A freelance who trained as a journalist in her forties has used a press release involving astronaut Tim Peake as the inspiration for her first children’s book.
Debbie McKelvey, who works with Northern Irish weekly the Banbridge Leader, penned ‘Space Salad’ after receiving a release about the Rocket Science Experiment, a project organised by the Royal Horticultural Society and the UK Space Agency.
The scheme involves Peake, the second British citizen to fly in space, asking children to plant rocket seeds that have been in orbit with him and compare them with seeds from earth.
Debbie, pictured below, said it inspired her to write what she termed a “modern-day Jack and the Beanstalk” about what might grow from the pods.
She said: “The whole idea really caught my imagination as I was putting through a press release from one of our local schools who are taking part.
“Because something like this has never been done on this scale before and because space exploration is such an uncharted territory, I couldn’t help but wonder what strange things might come of growing space seeds.
“For instance, will the seeds have trouble figuring out what way up to grow after having spent six months in zero gravity, what will the space rocket taste like and will it have any strange effects if you eat it?
“It’s a bit like a modern-day Jack and the Beanstalk – when at first Jack had no idea what would grow from the magic beans.”
Debbie has worked at the Leader on a freelance basis for the past two-and-a-half years, after taking Belfast Metropolitan College’s NCTJ-accredited course aged 40 in September 2011.
Before becoming a journalist, Debbie was involved in clerical work before taking several years out to bring up a family.
The book is available for download to any computer, tablet or smartphone from Amazon.