Footballer and fiction writer Timmy Bristow reaches out to young readers in his latest book Billy the Brilliant.
The former Launceston Blues player will return to Tasmania next week to launch the first in a series of children’s books.
Currently teaching year six in Western Australia and playing for East Fremantle, Mr Bristow said he had always planned to pursue his dream of becoming an author.
“I think it shows that the stereotype of the footballer has changed over time,” he said.
“Hopefully I can inspire kids to go out there and just be themselves and the best version of themselves rather than having to conform.”
Billy the Brilliant follows the journey of a young magician named Billy, based on Mr Bristow himself, who loses his pet rabbit.
Illustrated by his partner Natalie Martin, Mr Bristow said the book hides Billy’s face throughout the story allowing both male and female readers to identify with the character’s journey.
“I think there’s a little bit of Billy in everybody, everyone goes through hard times,” Mr Bristow said.
“But the story teaches you that you can still achieve greatness, even if things don’t always go your way.”
Throughout his career as a teacher, he said his students were a big inspiration for his writing.
“I think hanging out with kids all day, you really learn how they view the world in such a different way,” he said.
Written in OpenDyslexic font, Mr Bristow said the book targeted readers of all abilities and ages.
“We’ve had really good feedback about kids who have never picked up a book and read it with so much ease before,” he said.
“I think the story has great value in general for all ages as well, not just kids.”
The Billy series is expected to include five books, with the second story set to be released before Christmas this year.
“They’re mostly based on my experiences,” Mr Bristow said.
“So there’s one about myself and my brother which will be out next.”
The official launch, including a reading, of Billy the Brilliant will be held at Petrarch's Bookshop in Launceston on Thursday July 7.