A FOOTBALL coach has added to his impressive resume by becoming a bestselling children’s author.
Paul Barry, 42, from South Woodham Ferrers, is celebrating the release of his third children’s book, after discovering a hidden love for writing during lockdown.
The father-of-two first traded his pitch for a pen and paper in March 2020 when training moved to the virtual world due to Covid.
Paul found he had a lot more free time, and as an already avid reader and father to 7-year-old Sophia and 12-year-old Lucia, he always had story ideas.
He said: “I loved stories when I was a kid; there’s something about the weight of a book and the feeling of turning a page.
“As a father, I read a lot to my own children and I always had story ideas in mind.
“However, I didn’t know where to start writing until I spotted the Center of Excellence online.
“I found out about the Children’s Book Writing Diploma course and thought I would do it. I’m so glad I did.
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Paul published his first book, Keep the Tap On, in January 2021, which tells the story of Terry, a young frog tap dancer ostracized from his peer group for his love of dancing.
It reached number four on Amazon’s Hot New Releases for Children’s News.
Using this as motivation, Paul set to work publishing the second book, Swing Your Heart Out – the story of Chase the Chimp overcoming his fear of heights.
This earned Paul a spot on Amazon’s top selling children’s novella.
Earlier this year, Paul scored a hat-trick with book number three – Frankie Crosses the Rainbow Bridge, a tale based on Paul’s family dog who died.
Two more are due out this year.
Paul is now assistant director of coaching at Crystal Palace Academy, joining the club in January after leaving the Arsenal academy after four years, but continues to write, with a dream of having a BBC-hosted book.
He says his family is very supportive of him and his daughters are his biggest fans.
Paul said: “Sophia and Lucia think dad is a great established author, alongside that of Julia Donaldson.
“It’s something I can only aspire to, but I’m happy to see their faces come to life reading my books.”