A MUM-OF-TWO has won the chance to publish a book inspired by the woodland adventures of her and her children.

Victoria Richards, of Blake Hall Crescent, Aldersbrook, can remember writing her first story aged just seven.

But after becoming a mum for the first time five years ago, the 35-year-old freelance journalist decided to turn her hand to children’s writing again.

In between a busy work schedule, a Master’s degree in creative writing, and giving birth to her second child, Ms Richards decided to enter a picture book competition called the Oh Zoe! rising talent award earlier this year.

Keen to succeed, she wrote three different stories. So she was “thrilled” to find out her tale of The Forgotten Forest had beaten 580 other hopefuls to the grand prize last week (May 20).

The book will be published this autumn and tells the story of a frost spirit who has hidden the key to spring.

Ms Richards said: “We moved to Aldersbrook about a year ago and live right at the entrance to the woods in Wanstead Park.

“We go there all the time with the kids and there are these amazing great oak trees there – they’re so beautiful.

“We’re always talking about them and what magical creatures might be living there.

“I grew up in Woodford Green with Epping Forest in my back garden too, so it’s all been a great source of inspiration.”

Oh Zoe! books are made to order, and can be personalised with children’s names, where they live, and their favourite things included in them.

The mum-of-two added: “I remember feeling awed by the magic of hearing my name in stories my dad told me when I was little.

“So by adding that you’re bringing their own special story to life, right in front of them.”

Writing while her baby Max was asleep and daughter Emily was at school, Ms Richards finished the book in just over a month and is hoping it will inspire them and children everywhere to keep reading.

She said: “I absolutely love writing, I can’t go a day without doing it.

“And I think it’s so important to instil a love of reading in kids.

“So hopefully I can make a career out of it and keep writing more stories.”

To find out more about Oh Zoe!, see the website.