New children's book is creating Christmas magic

A gorgeous new locally-produced Christmas book is telling the story of how a young boy called Nicholas grew up to become Santa Claus.

Friday, 25th November 2016, 2:20 pm
Updated Tuesday, 6th December 2016, 12:44 pm
Colin Deeny and Martin Beckett, pictured with the book.

‘Nicholas: When Santa was a Boy’ was written by Colin Deeny and illustrated by Martin Beckett

One euro from each sale is going to the Friends of Letterkenny General Hospital. Inish Pharmacy (, of which Colin is managing director, is sponsoring the book and helping with publishing and distribution costs.

Because of this, it was decided the book would provide a “great opportunity” to raise funds for the Donegal hospital.

Colin told the ‘Journal’ he had the story idea in his head for about a year, before deciding to write it for his own children.

He said: “In truth, I am not sure how I came up with the idea of the book - I just did! Once I had the idea I decided to base it on the Northern European traditions of Santa Claus but not specific to one country or tradition. After all Santa is there for everyone. I also wanted it to be easy reading and fun.”

He added: “I had the idea for about a year. I then decided to write it a couple of years ago for my own children. So I sat down in the November of that year and started it. I finished it in time for the children to read before Christmas..just in time.”

Colin said his initial thoughts in creating the story were: “We know a lot about Santa, the old man - but he was a child once. So what was he like? How did he become Santa?”

Martin Beckett came on board after Colin discussed the idea of publishing it with his wife, Grace and knew he needed illustrations.

He said: “I researched illustrators and lo and behold I discovered that Martin was an illustrator on I knew Martin already through his retail design work. I really liked his illustrations. So I showed him the book and he agreed to

work with me on it. The book needed tweaked and shortened to make it suitable for the age category. Martin has been brilliant to work with. It is great to have such a talented illustrator living locally. We wanted a timeless and Nordic feel to the book. I think Martin has achieved that very well.”

The book has been a big hit with local children, something which was important to both Colin and Martin.

Colin said: “I have to say I am really pleased with the reaction so far, most importantly from the kids who have read it and have told me so. I was lucky enough to watch some of their reactions as the book was read at the book launch. I am also looking forward to hearing it read to more children in Buncrana Library in December.”

Martin added how he “really enjoyed” writing the book.

He said: “The reaction I have had has encouraged me. I have another few stories up my sleeve that I intend to work on with Martin via Banba Publishing”

The book is available in Inish Pharmacy (Muff, Carndonagh and Buncrana), G & S Costcutters Carndonagh, Jones&Co Carndonagh, Supervalu Carndonagh & Buncrana, Macs Bookshop Buncrana, Farrens Moville, Gillens Moville and Ward’s Pharmacy St. Johnston; Letterkenny Hospital (Oasis) Shop; Easons in Letterkenny Shopping Centre. It is also available at