Bradley Stoke-based Freddie Hillberg celebrated the publication of his children’s picture book, Brave Cat Millie, on 26 October. Aimed at readers aged four to seven, the hardback book is, according to publisher Carraway, an endearing, gentle and touching story accompanied by delicate and beautifully drawn illustrations that will be popular with younger readers and also with parents and grandparents.
Well-loved by her family, Millie the cat is content with her simple life of eating, sleeping and sunbathing. However, there’s more to Millie than meets the eye. When her home is threatened by unwelcome visitors, Millie shows her true courage. This illustrated story will be the first of many exciting adventures featuring a loveable and fearless black and white cat.
Freddie Hillberg, who is retired and lives in Bradley Stoke with his wife Maureen, commented on the experience of becoming an author: “I’m absolutely thrilled with the book and to become a published author is something very special. Brave Cat Millie, illustrated by Ellie Hooi, is a joyful, everyday story about an average, ordinary family and their extraordinary, adorable and courageous cat. I got real pleasure in writing it and it feels like a real achievement to have the story in print and be available in bookshops. I’m thoroughly delighted.”
Freddie began his writing journey telling stories to his two granddaughters when they were younger. “They always wanted me to read them a bedtime story and they knew their favourite books word for word. Eventually I got a bit bored telling them the same tales so started making up my own which they really enjoyed.” It was just three years ago that Freddie was inspired to write the stories down. The character of Brave Cat Millie is based on his own cat, also called Millie.
Jane Shergold, founder at Carraway Publishing, said: “Brave Cat Millie is the first in a series of picture books following the adventures of a fearless and loveable black and white cat. With its playful storyline and charming watercolour illustrations, the book offers a cosy bedtime read that tells the story of an unlikely feline heroine who single handedly outwits unwelcome intruders into the family home.
“The early feedback from children, parents, grandparents and local booksellers has been really positive. It’s a book that can be enjoyed across the generations and is a perfect Christmas gift, especially for youngsters who are fond of animals.”
Freddie is an active figure in the community and has been involved with the conservation of Splatts Abbey Wood for the last 20 years and is currently its vice-chairman and treasurer. He retired from a long career in the construction industry in 1998 to care for his wife Maureen who suffers with MS. The couple met when they were both just 18 on a youth exchange programme to Germany. They have a daughter and two grandchildren. When not writing down new ideas for stories, Freddie’s pastimes include gardening, photography, coin and stamp collecting, and reading historical biographies.