A bald author who will soon become an ambassador for Alopecia UK has returned to visit the children who helped illustrate her latest novel – dressed as an alien.
Sue Hampton’s Aliens and Angels contains three Christmas-themed stories, and the pictures in two of them were drawn by children from Berkhamsted’s Greenway School and Victoria School. Sue herself illustrated the remaining story.
She is now visiting 17 schools in the area, as an alien, to promote the novel, which is her 18th since she started writing in 2007.
She said: “You do feel a little bit silly walking through the town to the school as an alien.
“I have been walking to all of the schools dressed like that – even in the rain with my antenna knocking against my umbrella.”
Sue, 57, of Lincoln Court, Berkhamsted, who has suffered from alopecia since she was 24, is set to become an ambassador for the charity next month.
She said: “The interesting thing is I am dressed as an alien and I have always felt a bit like an alien.
“When I first lost my hair, I looked in a mirror and that’s one of the first things that came to mind – and the other was ‘baby’. I have been called an alien in the street as well.”
Former teacher Sue wore an uncomfortable wig for years that once got blown off in a school playground, leaving her to chase after it.
She felt like resigning, but had to carry on as if nothing had happened – and nobody mentioned anything about it.
From then on, she would sellotape the wig to her head in four different places whenever she left the house.
She would take it off as soon as she got home – but then crawl underneath her windows whenever she passed them to stop passersby from seeing her head.
She said: “I have toughened up since then and care a lot less about what people think.
“I am more confident and happier, and for me it’s better not to have a secret that you’re hiding that can be discovered.
“For me personally I have got to a point in my life where it’s quite liberating not to wear a wig.”
Aliens and Angels was published on September 28. More than 40 children drew pictures for it – and they will each be offered a half-price copy of Sue’s book.
Sue said: “It was very exciting and lots of people who have read and reviewed the book said how much they enjoyed the children’s drawings.
“They are very much part of the book and they are very charming. The book is very much richer for those drawings, so for me to go back and say thank you was quite a thrill.”
Sue taught at St Mary’s School in Northchurch until leaving to pursue a writing career in 2007.
She says she now makes less than £10,000 a year – like 70 per cent of all authors in the UK – and visits schools across the UK to talk about her books.
She said: “Writing makes me very, very happy. It is fulfilling and I am living in the world of imagination, which I love doing.”