WHAT would Sebastian Kopanski like readers to take away from his book?

“Hope. Certainty. To say, ‘I can do this. I can be happy and I can also bring happiness to other people’s lives.’”

...And Carry On tells the stories of seven fictional children who face tough personal challenges including cerebral palsy, blindness, autism and being born in the wrong physical body.

Sebastian, who himself has a visual impairment, ensured the characters’ authenticity by seeking the advice of people relevant with direct experience.

Originally from Poland, he has worked in several countries, and came to Swindon in 2007. Married with a son and daughter, he is grateful for the support of loved ones and friends during the creation of his book.

The genesis of ...And Carry On was bound up in a love of books and a love of teaching.

“I think the inspiration came very early – maybe not about this particular book, but the inspiration to write. My dad is an absolute book addict. He loves books and since very early childhood I have been surrounded by books. My dad has a collection of thousands and thousands. My mum, bless her, tolerates this!

“That was the beginning. I was brought up in an environment where books were really loved. Also, I grew up in Communist Poland and there were limitations on access to certain books.

“The first limitation was that when I was a teenager I didn’t speak English, so my favourite authors, like Hemingway and Mark Twain, had to be read in Polish.

“Second, not all books were accessible in Poland because of the regime, such as George Orwell’s 1984 and Animal Farm. But my dad was getting these books printed in Western Germany and London and imported.”

And the inspiration for his own book?

“For all the time I have been in England I have mainly been working in education, first as a teaching assistant and then, when my qualifications were recognised, as a teacher.

“I have worked not only in Swindon but also in the Bath and Bristol areas as a class teacher, subject teacher, supply teacher and advisory teacher.

“I’ve had the opportunity to work with about 50 schools – it’s really great.

“I have learned so much, and have had the opportunity to work with so many fantastic young people and their parents. That has been the biggest reward.

“The inspiration was my work, the people I work with – young people and also their parents.

“I just wanted to show that in fact, each adult has got challenges, and it’s our choice whether to live our life happily or not that happily.

“It might not be the easiest of choices, and the road to happiness might be very bumpy, but it may happen.”

His experiences have convinced him that happiness can be obtained through a three-stage process involving awareness of one’s challenges, learning through communication with others and sustaining beneficial changes - although he readily admits that the process is not easy to master.

“I have worked with thousands of students and hundreds of families. All of these characters are from my imagination; however, they are based on real stories. With every character I was interviewing different people.

“I remember the stage of my life when this disability started to develop. It was a very hectic time, not only for me but also for my wife, and a very unhappy time.

“But then I thought, ‘Being unhappy is not a good state of life.’ I made a decision to be happy – as happy as I could be.

“The route was long, and I think that every day we have a choice whether to be happy or not. It doesn’t always come that easily, but it’s really possible. I have seen it.

“In my book and also in my work with young people and parents, I follow this formula.”

Sebastian has plans for other books, as well as the intention of running writing sessions in schools. He also plans life training for adults based on his philosophy.

He welcomes contact via his Facebook presence, and his book is available from Amazon at £14.99.