Once upon a time...
It all started shortly after my nephew was born. I was really keen to write something, a story just for him that could be told to him at bedtime.
I'd always loved dinosaurs as a kid, I had this Ladybird book and I loved looking at the pages and imagining what it would be like to stand next to one.
I remember the first time someone said to me, 'Are you writing a children's book? You should go and check out the ones in Waterstones...'.
So down I went into the basement of a Waterstones, and picked up the first thing I laid eyes on, it was A Squash and a Squeeze by Julia Donaldson.
At the time, Bradley and the Dinosaur was in it's first stages, it was just a story in prose, but as I thumbed through Julia's story, my heart both leapt and sank. The pictures were gorgeous, the story rhymed in an instantly appealing way, and even better, there was a moral of the story too that was both hilarious and poignant. I had learned something from the story after reading it.
I could see I was going to have to go back to my story and go right through it from the start again, to give it pace, and rhythm. I was on the path though, more importantly, I was captivated by the excitement a story could bring. I was hooked, and determined to bring my story to life.
Once I'd got the words right, I started to draw the pages as I imagined the story - a storyboard. When I'd got the whole thing worked out, I needed to find someone who could bring this into a rich and vivid clarity. So I met the fantastic and hugely talented illustrator, Jacqueline East, and she helped to bring my ideas and images that I'd sketched beautifully to the page. This also took a year or so.
From start to finish, it took me about ten years to get that first story to published print. Having learned the ropes, the sequel - Bradley and the Magic Carpet took just two years and was published in 2018.
The latest chapter in this story is that following the publication of that book last October, I went on a holiday retreat. I'd spent so long putting the older stories together, that I had not had time to write anything in a while. I was overjoyed that new stories just came bubbling up and the first of those was all about.... sausages!
This time, I thought I would set my self the goal of doing this all, from start to finish, and within a year. I managed this in 2019, but decided to work on the art a little more and a second edition was finished in 2020. Now almost a year later, my fourth picture book is nearing completion. I can't wait to share it with you.
What an adventure!