My name is Kassie Shipley-Jenkins, I was born in Bromsgrove in Worcestershire in 1964 and I am 57 years old. I moved to South Wales having secured myself a job as a head chef in Cowbridge in 1996, with my husband. After my mother passed away, my father came to live with us in our home in South Wales, Uk.
We opened a wedding and celebration cake business called the House of Cakes Ltd in 2003 in Kenfig Hill / Pyle in Bridgend, where I designed the cakes. We were very successful but when my father became ill, and after my subsequent divorce in 2006. We sadly took the decision to move, leaving Bridgend to re-locate us and the business, back to my hometown of Bromsgrove. We re-opened as The Catering House adding a Corporate Catering business to the existing cake business.
The Mischievous Minty cat stories were written in 2007 when I lost my first cat Porsche, originally in their first drafts of the actual real adventures in South Wales of my other cat Araminta ( Minty) who passed away in 2009. I am a mad passionate reader and can always be found with a book in my bag, I have been writing all my life since a very young girl, where I would always change the endings of all the books. I love to create so my art has always been on display with the cakes I designed, it is always in the details, whether it be drawn, painted, calligraphed, sculptured, modelled, knitted, or written.
I am now a full-time carer for my father, and we still reside with my brother David. During the lockdown, a curious set of incidents that happened all in the same week that led to the stories bringing Mischievous Minty to Life again.
Firstly, as I was home schooling my great nephew Jenson, we spent our days researching science projects about oak trees and acorns, then wrote stories and compositions. Then by going on to you tube, reading stories online, some set work, some for fun and most of the work did not hold his attention, there was a message in the stories but not enough substance to open his mind or his imagination. It opened my mind and resonated with me, and I told him about the stories that I had written but never published about my Oak Tree.
The Mischievous Minty cat stories are short stories, with Minty the cat telling us the stories of her adventures, meeting all manner of creatures in the garden, the woodland, and the meadow, with pasture behind on the farmers land called The Ton Hill. She describes all she sees on her journeys, all about the trees, plants, and wildlife, the insects that inhabit the wood, on unusual plants, the origins of how and why the woodland evolved and she makes friends with everyone she meets. They are crafting to be humorous, and delightfully entertaining, while she describes in detail the new characters that teach young children, although they are talking animals, the importance of looking after our precious planet and being young conservationists, the stories are informative about life in the garden, the nature around us and they introduce sweet characters that they may never encounter telling us about the lives that they lead. He and I both agreed that my stories were more engaging, and they could be of use to inform the children, while telling them the story.
That same week as home schooling, having had my first covid jab, then I also spent the week doing a genealogy of my family history with my cousin Corrina, where we researched our family back to the 1700’s.
Then I had a very distressing call with my aunt the mother of Corrina who was struggling and getting very depressed with lockdown as she was now blind and one can only imagine but through her description of what it was like, endless days of nothing, not being able to have visits from her family, with the library closed and no audio books available. I sprang into action and adapted the stories that I had already written, taking the initial concept along with several new ideas. I wrote every night, then I recorded them onto audio. I had created a whole new world for her to listened to with over 40 stories in those few weeks to keep her absorbed and distracted, she loves them so much. She has asked me to concentrate these last few weeks on putting them into manuscript form to send them to a publisher as she wants to share them with the children out there, for them to enjoy them as much as she does.
Quote, her words were, “Children would absolutely love them, I could really imagine myself being there with colours again, flowers and plants, you brought it all alive for me, with the baby froglets jumping up and down on Tobias’s flowerpot and Heddie the hedgehog flying in a blue crisp bag in the wind, the mishaps of adorable Dory Dormouse, those lovable baby owls, and Rickie rat making his sofa from moss, and Mo Mole working as an excavator, how on earth do you come up with these fabulous ideas? What an amazingly vivid imagination you have my love. You must put them out as children’s story books for the whole world to read.”
My last conversation with her was about the paintings that would accompany the stories as I wanted to keep the characters true to life as it is about nature and as children are captivated by visuals, they have more of an impact in their minds than the words, bringing each character to life in small vignettes, which are added to the story throughout the book.
Sadly, she passed away a few months ago so it is now a legacy for her. It was her last wish for me, to do this for us both, so I created our very own Mischievous Minty Website promoting our books. Honouring her and our stories, by taking them all the way through to publishing them all myself.
It was an unbelievable joy and great help to her to have these Audios stories. So, I will also find a way to continue to put these out in this format for the blind community to enjoy, and on the website as a free video with audio. Before she lost her sight my Aunt would have loved the Story Teller segment, on our very own website, she adored watching any cartoon, animation or video for children’s stories.
We will be giving out free stories to children and putting them out in a video, on our Website Story Teller page and also on You Tube, which is fulfilling her wishes for everyone to enjoy them young or old.