Claire Dunbar is a mother of two, a primary school teacher, and now, an author. Her husband serves in the Royal Air Force and she has written two books for children who have a parent in the RAF.
It has long been an ambition of mine to write a book. Last year, I wrote a small rhyming story about preparing to a start primary school. My daughter, Amber, will start school next year and I wanted to prepare her for the skills and things that would be helpful for her, but also share the things she didn’t need to worry about. I self-published the book on Amazon, and when it arrived Amber’s face completely lit up when she saw herself in the book!
I decided to share it on my Facebook page for my friends. I didn’t really expect anyone to buy it, but it has been shared and bought quite a few times and I caught the children’s book writing bug!
My husband Andy and I met in 2007 and have been together ever since. Whilst the kids and I stay at home and live in Dundee, Andy has worked away and been based at Leuchars, Benbecula, Spadeadam, Buchan, and now is based at Boulmer. He would be away all week and come home at the weekends. Since lockdown he has been extremely fortunate to work from home two days a week, but it still means he works away for half of every single week. He also quite often works abroad or in the Shetlands and is then gone for longer. And of course, there are the detachments of which we have been through three long stints in the Falkland Islands.
Both Amber (4), and my son, Jacob (9), struggle when their father works away. Jacob, more so when he was younger, but Amber now still gets really upset the night he goes and she counts down the sleeps until he is back.
So naturally, the next book I decided to write was to help with just that. I wanted to create a simple book which explains a little about the job, what his room looks like when he is away, what we can do to make the time pass quicker, and the emotions that go along with having a serving parent. Something that would help my children get through the time until their daddy is home again, and My Daddy’s in the RAF was born.
I follow several Instagram accounts of partners of people serving in the RAF, some of which are fathers and husbands with their wife being the serving partner. So, I wanted to make another book that could support them too. I adapted the storyline and the pictures to make My Mummy’s in the RAF. I am so glad I did, as I didn’t realise just how many people would want that book too.
I was asked to share my aims and ambitions for my books, and to be honest I just wanted something to help support my kids with the tough times when their daddy is away. By sharing them, I know they might help other children going through the same thing – so even if my books make just one child smile and help them whilst their parent is away, then I will be more than happy.
Writing a book has long been a dream of mine, but truth be told it is something I just didn’t think I would be good enough to do. But with life experience I have realised that we don’t have to be perfect to do something good, so I just bit the bullet and went for it. I am very much still learning to write and produce digital art. I have made mistakes and went the long way round to do some things, but I have learned so much along the way. I don’t think this will be the last you’ll hear of me yet!