Sleepless nights pay off with book deal for Webb

FOR author Sarah Webb, life is sweet and fulfilling. She has signed a two-book deal worth “a generous six-figure sum” with British publisher Macmillan and is expecting her second child in February. Fruitful times.

“My son Sam was a very bad sleeper. Every morning he awoke at 3am and stayed awake until 5am, and so I started writing then,” Sarah said.

Born soon after she finished her degree in English and the History of Art at Trinity College Dublin, Sam was to inspire Kids Can Cook.

A cookery book for children published in 1996, it demonstrated the role cooking could play in a child’s development.

“Cooking helps build self-esteem and self-confidence for many kids, who see it as a quite grown-up exercise,” Sarah said.

By happy coincidence, the woman from Dalkey, Co Dublin, works part-time as children’s book marketing manager for Eason’s. She was ideally placed to write the book.

Taking pot luck and without a literary agent, Sarah sent Kids Can Cook to the publishers.

“The first publisher I gave it to sent me a very nice rejection slip, ‘thank you, but no thank you’. The second publisher hummed and hawed but sent it back, too.”

About six weeks later The Children’s Press in Ranelagh, Dublin opened the door.

Three more practical books for children followed, Children’s Parties, Kids Can Cook 2 and Eason’s Guide to Children’s Books.

Having turned 30 last year, Sarah has also topped the Irish bestsellers lists with adult fiction or “romantic comedy”, as Webb prefers to describe this output.

Her last book, Always the Bridesmaid, was a bestseller and Something To Talk About has been published this month by Poolbeg Press.

The super-league beckons for Sarah with her new contract, which will allow her to write full-time.

She finishes at Eason’s next month. Those sleepless nights have paid off.

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