Ashley Hinds, who along with his wife La’Neshia is an A DAY TOGETHER facilitator, has recently published a picture book. MY UNCLE AND ME tells the story of a young boy who is often mistakenly called by his uncle’s name.
Congratulations on your achievement, Ashley! What impact are you hoping the book will have?
I hope my book inspires young children to work hard and dream big irrespective of their start in life. The message in the book is to convey how special every person really is, that you don’t have to live in the shadow of someone else.
You’re a secondary school teacher and author– yet you left school with one GCSE. What made a difference?
In a nutshell it was God – I became a Christian and that changed everything. I did really well at primary school, but when I got older, I craved attention from my friends more than doing well in class. Now I really want be an inspiration for the next generation.
Your book has sold an amazing 900 copies in just a few weeks. How have you marketed it?
I didn’t treat it as a book but a project. I’ve always been a natural entrepeneur, I was selling sweets in school. After selling over 600 in one week, I put a video about the launch on the internet and 46,000 people viewed it. A lot of parents from all over said, ‘That character looks like my son – I’m going to buy it!’
Have you always liked writing?
No. I was always a sporty child, which resulted in me receiving a Btec qualification in sports and then going on to get a Physical Education degree, as well as my Post Graduate in teaching. I did a bit of rapping in the past, so writing in rhyme for my picture book wasn’t difficult. When I was younger, I wasn’t a fan of reading either, but I can remember enjoying The Twits by Roald Dahl. I started reading more after I left school, and enjoy it now.
Can you say a bit about your ‘Work Hard, Dream Big’ philosophy?
‘Work Hard, Dream Big’ was something I started to teach the kids I worked with. The idea was if I’m a qualified teacher who left school with nothing, you can achieve your big dreams as well, by working hard. A lot of people I went to school with still can’t believe I’m a teacher.
How do you and La’Neshia support each other in pursuing your goals and dreams?
I call La’Neshia my mentor – she has helped me a lot with the book throughout my journey. She writes poetry and wants to write a book, but she’s put it aside for the moment so that I could have mine. We support each other by communicating, sacrificing for each other, praying about everything and investing in to our marriage through courses, books and those with more marital experience.
What’s next – another picture book?
I do plan to write another book, but I want to focus on the ongoing promotion of this one. I really thank God for everything he’s done.
MY UNCLE AND ME is available on Amazon.