Local resident Alicia Chrysostomou and her son Sebastian were amazed to have become published authors on 28th January. Their book, ‘The Chronicles of Cerberus’, was published by Mogzilla, an independent company which specialises in historical stories for children.
‘The Chronicles of Cerberus’ is a children’s book targeted at 6- to 9-year-olds and is set in Ancient Greece.
The book had an interesting start in life. It all began when Sebastian started learning to write at school. In order to encourage his writing, Sebastian and his mother would sit down together to make up little stories. These were based on mythological characters from Ancient Greece and tapped into the stories Alicia’s Greek Cypriot father told her as a child. Cerberus, the three-headed hound of Hades, was an early favourite and soon became the focus of these tales.
It was exciting to create these stories and draw illustrations for them. Alicia would type them up and scan in the drawings so they could be printed out. Sebastian and his mother would then cut up old cereal boxes, Sebastian would add an illustration and after stapling in the pages of the story, they had their first ‘hardback’!
As Sebastian rose through primary school these stories became more sophisticated and their collection of ‘books’ grew. By the time Sebastian reached Year 6, they had quite a number of these little books. They all followed the adventures of Cerberus and his friend and dog-walker Sebastian as they cross Greece helping the many siblings of Cerberus tackle all sorts of problems.
Strangely enough, Alicia’s son bears an uncanny resemblance to Cerberus’s best friend Sebastian! It certainly made it a lot of fun for Sebastian to write himself into these stories.
Reading through them one day, Alicia felt there might be enough for a proper book so she put them all together, tidied them up, sent them off to some publishers and waited to see if there was interest. She received many rejection letters in reply! Scanning publisher lists, she came across a small independent publisher, Mogzilla, which specialises in children’s historical books. She gave them a try – and they accepted the book! Many edits later, as well as many months elapsing, the book is now published.
The book is based on the mythology of Ancient Greece, with Cerberus embarking on adventure with his friend Sebastian. Each story in the book offers an alternate viewpoint to the classic tales giving a twist in their retelling. So when Jason comes to take the Golden Fleece, all may not be as it seems when he sneaks off with it. Hercules also features largely in these tales especially when his labours mean he’s to take things that don’t belong to him. Cerberus and Sebastian have to use all their wit and resolve to outsmart Hercules to ensure he thinks he has completed his labour when actually he’s been tricked all along.
Alicia would encourage anyone to get writing, even if they have no literary background. It is a fun thing to do with your child and makes bedtime reading more interesting when you can read your own little stories. And even if you go no further than having some pages stapled into an old cornflake box, it’s a lovely thing to look back on as your children grow up.
‘The Chronicles of Cerberus’ is available directly from the publisher and from book stores, including amazon.co.uk
Photos: 1 Alicia and Sebastian holding a copy of their book. 2 Story books created by Sebastian as a child.
This article originally appeared in the February 2020 issue of the Bradley Stoke Journal magazine (on pages 32 & 33). The magazine is delivered FREE, nine times a year, to ALL 8,700 homes in Bradley Stoke. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.
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