed for all manner of person and situation.
Ever since spending one year in a hospital bed led me to read my first book from cover to cover at the age of eleven years, I have been hooked on the magic of books and have loved the written and spoken word. Books have grown my imagination and have represented landmarks in my life and development. They have nutured, stimulated , sustained and supported me in times both happy and sad where a degree of emotional distancing from the world and the cruelty of reality was required.
By the age of twelve years I was reading medical books to better understand why I was unable to walk and why I had no feeling below my waist. Between twelve and fifteen I read every classic adventure book I could get my hands on. Being unable to walk with the prospect of always remaining immobile, I learned how to mentally run alongside the book characters. Between the ages of fifteen and eighteen I read all manner of meditational book to get me walking again and to minimise the effects of a limp that had been created by over fifty three operations on my left leg which had stunted its growth; leaving a three inch disparity between the two. By eighteen years of age I was the youngest shop steward in Great Britain and was reading about the Jarrow March, The Todpuddle Martyrs, the Luddites and all manner of industrial and trade union history, dispute and tradition.
My two years in Canada and the USA during the early 1960s led to me reading all of their most renown writers along with some of the most obscure ones. During my late twenties, I read around five books every week; mostly classical, historical or biographical. It may have been a character flaw of mine, but I loved reading about men and women of small and common stature who went on to do rare and great things for the betterment of humanity.
I was in my late twenties when I read a book which was to have a profound effect on me and was to put me back on my path to destiny; Victor Hugo's 'Les Miserables.' This book was to change the course of my life again and eventually lead me to stop being a Mill Manager and guided me towards a career in Probation Officer work. As a child I had grown up learning to steal and to stretch the truth with the best of them and by the age of twenty two years, I vowed never again to steal or to deliberately tell an untruth; a promise I have been able to maintain with some great difficulty ever since.
My years as a Probation Officer between the ages of thirty and fifty three led me into the disciplines of behaviorism, emotional disturbance, relaxation training, hypnotism, assertion training, fear reduction, anger management and stress management consultancy and almost all my reading had to be obtained from either France or America as I was invoved in pioneering work and needed to keep abreast of research studies around the world as I engaged myself in closely examining the essence and composition of behavioural response patterns. I needed to learn more about the funtioning of the human body and so much of my reading invoved medical papers and books on psychology and neurosis; most of which needed to be obtained from the USA and which cost an arm and a leg to purchase.
At the grand old age of forty eight years I was asked to provide relaxation training to children of Primary School level. Given the complexity of the concepts to be communicated to 5-8 year olds to make this possible, I found that the best way of getting them into the process of relaxation was through telling them a story which I had constructed. Having a higher than usual public profile from my pioneering work in the field of Relaxation methods and Anger Management which was daily attracting increased regional publicity and national attention, I was then asked by the Probation Service to write a children's story book which covered themes and emotions that children found difficult to deal with or healthily express like bullying, jealousy, bereavement, separation and loss etc. I wrote my first published book for children called, 'Everyone and Everything' in November 1989 and after selling over three thousand copies to primary schools in West Yorkshire within the space of four weeks and allowing all £10,000 profit to go to 'Children in Need,' I've been writing for children, young persons and adults ever since.
During my earlier years of getting my work published and more widely read, I never actually saw myself as being a writer; more as a 'social crusader' masquerading as an author in disguise. Not only was I doing something that I loved, but apart from the £200,000 profits that my published book sales made for charity, my reading and writing continued to nuture, stimulate, sustain and support me at all times ever since.
It is only in later years that I have been more prepared to take on the mantle of 'author'. Since 2010 when my wife Sheila persuaded me to take up the pen again, I have been writing short stories for adults which can be freely read on my website www.fordefables.co.uk under the umbrella title 'Tales from Portlaw'. I recently had my first 'strictly for adults' novel entitled 'Recbecca's Revenge' published and which can be purchased from www.smashwords.com and all established e-book providers, or if you prefer it in hard copy from www.lulu.com.
I have just had my sixty first book published in e-book format and cannot wait to start writing my next story. Within the next three months, all of my previous published books will be available in both e-book format and hard copy. Have a nice day and good reading." William Forde: August 27th, 2014.