Q&A with Carla Golledge, author of Cameron’s Smile

Contributed by Carla Golledge


Fri 22 Apr 2022

This week we talk to self-published author, Carla Golledge

Q: Hi, Carla Golledge, how are you doing? What have you been doing this year?

Hello, I am really well, thank you. My three children keep me very busy most days. My son Cameron has recently had leg surgery to help his mobility, so we have been concentrating on his recovery – which is going really well so far. I am also about to start a new job as a senior support worker for adults with multi-sensory impairments. I am very eager to be a part of this after being a full-time carer for the past nine years.

Q: You recently self-published Cameron’s Smile on Amazon. Can you tell us what it is about?

My son Cameron, who is now nine years old, was born with a rare genetic condition called Norrie Disease, causing him to be blind and develop a progressive hearing loss. Cameron’s Smile: Raising a deafblind child is a true account of our lives since his diagnosis and how that impacts him and our whole family. It is a raw and honest read about my feelings as his full-time carer and all we have overcome so far, touching on how Cameron experiences the world, as well as us going on to have another child and what the future may hold.

Books2All blog: Q&A with Carla Golledge, author of Cameron’s Smile
Cameron’s Smile independently published (2021)

Q: To say you are a busy mum is an understatement. What made you decide to write, and how did you find the time?

I have always been a keen writer, sharing our journey on social media, which has been a very therapeutic experience for me. I am passionate about raising awareness for people like my son, so I decided to self-publish a book to help raise Norrie Disease’s profile and educate others on disability.  

I find writing my thoughts and feelings down so calming and freeing. I would often put the children to bed and stay up late to work on another chapter of my book. I was lucky enough to have two good friends agree to proofread for me and help me with any edits needed before publishing. It was very time consuming, but I felt a huge sense of pride after each chapter was complete. Amazon provided a step-by-step service to put the book together and, before I knew it, my book was compiled and live on the website.

Q: Was publishing Cameron’s Smile a one-off experience, or do you intend to write again?

I am often asked when I will be bringing out another book! Which, of course, is so lovely to hear that my first book had such a great response. It is a very nerve-racking experience putting your story in the public eye. But it’s also such an amazing feeling knowing people can read my story all over the world, raising the awareness that I want. I haven’t got a goal in mind regarding publishing again, but writing is something I am passionate about, and I am sure further down the line, I will want to add to our story. I know anything is possible, so watch this space!

Q: What, if anything, can educators do differently or better to help families in situations similar to yours?

I would love more books to include disability and difference. It would be wonderful for educators to shine more light on families like ours, so others have more understanding and acceptance. Our family has had to fight for basic support needs, and some of that could have been avoided with better understanding. It is also a great comfort to connect with others on similar journeys and one of the easiest ways to do this by is reading books that discuss this. I believe such books should be readily accessible no matter your age.

Q: Helping to address educational inequality is Books2All’s reason for being. From your perspective, how diverse is our blog, and are there any new topics that you think we should cover?

I have been looking at the blog and can see you have covered many varying topics, which is great. I love to see disability topics highlighted, and I would like to discover more about accessible books in all formats. I think it’s great that your blog includes mental health topics too because this is such an important area to address. 

Q: 1 in 8 schools across Britain do not have a library – have you had experience of the educational inequality within the school system or met anyone who was?

I have spoken to many people who have experienced this within the school system, which is a great shame. When I published my book, I wanted to share our story and encourage people to enjoy the power of a good book. I encouraged people to reach out if they couldn’t afford a copy, and I also placed some books at local support groups, where they could be loaned out. Libraries are a valuable resource for us, and I firmly believe every school should have one.

Q: What book or books do you think all children in schools should be given to read?

As I spoke about earlier, I think children need to be reading about disabilities and differences to encourage a more inclusive world. My two daughters love going to school and talking about our family and how their brother experiences the world. It would be so great for them to access books where they can relate to the characters. It really does help open up conversations too.

Q: Ok, so the final question Carla Golledge – if all the libraries in the world were burning and you could only save three books, what would they be and why?

I absolutely loved reading Roald Dahl’s books as a child, my favourite being Matilda, so that would be a must. I would also have to save Julia Donaldson’s The Gruffalo as each of my children loves this, and I’m pretty sure it’s a firm favourite all around! For myself, I’d have to save Helen Keller’s The Story of My Life from the fire because this is such a powerful story that needs to be read on a topic I am so passionate about.

Books2All blog: Q&A with Carla Golledge, author of Cameron’s Smile
The Story of My Life published by Bantam Classics (1990)

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